3 posts categorized "Integrated Marketing"

04/27/2009 The Times Are a Changing? Or Steady as She Goes?

Two posts got my attention today one pointing out the huge shift we’re about to see in consumer relationships and the other pointing out how slowly companies and agencies are reacting to those changes.

Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang and Co. produced a study on “The Future of Social Web.” His report shows that we’re starting to see fundamental shifts in consumer behavior and he provides five steps for brands to start taking this year. That’s right, the future is already here, or it’s kicking off this year.

The other post was a survey on AdWeek that showed how advertisers and agencies still haven’t figured out how to integrate online media, due to a range of reasons, from a reluctance to move away from ingrained habits to people who still don’t get digital and don’t understand how customers use it.

It’s crazy that both of these reports are probably true. What it shows is the huge gap between consumers and brands (and the agents representing the brands). It also shows a huge opportunity for nimble organizations who get digital and social and who aren’t afraid to talk with (and not just to) its customers.

Owyang’s advice isn’t new: transparency, connections, letting go. It’s the opposite of what most do these days: stick to broadcast, one-way, control. The AdWeek report might show that changing still has serious economic hindrances to overcome. Shifting to the social web and connecting with consumers doesn’t pay for media planners and ad teams. It might if you looked at them in different ways or retrained them, but that doesn’t seem to happen that often.

I like to think of this in parallel with our economy in general. I think GM is a perfect metaphor for what’s happening in marketing. Our venerated car industry is about to undergo a huge change, one that will be good for our country and our environment, but bad for our autoworkers, suppliers and corporate auto leaders. In the long run, the people on the short end of the stick will change and find other things to do, but they won’t be happy about it.

That’s what seems to be happening in our marketing world, according to these two posts. We’ll see change that will benefit consumers greatly and will cause lots of pain in old industries. How much change and how much pain remains to be seen.

It can’t happen fast enough, if you ask me.

02/11/2009 Connect Everything

A friend of mine tweeted a link to an old article that ranted about microsites: they’re expensive, they’re ineffective, and they’re dead ends.  I’ve seen a number of similar articles over the past year. They declare that the microsite, like the online banner, is dead. While I won’t argue that all microsites work well, I think these types of posts miss the point. Rather than thinking microsites as Web sites, how about if we think of them as a guerrilla marketing tactic in an integrated strategy? 

What got me started was a post by Jonathan Salem Baskin about a great promotion by Charmin. Charmin opened a public bathroom in Times Square to get people to try its products. Jonathan points out the strength of contextual relevance and he’s right. But I look at this public bathroom and think: “microsite.”

The public bathroom is not a Charmin store. It’s a temporary experience in the right place to engage customers. That’s what microsites usually are: temporary. I’ve created microsites in online banners; we see microsites on YouTube, as Facebook groups and even as widgets.

It’s not that microsites are so wrong, what’s wrong is that the marketers aren’t connecting them to other marketing and even social microsites. Want some examples of good microsites that work because they’re integrated?

How about The Creative 30? A Volvo microsite, connected to a group of other microsites. Look at each piece as contextual, but leading back to an overall engagement on the main microsite. The ingredients are here: micrositese on YouTube, Flickr, Facebook. The central microsite isn’t supposed to replace Volvo.com. But it does its job, with support, of engagement and conversation.

How about Dell Re-Generation? Same inter-connectedness, same central microsite and social microsites. They’ve added Twitter into the mix, along with Facebook and Flickr, all in the name of connection, engagement and conversation. Again, the main microsite is the hub, but it’s not replacing Dell.com

Not enough? Look at Pepsi’s Refresh Everything. It's supported by microsites on YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr and a sub-microsite to send messages to President Obama.

Look at the Twitter buzz around Refresh Everything. Here’s the power of multiple, relevant microsites, connected to each other and real people.

Yes, these are big brands doing this. But the supporting microsites don’t cost that much. It’s all about strategy, commitment and connecting the dots.

Good marketing, like nature, hates a vacuum.

10/22/2008 MITX Awards

MITX announced its finalists in its 2008 Interactive Awards competition. This is the 5th year I’ve judged in the competition and while I've competed for the past 7 years. The MITX awards have always been, in my opinion, one of the better award competitions in the interactive space.

13thAnnual This year I judged the Best Brand and Best Integrated Campaigns. I noticed two big differences this year.

First, the level of entries was the highest I’ve seen in any of the competitions I've judged (and I judge a number of them, including WebAwards and W3 Awards).  That’s saying a lot for MITX where in years past shops Barbarian Group and Zugara dominated the awards.

Second, I was surprised and delighted to see such a wide range of entries in the Integrated Campaign category. Yes, the big agencies had a number of entries, but there were also some great smaller shops and client entries. It showed that, across the board, everyone took the idea of digital centric campaigns seriously.

What’s less clear, though, is what an “integrated campaign” actually consists of.  In the old agency days, integrated meant that everything, whatever it was, had to look exactly the same. Repetition, however, does not equal integration. Now, it looks like shops deem integration to mean that you have a clear media mix of offline and online marketing. Integration means lots of touch points including digital.

I think a better definition would be that each medium adds it’s unique engagement opportunity to your marketing dialogue. Kind of like the sum is greater than all of its parts.

Take an example of a campaign that lets people upload their own picture and voice recording online. Wouldn't a good integrated print or outdoor execution include some type of mirror so you could start seeing yourself as you would in the final conversion? Wouldn’t the mobile integration ask you to record the message and then download the background music as a ringtone?

To me, integration is a finely tuned machine, all working in unison, but with each part doing something unique that makes the whole better.

I would love to see those campaigns.

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