Television, radio, direct mail, print, and billboards… In the past those were the places where marketing happened. Of course, they are still staples when it comes to putting a message in front of an audience. However, the vastness of available techniques, platforms, online outlets and technology has changed the landscape forever.
Over the last 20 or so years marketers and advertisers have had to learn a new way to mix the correct message with the right medium and media. The combinations are almost endless and vary in efficacy.
The combination of the traditional and the contemporary is where marketers earn their keep, today. Knowing when a printed ad coupled with a personalized website landing page will work OR staging an event to highlight a product launch OR using an offer sent via direct mail to boost other approaches and send customers to the website is required. How about developing an app that supports the clients company, product or service? Have you heard of geo fencing? (Limiting online marketing activities to a specific geography). Wearable tech, mobile devices, wireless connectivity all need to be considered. What about putting a spokesperson or advocate in front of a camera and microphone? How much Public Relations effort will be necessary and how will it support the effort? I am just getting warmed up. As you can see the combinations are almost limitless.
The decision process begins with research. The limited choices of yesteryear were child’s play when held up against the multi-faceted or omni-channel approaches that are utilized today. Those terms merely mean that messaging needs to be on many channels, platforms, website, blogs, broadcast, radio, etc. in order to reach and engage the target audience. Agencies once had to decide what TV show was a favorite for a demographic and what offer/message would create a favorable disposition in the audience OR what radio station could do the same, it was not mysterious. Research now is the foundation of any quality campaign. Data mining, big data and now artificial intelligence (AI) play huge roles in building a successful campaign. It is the application of the research where marketers earn their chops.
Online outlets serve specific segments of the audience. Marketers need to assess the value of each. After Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram there comes …tumblr, YouTube, What’s App, We Chat, SnapChat, and many, many more. Have I mentioned the Google + family.
How are the choices made? So, where are the buyers of youth sports apparel, for example? Where are the lifestyle communities of campers, boaters, runners, tennis players, car enthusiasts, young Moms with small children, etc. and how do you reach them? Don’t just say publications that cater to them because you would be missing the hundreds of blogs that they frequent for information about the activity or situations important to them. And don’t say sports broadcasting and radio for that contingent, either. If you do, you will have neglected signage as sports events, sponsorships of local tournaments or other gatherings of those like-minded people.
The process of making the integrated marketing determinations of how to deploy your messages, sales offer or information is time consuming and can be exhausting in the initial stages. Marketers today rely on very professional research affiliates and access in-depth data relevant to the end goal of the campaign.
In-depth reporting and analysis are available for virtually any industry or demographic. Agencies rely on many such reports to gain the knowledge necessary to understand the audience and what is happening in that world. Vetting the source of the data is almost as important as the data itself. Industry organizations can sometimes produce quasi-official reports that are skewed. Caution must be exercised in accessing solid research.
Having said that, all data is relevant: empirical, anecdotal and societal. It is aligning the metrics with the desired end game that matters. Multi-faceted, Omni-channel or Integrated marketing – whatever term you prefer- rely on getting the research part correct.
And this folks is only one aspect of producing a successful campaign.