Quick Takes | Beat Annual Goals-Borrow My 5 Free Hacks

The biggest Opportunity to Exceed Previous Results
– most companies miss.

Plus 5 Free Tactic Hacks 2 Drive Results
Wait! What? No way. We’ve worked hard all year, and it’s down to the 4th quarter push. Whether retention, acquisition, or renewals, we’re driving hard to exceed goals. Way back, we all reviewed the trends, read the research; analyzed the customer base. We’re implementing a bullet-proofed plan by:

  • Strategically following consumers to digital and mobile with budget, moving $2B away from traditional media in the Oct. 2014-June 2015 period, a +16% increase vs previous year, according to Standard Media Index,
  • Realizing customers don’t think online and offline anymore, they solve their problems. We’ve expanded online presences with strategies to reach them on their journey – beyond website, email, SEO and digital display, to well established social platforms like LinkedIn, FB, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, and deeper interaction or sponsorship with blogger influencers.
  • We’re taking some chances, testing Vine, or Snapchat, or Swarm, and retargeting
  • Importantly, we survived #Mobilegeddon – making sure our site was mobile-responsive, or launched dedicated apps before Google’s mobile-friendly April update.

So, if we did our homework, implemented strategically online, what is missing for better outcomes? An integrated marketing (IM) approach, and management, which Gartner reports increases return on marketing investment by 50%. It’s not about compiling every channel into a campaign. Cross-channel marketing uses a customer-centric perspective to connect the brand presence, and benefits/value, with a consumer’s emotions, across the right mix of digital, mobile and traditional media, but about 95% of marketers haven’t been using it this year.

How Would I know? Because, You Said So

In a recent industry survey of over 400 corporate digital marketers and e-commerce professionals only 5% reported their organizations are “very much” set up to deliver effectively orchestrated cross-channel marketing. Unfortunately,this is consistent with findings from a 2014 report by eMarketer.com. eMarketer Use of IMM

Other findings from the 2015 eConsultancy.com study:

  • 68% of respondents said integration was a priority,
  • 73% said cross-channel had a major impact on conversion,
  • but only 39% understand the customer journey and adapt the channel mix, and over a quarter reported no strategy to integrate mobile into broad-based campaigns.

So while we are using online and offline channels widely, and generally agree integrated marketing communication (IMC) is critical to conversion, few marketers are nailing integrated campaigns, or consistently measuring financial results or retention.

What’s the Problem, What’s the Fix?

If it’s the buyer’s journey, how do we meet and engage them on their way? Whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand, marketing starts the conversation, so marketers must tell brand stories consistently, relevantly and cost-effectively across customer touch points. But marketers don’t control all the touch points, particularly the point of sale, or the call center.

Senior marketers repeatedly confide to me that some of their biggest obstacles to integration are:

  • internal silos, both cross-functional and within marketing’s online, mobile and traditional channels,
  • small teams and budgets limiting available talent and tools for co-ordination and reporting
  • inconsistent, or a deluge of data – with the consequence of little ability to analyze, optimize and predict consumer behavior.

To realize the IM opportunity, marketers in any size company must:

  • plan and execute around a seamless customer experience,
  • measure and evaluate engagement not just clicks and opens, and,
  • integrate the cross-functional team as well as online and offline channels.

5 Hacks to Integrated Marketing Communications Success
It’s the customer’s journey. Your brand needs to deliver a cohesive, consistent experience from discovery through customer conversion. This cheat sheet will help.

1. Identity
Your brand identity is fundamental to the customer’s experience with your value proposition. Gather the brand assets centrally, and take responsibility for consistent brand stewardship in all internal and external communication, across channels.

2. Target Audience – defined, understood and segmented
Know your target audience intimately. Segment the audience by behavior and demographics. Prioritize customers by the lifetime value of their relationship with data gathered from each touch point. Forge emotional links between customer needs/problems, your brand. Share your data cross-functionally.

3. Channels
Choose channels where your target audience spends most of their time. Engage you audience in the right channel at the right time. Look for strategic touch points. Align your message and creative to the channel attributes to add impact, clarity, consistency and the opportunity for interaction, e.g. a two-way conversation.

4. Cross-functional Team Alignment
Break down silos and integrate IT, Sales and Customer Service into every initiative with Marketing to achieve the results and ROI cross-channel marketing promises. If Marketing starts the conversation with customers, Sales and Customer Service continue the dialogue on a more intimate level.

5. Metrics – attribution and measurement
IT works with Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to set up tracking and reporting metrics from both online and offline touch points. Take the time to set up attribution in Google Analytics to identify response sources, and evaluate channels relative to conversion outcomes.