Archive

Archive for the ‘Channel Marketing’ Category

Multichannel Marketing: 6 challenges for planning complex campaigns

November 5th, 2013
Share

“The medium is the message.”

Or so says Marshall McLuhan.

But, when I think of cross-channel and multichannel marketing, I often think of the words of another 60s icon – Jimi Hendrix.

“You’re just like crosstown traffic, so hard to get through to you …”

Cross-channel marketing is difficult because it often involves lots of coordination to keep the messaging consistent.

For instance, you have the players involved …

Multiple departments (and often multiple companies), ranging from:

  • The brand
  • Agency vendors
  • Media partners
  • Channel partners
  • Freelance writers
  • Franchisees
  • Really, you name it

Also, don’t forget about the process …

You must get buy-in on budget, launch dates, incentives, brand use, legal regulatory compliance and real estate on the homepage or in-store.

The list goes on.

Needless to say, it can be very hard to get through to everybody.

So to help you herd cats … I mean, to help you with multichannel campaign planning, here are tips to help you overcome some key challenges. These are meant to give you a heads up on potential land mines you might hit and challenges you might run into, before you hit them, so you’re able to coordinate with all parties in a smooth, efficient manner.

Or, at the very least, appear to have some of your ducks in a row.

 

Challenge #1. Knowing who you’re talking to

No campaign, not even a multichannel campaign, should start with channels. Or even a message.

It should start with a person.

The customer.

It’s even better if you’re able to segment this starting point into several types of buyers.

“As the world becomes more connected and the consumer really has the ultimate control of the brand, I think it’s even more important that we put their perspective first in our marketing efforts,” said Tami Cannizzaro, Global Director of Marketing, Social Business, IBM.

Tami shared some of the persona work she’s done with IBM as an example …

 

“We developed ideas around the different possible stakeholders in an enterprise-buying decision. We put thought into their personalities and lifestyles,” Tami said. “I think the most important piece of the exercise was that we thought outside our standard viewpoint, put aside our knowledge and assumptions of the market, and considered our customers’ various needs first and foremost.”

To put a face behind those customer segments, you can include fun little doodles, real pictures or stock photos, but most importantly, try to put yourself in the customers’ varied shoes.

A mistake I often make is to think about how I would react to a certain message or piece of content that I’m working on. But, unless my audience is comprised only of devilishly handsome directors of editorial content living in Jacksonville, Fla., I’m missing the boat.

A great example of this often happens at marketing events. A speaker will ask, “How many people in the audience have smartphones?”

Invariably, 99% of the audience raises their hands. Then, they’ll say, “See, everybody has smartphones!” and then proceed to harangue the audience for not engaging in mobile marketing.

But, unless your target market is people who attend the same marketing conference as you, by following this advice, you are not considering the customer. If, for example, your audience is poor or old, mobile marketing may not be a priority for your company’s marketing budget.

So, never make the argument, “Well, I would love a campaign like this.” Instead, take a good, hard look at “Oliver Old Skool” in your buyer persona, and ask, “What would Oliver think?”

 

Challenge #2. Hitting it where they are

The purpose of a multichannel marketing campaign isn’t to get your message out to as many channels as you can. It’s to get your message out to the most effective, most efficient channels.

“A millennial is likely going to interact with greater frequency and preference on mobile, so mobile would be a priority channel if you’re targeting that audience. If you’re trying to reach a senior B2B buyer, that might not be your best channel,” Tami said.

“Social properties like Facebook and Twitter may provide you data and insight into your customers, your owned properties can provide your insight into how your customers seek information, engage and transact with your brand,” Tami suggested.

The personas can really help here, as well.

“Millennials might like less text and more video. The techy guy might like more hands-on demo. [The persona] forces the exercise of targeting so your website isn’t completely generic,” Tami said.

As you’re selecting channels, budgets have a way of focusing the mind. After all, if we all had our druthers, who wouldn’t want a Super Bowl spot? But, the varied channel costs, much like a fantasy football draft, force us to make those trade-offs.

As an example, in our “How much should leads cost?” panel at MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013, Tom Reid, Executive Director, Hacker Group, shared the following media mix review for a health care company …

 

So, how do you get started?

“By starting with small tests and proper Web analytics and attribution, marketers can get a good enough grip on the role each channel plays towards reaching the campaign objective and allocate budgets accordingly,” advised Lori Davis, Online Writer, Qwaya.

 

Challenge #3. Finding their voice, not your voice

Once you know where to say it, you have to know what to say.

“Too often brands lead with product-focused messaging. It’s the wrong approach. Customers don’t know what you’re talking about, or worse, know that you’re trying to sell them something without providing them value. That’s a branding misstep,” Tami advised.

“Marketing should approach any customer-facing campaign by putting their customers’ needs first; it should provide value, it should be like a service. You need to build a conversation with your customers and first speak to their interest or pain point and then, after multiple interactions, consider a solution. It’s about relationship building.”

 

Challenge #4. Creating a consistent message and experience

To help build that relationship, once you know what you want to say, you must ensure everyone is saying the same thing across all channels – with a seamless customer experience to boot.

