We are a creative integrated marketing consultancy specialising in 4 business areas: Business Services, Financial Services, Automotive Aftermarket and Recruitment Advertising. These blogs tell of some of our experiences working in these business areas.
10 January 2014
The concept of integrated marketing to promote B2B and B2C products and services, and influence purchase decisions, isn’t particularly new. Yet it always amazes me how so many companies manage with fairly disjointed marketing and business development – it’s anything but integrated and strategic. We define integrated marketing as – end-to-end marketing communication that drives business opportunities, connections and ultimately sales; as well as fully integrating with senior and sales management - with activity embedded into daily workflows and actionable.
However marketing communications can be taken further – through synchronisation.
What is synchronised marketing?
Synchronisation goes beyond integration, allowing the ‘voice’ of the brand to speak to and ‘touch’ every stakeholder. Utilising advertising, PR, marketing sales literature, briefings / pitch books, outdoor, design and social media for example – it’s about being collaborative, simultaneous and less linear in approach.
It doesn’t start with an advertising concept which is then translated across into different applications. Each discipline draws from its own strengths. Notably, synchronisation allows marketing communications to be continuously fine-tuned based on real time customer feedback and engagement – from microsites, mobile technology and social networks for example. Synchronised marketing connects individual touch points and gives the target an enhanced experience which leads directly to stronger engagement. There are already some great examples in play.
Traditionally, you might see a printed ad, get the same message online, and respond and experience some kind of presentation. But increasingly a target could come into contact first with a brand via Twitter, a mobile app or even an ad at an airport for example.
In B2B, any of these entry points could lead to time spend digesting a white paper or microsite content or a video for example – but not necessarily in a controlled order. So it’s more important than ever, that the “brand voice” is harmonised across all touch points.
Tips for synchronising effectively
Keep the conversation going and the volume turned up
The internet and social media have enabled companies to access and influence communities in bolder ways. They provide a forum for a conversation and interaction with brands. The payback can be huge, because multiple stakeholders and constituents can quickly champion opinion, and deliver share of voice.
There is no denying that articulation of a product or service on Facebook, can spill over to Twitter and a myriad of blogs and forums generating a "noise". By understanding underlying dynamics, keeping the conversation going and the volume turned up - a company can propel their product or service into “hearts and minds” and achieve strong consideration by target audiences.
Two recent examples that come to mind are Land Rover and IBM. Land Rover has unveiled an intelligent and highly dynamic advertising experience for web visitors by using the viewers’ location and previous visit preferences and choices to create a tailored experience. It incorporates video and has seen engagement rise significantly (intent to purchase is now at 53%) as well as qualified leads for dealers. Sounds too intrusive for your taste? Not really. Land Rover is creating excitement and an experience for interested buyers or browsers. It's emotive, intelligent and powerful - it advances both the brand, and helps sell vehicles. What else should they be doing?
IBM on the other hand have used a highly synchronised strategy to market cloud computing. A dry subject for many of us, but IBM made it relevant, accessible and understandable. This wouldn't have been possible without pushing boundaries and investing in the brand experience. IBM successfully addressed reputation, sales and relevance in this order.
Connecting all the dots
For many business owners and marketing heads, advertising, aligned web and follow up collateral is sadly a luxury. Often budget constraints lead communication planners to forego the advertising element and rely on "push" alone. It's a mistake. Advertising (ie paid for content) is an essential ingredient in carving out “share of voice” in the market and conveying the corporate brand. Print or outdoor ads can use QR codes that link to a microsite or video content, and dedicated landing pages or thought leadership.
Invest in content
White papers, fact sheets, “did you know?” content, 60-second test and analysis-type content - are all powerful examples of advancing a concept, product, IR comms, service proposition, application information and benefits for users. The trick is to segment content by target audience, touch point and journey, to make it relevant, accessible and effective. Aon's M&A website uses segmented content to appeal to its three primary targets - private equity, corporate executives and transaction lawyers. Concepts need to be framed differently for each and each needs leading in via HTMLs and so forth from slightly different start points, with varying benefits and case studies. Brand and content can be synchronised to (a) increase touch points, and (b) broaden reach. The result is improved ROI.
Empower your biggest asset - employees
It's easy to ignore or underplay internal communication. The consequence is neglected brand management and external marketing results which will be diluted. It is not sufficient to present a campaign moments before it is launched externally. Grown up companies start internally with holistic comms, intuitively delivered via posters, floor and lift vinyl, mouse mats, screen savers, desk drops and the like as well as intranet signposting. Influencing and “touching” employees, who are your brand and sale assets anyway, is integral to communicating effectively and fully.
Connect brand and the marketing plan
Brands that are funky, fluid, engaging and well thought-through, are easier to synchronise with marketing support. Marketing needs to address and cater for multiple touch points - and think and act BIG.
Chris Abraham heads AEP advertising - an integrated brand and strategic marketing and lead generation agency. We launch products and services and assist with external communications, internal communications and investor relations marketing solutions for clients who operate in local markets and cross-border. For more, call Chris Abraham on +44 207 580 1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.