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For Better Integrated Marketing, Look Inside for Insights

Posted on Oct 28th, 2014
Written by Lee Odden
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    Integrated Marketing often means a combination of marketing tactics as part of a specific campaign tied together with a common goal and audience. As consumers become more diverse and sophisticated in how they discover, consume and interact with digital content, it only follows that marketers correspond their efforts to provide a common (yet relevant to the channel) experience for customers.

    To elevate their ability to provide such an experience, many marketers are challenged to find new platforms, best practices and strategies. In many cases, the answer to improving customer experience across marketing channels is sitting right in front of them within customer service, sales, public relations and product management.

    By tapping managers for trends and front line staff for specific examples of what prospects, customers and the media are thinking relevant to the brands products and services, marketers can gain insights into what buyers care about, the triggers that move them to action and most importantly, the questions being asked.

    Here’s an example of what I mean:

    Marketing Goals – Let’s say your company is focused on increasing sales of a premium product. The logical hypothesis would be that the brand needs to connect with higher end customers with the desire and discretionary income to purchase the premium product.

    Customer Insights – Analysis of customer data can reveal key demographic and behavioral indicators of what characterizes the target customer. Along with customer surveys and 3rd party data for segmentation, a profile can be developed for this customer group. Insights about what she cares about relevant to the premium product, preferences for content discovery, consumption and engagement can inspire the content plan.

    Marketing, Customer Service, Sales Insights – Along with customer insights, conversations with front line customer service and sales can reveal the triggers and the key questions the target customer group often has. After an initial survey, efforts to continue to receive these insights can prove invaluable. BCCing answers to questions posed via email is probably the easiest.

    Tactical Marketing & PR Mix – With knowledge about the key interests, desires, behaviors and most important questions being posed by the target audience for the premium product, marketing can architect a plan that integrates owned, earned, paid and shared media to represent the brand as the best answer for what the buyer cares about most. In other words, part of the premium product content plan will answer customer questions through:

    • Blog posts on the brand website
    • Social content on networks
    • 3rd party media online and offline
    • Industry blogs
    • Paid search ads
    • Social media ads

    Think about the confidence you would build in your premium product of the key questions customers have are being answered in industry press, on the brand’s blog and through social networks. The combination of such an integrated marketing and PR effort is very powerful.

    Any opportunity to engage the target audience in social content creation would be leveraged as well. If the customer segment uses Facebook and Instagram in a meaningful way, then a contest that inspires customers to take selfies with the product might engage more organic content interactions, increasing reach and providing content to run social ads from.

    Key Performance Indicators – KPIs show progress towards program goals (or not). Metrics in a program like this example might include benchmarks and then continued tracking of:

    • Exposure in the media
    • Social network mentions
    • Search visibility
    • Conversations online
    • Placements in specific media
    • Mentions on relevant blogs
    • Mentions in offline media
    • Social shares
    • Context and sentiment of social shares
    • Social content created by customers
    • Network growth
    • Visits to relevant blog and website content
    • Referring traffic to hub content
    • Contest participation
    • Inbound and social links

    Business Outcomes – Ultimately, the goal for the program is to sell more premium product, so sales and overall revenue are the measures to focus on. As the program matures and insights from KPIs are used to optimize the program messaging, tactics and effectiveness, additional measures such as shortened sales cycle, profitability and referrals could be considered as well.

    The idea with this example is that marketing that functions as a silo in an organization is at a distinct disadvantage over a scenario where customer insights and internal staff that interact with customers are tapped to help formulate a more targeted and meaningful experience for buyers. The most straightforward ay to start is to connect with customer service and sales staff to identify key conversations they’re having with prospects and customers to reveal what buyers care about and what questions they have.

    Overlay those insights with actual customer data that the brand already has a relationship with and you may have some pretty compelling content to work with for a much better integrated marketing effort.

    What data sources are you using for customer insights? What information sources are you using as a base for integrated marketing?

    Photo: Shutterstock