If the email department sees the campaign focused around luxury, and the agency copywriters creating prints ads think the message is about value, there can be a serious disconnect to the consumer.

As you’re thinking about this, take a look at the world of politics.

Political parties are essentially one big brand, with hundreds of owner-operator franchisees.

It’s also a world where a single slip-up by any one of those owner-operators will be broadcast across the 24-hour news networks and blogosphere with a maddening speed threatening to torpedo the brand.

To stay on the same page, the parties create talking point memos.

“In an attempt to influence public opinion, the leaders of both major parties — Democrats and Republicans alike — craft talking points, scripts for rank-and-file members to follow when discussing particular policy issues. Talking points, when used frequently, become the party line.” – FactCheck.org

Likewise, when you are launching a complex campaign across many entities, you need to ensure the messaging, and central thesis behind the entire campaign, is understood and embodied by all involved.

Your brand comes into play here. A clear primary value proposition along with derivative value propositions is essential.

But, it would also help to have your own version of a talking points memo. Tami presented a Campaign Message Map at Lead Gen Summit that her team uses, and she was kind enough to allow you to download it for free and use it for your own campaigns.

“We start by building a very simple conversation map. It starts with key pain points of our customers, then drops to the business value and finally to our capabilities,” Tami explained.

 

Beyond messaging, there is also the functional aspect of ensuring a consistent experience from one channel to the next.

“Only marketers think in terms of channels – consumers don’t. They consume content, not caring if it’s via the ‘mobile, social channel’ or via the ‘print channel.’ Keep that in mind to make sure the consumer’s transition between channels is natural,” Lori said.

Lori provided this example, “If you advertise a URL in offline media, make sure the website provides a good experience on mobile devices. Sounds obvious, but it is often missed.”

The next level is to gain a single view of the customer.

“You need to create a consistent experience and then you need the ability to track your customers whether in-store, online or via mobile so you have a single view of the customer and can personalize their experience in a way that they will appreciate, to build loyalty,” Tami advised.

Read more…

Content Marketing 101: 8 steps to B2B success

September 20th, 2012
Share

There are times when one marketing tactic seems to totally dominate the discussion. In recent years, social media has been in that mix, and mobile and its various form factors and latest upgrade release dates are pretty top of mind for plugged-in marketers.

These days, the one tactic I hear about most often when speaking with brand-side practitioners and vendors/agencies/consultants alike is content marketing – particularly how important content and having a content marketing strategy is for B2B marketers.

I did not keep a formal tally, but I am willing to bet content marketing figured in to every presentation at the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2012 in some fashion. So much that I made the entire tactic the number one lesson learned in the event recap.

A recent B2B newsletter how-to article featured two B2B content marketing consultants providing tactics on the basics of B2B content marketing. As with many MarketingSherpa articles, while gathering material for the story, I ended up with more great marketing ideas than needed for the piece.

In this case, one of the expert sources for that article, Stephanie Tilton, B2B Content Consultant, Ten Ton Marketing, provided an excellent eight-point breakdown of how to get started with content marketing, and I wanted to share her insight with MarketingSherpa Blog readers.

Here are Stephanie’s eight steps to get started with B2B content marketing:

Read more…

Lead Nurturing: 5 tips for creating relevant content

September 13th, 2012
Share

Attempting lead nurturing without strong content is like hosting a Monsters of Rock show during a power outage.

The results will be disappointing.

That’s because effective content is the power behind lead nurturing success, insist Toby Murdock, CEO and Co-founder, Kapost, and Chris Baggott, Chairman and Co-founder, Compendium.

Both companies are content software providers, and both leaders recently spoke about the value of content marketing: Murdock at Marketo’s Social Marketing Rockstar Tour, and Baggott at the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2012.

“The Internet has put buyers in control,” says Murdock. “Seventy percent of the buying is completed before Sales is contacted.”

What that means, he went on to explain, is that Marketing now has the greatest responsibility for guiding those opportunities through the sales cycle. However, traditional advertising methods no longer help leads move forward.

“The average clickthrough rate on paid Internet advertising is .01%,” he points out.

Baggott contrasts this with clickthrough rates on content that is meaningful to prospects. He provides an example: creating content that speaks directly to prospects’ needs and has strong calls-to-action.

“When we do this, we see clickthrough rates that exceed 20%,” he points out; it’s an observation they’ve made working with hundreds of clients.

“I click through because I am very motivated. I see something that will help me; I look at the content and say, ‘Yeah, these people get me.’ When you have a need and the content meets it, you’re very eager to move forward,” he explains.

Instead of pushing products or services, pull the right prospects through by providing information, ideas and solutions that will help them, advise Baggott and Murdock. (It will also help you rank high in search engines.) This is the essence of relevance, and without it, everything you consider content is just more advertising, they insist.

They offer these tips to create content with the power to move beyond advertising into relevancy:

  Read more…

B2B Social Media: How one marketer is utilizing Pinterest

May 10th, 2012
Share

Bluewolf is a professional services company that provides consulting on enterprise agility. A campaign designed to promote its employee knowledge through social media with a gamification element to encourage participation — “B2B Social Media: Gamification effort increases Web traffic 100%, employee collaboration 57%” — was featured in last week’s B2B newsletter.

