Editor’s Note: Today’s post is of the guest variety and offered up by my friends Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston. Their new book, Marketing in the Round, is out and available. They are smart. It is good. Pay attention.
The world of marketing in small and large businesses is a siloed one. Companies have ad campaigns, PR plans, social media strategies, and websites built independently and bolted together in a haphazard manner. It’s surprising how rarely these disciplines work together to achieve corporate objectives like establishing a second vertical for a product, or increasing website sales by 30 percent year-over-year.
Multichannel strategy revolves around choosing and weaving tactics across media type to achieve these objectives. Our new book Marketing in the Round provides means and methods to do that in the current of era of widespread corporate social media adoption.
Here’s a sneak preview on method.
Tactical choices begin with objectives. Strong marketing programs begin by setting corporate objectives and goals. From there marketers examine the resources at hand, competitive positioning, and the general market landscape. This research allows them to determine a primary market approach, which is usually led by one of the disciplines, direct marketing, PR, advertising, or social media/interactive.
Once an approach is selected, that’s where the ball drops. But understanding how cross disciplinary tactics support the overarching approaches empowers strong collaboration across marketing programs to achieve goals. Individual disciplines can determine which tactics to use to help out.
Let’s use social as an example.
When a primary approach is selected it’s usually because of the resources at hand. But a company often has multiple sources of resources. If a public relations campaign blends a launch event and PR to market a new product, why not use the company’s normal social media resources that week to provide a live stream of the event, and direct customer interactions on social network sites?
Perhaps you can give special access to the influential voices who are active within your community. An infographic can be released on your blog to help make the cases. Special research or additional content can be developed and released. Or you can crowdsource pictures and other content from customers who first get their hands on the product, and share them across your network.
Nikon recently released their much anticipated D4 DSLR camera to the professional photography marketplace. In addition to its conventional top-down PR campaign, Nikon continued its tradition of giving new DSLRs to influential bloggers to shoot photographs with and review. Further, the company disseminated early photos with the camera to give bloggers something to talk about when the camera was released. The launch was received with widespread conversation online.
There are so many ways to creatively weave social media into a PR campaign, it makes no sense not to do it in the planning phase. You are limited only by resources and imagination.
Weaving social media into other primary approaches is equally easy. Consider a company that interacts directly with customers as their primary focus. Social media is the ideal medium to have one on one conversations with them. That includes the usual Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest (or other network) customer responses, loyalist programs in small crowdsourcing or private communities, niche-oriented content, and more.
Five Guys is a great example of a company that built its brand through great product (if you’re into burgers) and customer service programs. The company spends very little money on public relations and advertising, but it does invest in social media. Five Guys sees its participation online as a primary way to continue providing excellent customer service and interactions.
It all gets back to the strategy session and making sure everyone sits at the table and weighs in on how they can help achieve overarching goals. If you are a solo marketer – as is the case with many small businesses – go beyond independent programs. Assume your customer sees more than one type of communication from you, and see how you can use social to drive deeper engagement, loyalty and sales from them.
During that strategy session you should have goals that drive every decision you make. In the selection of approach and then tactics, it’s important to build SMARTER goals into your program. How will social help increase sales? By adding a social media virtual event product launch, we will increase our traditional new product lead generation during the first week by 30 percent. Having clear attainable goals let’s you manage the campaign in process, and takes the mystery out of social media ROI and outcomes.
Geoff Livingston (geofflivingston.com) is an author and marketing strategist, and serves as VP, Strategic Partnerships for Razoo. A former journalist, Livingston continues to write, and most recently he co-authored Marketing in the Round, and authored the social media primer Welcome to the Fifth Estate.
Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication ﬁrm. She also is the founder of the professional development site for PR and marketing pros, Spin Sucks Pro and co-author of Marketing in the Round.