Every marketer is trained from the beginning of their career to attempt to get the most value from their marketing dollars – everyone knows that they’re scarce enough without wasting them! Usually that means running leaner, tightening expenses, negotiating fees, cutting costs, avoiding waste. These measures assume that there is nothing you aren’t doing to boost performance, increase awareness or response, extend reach or build frequency, expose the brand more widely or selectively. One of the most effective strategies we’ve seen pay off is media integration to drive support of the central message.
As it turns out, American audiences like a choice. Who knew . . .? But good direct marketers know that if you offer a prospect too many choices, they may make none at all. No joy there. But if you offer them a choice and they don’t know you’ve done it, everybody wins. That’s what media integration is all about, creating those choices in the background. And, as an added bonus, which choice the buyer makes tells you something about them, absolutely FREE!
Picture a barstool (don’t lie, we KNOW you’ve seen them). They have three or four legs and a seat, or platform. The level of effectiveness of that device degrades in direct proportion to the number of legs – start removing legs and the stool gets less stable to the point where it won’t stand alone, or even becomes dangerous. You can sit on a one-legged stool, but it’s not for the feint of heart! On the other hand, a five or six-legged stool can become unwieldy or unstable too – keeping all those legs the same length and flat is a challenge, or at best the extras are redundant and wasteful.
What do barstools have to do with marketing? An integrated campaign to build awareness or drive enrollment or response can have several types of media integrated, each adding to the stability, and the effectiveness of the campaign, each message supporting the other media and the offer platform, like the legs of the stool.
Say you were promoting a conference. You have a great list of prospective attendees, responsive, accepting of the brand, happy evangelists for your organization. You have good, extensive file info in each record, including phone number, mailing address, e-mail address, some transactional info and more. You’ve got a terrific speaker line-up, a highly relevant topic, a great location. Sounds like you’ve got a good shot at success, but here’s how to maximize the number of bodies in those seminar seats – tell the prospect about the conference in multiple ways using different media.
You could mail to them, and the mailing could include a PURL that leads to a personalized landing page that showed their participation with your organization in the past year (or what they missed, in the case of a newbie). You could also send them a personalized e-mail with a slightly different PURL link embedded in it, that drives them to another page that shows their best choice in hotels or dinner location. You could also launch a robo-call or volunteer phone bank call a few days before the conference, directing them to the registration site for a last minute discount on airfare from a consolidator/partner. The e-mail also has a phone number included for audio registration, the e-mail has a reply feature for questions, the phone call lists an e-mail address as well as the web registration site address, and the registration page has a phone number for inquiries. You’ve now come at the prospect from three different directions, sent essentially the same message (attend this great conference) but shown them different facets of the conference, shown the benefits in the outgoing vehicles, and given them a choice as to how to respond to you (mail, reply e-mail, web registration, return phone call). Plus, the way they choose to respond or register tells you what mode of communication is the most convenient or effective for them, information you can use to reach them more effectively next time – FREE!
Those three directions are the legs of the stool – each media supports the message platform, and feeds the other media: web, e-mail, voice, print mail. This sort of campaign might make it tougher to discern just exactly what is driving response, but as long as the response is strong and the meeting is full, the job is done, and most of these are trackable now so that dilemma isn’t as problematic as it once was.
You can drive response to one media or another, but giving the prospective attendee a choice as to how they want to respond increases your odds of a response almost exponentially. Personalizing each medium makes each more effective than the generic version, further strengthening the campaign. By adding to your integration scheme with low-cost supports, (e-mail, and volunteer phone calls) you’ve maximized your resources and gotten the most bang for your buck, in some cases doubling or tripling your effectiveness, without doubling the cost.
Check the campaigns you have running and see if they could benefit from an integrated approach. It may be a little more work, even if you re-purpose elements like graphics, copy, forms, e-mail templates etc. but the results are definitely worth it.
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