Bluewolf’s very innovative usage of Pinterest did not fit into the case study, so I wanted to use this blog post to show what you can learn from its efforts.

Pinterest is one of the hottest social channels right now. Here are two data points from a Shareaholic.com study and information that Pinterest is publicly sharing:

  • Pinterest’s user base is only 7% of Twitter’s, but the platform sends more total referral traffic than Twitter
  • With a mere 1% of Facebook’s user count, Pinterest sends 13% of the traffic that Facebook does

At the moment, consumer marketers are making more use of this platform than B2B marketers. However, Bluewolf offers a great blueprint on how B2B marketers can take advantage of Pinterest.

Bluewolf’s main Pinterest page shows the variety of boards the company is sharing on the platform.

Corinne Sklar, VP of Marketing, Bluewolf, says the company found a natural home with Pinterest because the platform is very visual and is also suited to sharing content, two areas where Bluewolf’s marketing is very invested. She adds that Pinterest also encourages viral sharing of that content. Read more…

Branded Value via Mobile

July 7th, 2009
Share

Getting your target audience to have a positive experience with your brand is, of course, beneficial. However, not enough marketers are providing real value to their audiences, says Steve Rubel, SVP and Director of Insights, Edelman Digital. More marketers should strive to create a positive and useful experience in a branded context, he says.

Rubel is responsible for keeping Edelman Digital and its clients “ahead of the curve” with the latest ways to effectively manage public relations and marketing. He is also the author of the popular Micro Persuasion blog and maintains a personal Twitter feed with over 27,000 followers. Edelman is the largest independent PR firm in the world with 3,300 employees in 50 offices worldwide, Rubel says.

Rubel cited two companies that are providing useful, branded experiences via the iPhone:

1. Kraft’s iFood Assistant – this app sells for $0.99 in Apple’s iPhone store. It has the following features:
o Recipe browsing
o Recipe of the day
o Shopping lists
o Directions to nearby markets
o How-to cooking videos

2. Tylenol PM’s Sleep Tracker – this app is free and has the following features:
o Log your sleep hours and moods
o View your sleep and mood history over time
o Create a sleep journal
o Get tips for better sleeping

Of course, the iPhone is not the only channel for providing a valuable, branded experience. I am currently working on a Sherpa article that describes how marketers for a cable television channel created a series of SMS alerts that provided valuable, relevant tips alongside a reminder to tune in to a weekly show. The team was able to take a weekly reminder and make it more attractive by adding useful information.

Social Media Strategies: Digg for Instant Gratification, YouTube for Longevity

December 23rd, 2008
Share

The team at HP Labs’ Social Computing Lab recently released a study that analyzes Digg and YouTube submissions to determine the best time of day to post a link to Digg’s social bookmarking site to maximize exposure and popularity.

The complete report contains lots of formulas and charts for analytics experts to chew on. But we saw a quick takeaway for any publisher looking to use the two sites to promote their content, drive traffic or boost search engine visibility:

Read more…

The “FW” Email Strategy…

November 24th, 2008
Share

For our money, PETCO has always done a good job with their online marketing, specifically in email. And that’s part of the reason why it was intriguing to see their most recent email campaign where John Lazarchic, Vice President of Ecommerce, for the pets products eretailer, penned a short letter truly in the form of a personal email. Read more…

Marketing to Smartphones: It’s a No-Brainer

November 18th, 2008
Share

The BlackBerry Bold has been unveiled, and many folks compared it at launch to the iPhone. For what it’s worth, I think that’s a good thing for BlackBerry marketers.

 Because, no matter the brand, smartphones are not going anywhere.

There will be more brands entering this particular technological fray; some might actually outdo both the iPhone and the BlackBerry Bold.   And they will drive the wireless market further into the future.

 Before you know it, the smartphone will be akin to the television set in the late 1970s. Absolutely everyone will  have one, and the picture will likely be in color (if not high-definition).

Of course, they will be more affordable than ever, too.

As you might have read in an earlier blog, I have been looking for a marketer who has tested mobile-dedicated links and landing pages in their emails. Well, I have found one.

Stay tuned for a how-to article in the coming weeks. You’ll learn that marketing to smartphones now is a no-brainer – if you want to get ahead of the competition.

 

Web-Ad Brokers in Economy’s Crosshairs

November 4th, 2008
Share

There was an interesting article in a recent print edition of The Wall Street Journal about how there may be tough times ahead for the more than 300 advertising networks on the Web. The online edition of TWSJ is not a freebie, so I will summarize. Read more…

Build Your Brand at Little Cost with UGC

October 28th, 2008
Share

User-generated content started being a hot topic a couple of years ago. It’s not that marketers are truly ignoring it, but I think it’s fair to say that the buzz has fizzled a bit.

Perhaps this has something to do with an economy that’s been sticking its tongue out at the public for about a year now. Ya think? Read more…