“Divide and conquer” said Julius Cesar “& we shall rule!” That worked well as the history books have taught us, and we continue to practice this philosophy as we compete against each other in the marketplace. Look at Emaar vs. Damac and McDonalds vs. Burger King, do we choose an Audi or a BMW? The planet is full of competitive communication. Even within the marketing communications ethos, the biggest conflict is digital against traditional communication. The great news is that marketers understand that digital and traditional have a place in the spectrum to reach their customers, but the channels within still seem to compete against each other. Should we lean more on YouTube videos vs. TV commercials? Should we spend more on emailers or door drops? Instead of splitting a media channel, how about we synchronize them?
That is what we call unified marketing. It is different from integrated marketing. Integrated marketing is when multiple touchpoints unite to give a consistent message to a customer. Great! But that approach, in our current environment can be a little frightening. Imagine seeing the exact same iPhone advert with a price and product image on a billboard, website, email, web banner and social media channels. The same message across all platforms. This will backfire as a customer’s state of mind is different while viewing different media channels. Therefore, unified marketing takes this a step further by customizing a message in its correct context based on the touchpoint. For example, on a billboard the customer may see features such as photo quality, on social pages its ease of use with a clear CTA, or a different message on their web banner based on their browsing trends.
Now, that’s awesome, because its precise in communication by being context driven.
To make this work there are 5 key components for a unified marketing strategy; when combined they drive sales, have a precise ROI and evolve as per a business’ KPIs.
1. Set Precise Goals
Print marketing and digital marketing complement one another. As such, your goals for both need to be aligned so you can avoid overlaps, while also making the most of each unique platform. As you build your marketing strategy, consider how each platform can work together to reach the goals that you set.
The first step is to set these goals and then separate them, and see how print achieves one set of goals, and how online can achieve another.
2. Set Precise Branding
Consistency in branding from voice and messaging to fonts and colours is critical. Even more so as you move from online to offline.
3. Set Precise Tracking
Tracking is as critical to your offline, print marketing efforts, as it is for your online efforts. When done right, you can see the effectiveness of both online and offline alongside each other, allowing you to modify and update your strategy as needed.
The good news is that it is easy to implement, regardless of the offline materials you’re using. As you build your unified strategy, keep this in mind.
A Shortened URL or QR code can be used on your print material and text messages giving you a similar data point as your online marketing’s click-throughs. You can track these click-throughs via Google Analytics or your e-commerce tool (depending on how you set it up) to overall ROI.
Custom offer code: Use a custom code to track how many people took advantage of your offer. This code can be entered online, if you have an online shop, or used the code in person. The cashier simply enters that code into your POS system, allowing you to see how many sales come directly from that effort. From there, you can easily calculate the ROI. We have noticed custom offer codes sent via SMS messages have seen an increase of 20% response levels.
UTM parameters: If you’re linking to the same page, both online and offline, use parameters to tell what source drove traffic. For example, if you’re linking to the same landing page, you don’t need to create a new one for each medium. Instead, append a code to the link for each.
4. Have Precise Metrics
To assess your efforts properly, you need to have a unified list of metrics that you can track to measure the value of both print and digital. This allows you to compare, not just the ROI, but raw numbers as well to see what’s working and what’s not. Some metrics that can be compared between both mediums include:
- Traffic or clicks to the website or a specific landing page
- Purchases made, offline and online
- Inquiries via your website
- Sign-ups for an event
- Downloads of a digital product
Continually track these metrics, month-by-month or per campaign. Tracking metrics requires consistency to find patterns and modify as needed, so build this into your strategy.
5. Check and Review
The most vital aspect to any marketing strategy is reviewing your efforts on a regularly set interval, preferably month-by-month. This is especially important for a unified strategy that includes both print and digital marketing because the two will likely have very different results. Knowing these results will allow you to consistently put your budget in the right place based on data, not assumptions.
Unifying your print and digital marketing strategies to see the most value from both works well. When you set the same goals, determine metrics ahead of time, and track the results, you will set yourself up for success with this multi-channel approach. Divide and conquer cannot work because we are not at war with a customer but dividing how a customer interacts with a media channel, and conquering their attention with the right message is when we stay away from the communication clutter.
Interestingly, between the two communication channels of digital and traditional media, SMS messaging steps foot in both domains. They are easy, quick, always on your mobile and highly trackable when used with the key components above, often seeing 20% or above response rates.
Although the concept of unified marketing is rational, it’s execution is a tremendous task to follow through. If you choose to do this yourself as a company, the team member(s) would need to be a data, marketing, finance, digital, design, technical, email, tag and reporting experts amongst others to simply stitch it all together. This gap has now given birth to many marketing and unification tools to help facilitate these components in one dashboard, offered by powerhouse software solutions such as by Oracle Response, Eloqua, Microsoft Dynamics, Social Bakers, ZOHO, SAP, Hubspot etc. Most also offer SMS message integration workflows to further help unify your marketing efforts. Each of these tools have their strong points and fit to a business based on their requirements. Many we have seen, may not perfectly fit your needs and that’s when a basket of solutions work together to fulfil the unified goal. This is where a truly holistic agency such as Precise Communications can step in to help plan, execute and maintain a unified approach.
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