ADOTAS – The traditional marketing funnel has developed into a sieve; gone are the days of the linear sales and marketing progression. Consumers now start the sales process from a multitude of entry points including category awareness, brand preference, local availability to point of purchase promotion, and exposure to social media interactions. Today’s multimodal consumer presents both risks and opportunities to brands that integrate their marketing communications strategy.
Since the advent of Internet marketing, strategy has called for a careful calibration of branding efforts and direct response. Marketers could balance the needs for both with defined budgets for branding and measurable ROI for direct response.
Now online marketing has evolved to the point that brands no longer have to make artificial distinctions between brand engagement and lead generation. Well-integrated online campaigns offer powerful branding and direct response opportunities together.
With the arrival of a broad range of new opportunities — social marketing combined with SEO, SEM combined with DSP-enabled display, mobile, online video advertising, email, interactive TV — there are a myriad of new ways to accomplish these objectives. The challenge for today’s online professionals is to understand how these platforms overlap and how to capitalize on those points of integration.
It’s not that tried-and-true tactics like e-mail, search, and display campaigns have stopped working – it’s that to really stay ahead in this game you have to be agile and understand and apply newer technologies and activities to your craft.
The platforms that are best at branding – social media and display – can and should be meshed with direct response vehicles like search, SEO, and email. As various social and interactive communication channels enter and transform the arena, CMOs can gain the advantage by blending these channels into one comprehensive interactive-marketing strategy. Not only is it possible, it’s absolutely essential for your success.
Social, search, and media in particular are coming together rapidly, with social media serving as a common thread that binds campaigns together. Social media metrics like friends, fans, likes, and shares are adding a whole new menu of actions and success metrics to what we apply to online display and search.
Social media marketing is also adding new dimensions and opportunities to SEO by allowing marketers to build rank and links via Facebook Likes and social sharing, and distribute their content and brand to other pages and profiles living all over the web.
Think of rich media ads with Share buttons that encourage you to post content and share things via Twitter and Facebook. The category formerly known as online display has morphed into socially infused online media. Add to this new video pre-rolls with interactive features enabling you to click through and order.
Or consider Facebook ASUs (Facebook’s self-serve, cost-per-click ads), a great example of a social media-search marketing integration. These ads are targeted via keywords similar to search. They are PPC text ads like search. They can be managed, measured, and optimized much like search, as well as targeted to specific audiences. And they also can be used to drive Likes (fans).
A company fully embracing this integration is Sephora North America. Its fully integrated commerce-enabled iPad app lets consumers shop for beauty products in a magazine-like format.
Buyers can read product reviews, view videos, browse the company’s catalogs and purchase products and get up-to-the-minute news from Sephora’s social channels without leaving the app. There’s even a virtual mirror feature that lets consumers transform the iPad 2 into a side-by-side mirror and video player. Meanwhile Sephora is getting the word out via all the other choices on our online marketing menu.
The following are tactics you can use to integrate your online marketing mix:
- Combine search and retargeting powered display to put ads in front of paid search conversions and use robust tracking and reporting technologies to follow the impact of your actions on a real time basis across all channels.
- Submit your blog posts to social bookmarking sites like Digg and Reddit to drive traffic to your website and create incoming links.
- Use ad exchanges and DSPs that allow premium placements for branding and low-cost placements for transactions.
- Use Twitter to link followers to your latest blog post or email newsletter online to fuel interest and re-tweets.
- Create corporate profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and establish a company blog to dominate the results for brand terms.
- Incorporate trending topics and popular hash tags into your tweets to appear in Google’s real-time search results.
- Use email to announce new LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter feeds, directing readers to social networking sites for signup.
- Use the sidebar on your e-newsletter to list all company social networking profiles, and use those profiles to gather e-newsletter subscribers.
- Include a Fan Widget or Like call to action in banners, landing pages, media programs, and site content.
- Include a link to your Help forum or YouTube video tutorial within purchase-confirmation emails.
- Include a social-bookmark console on product pages to allow readers to share your website or product info.
It’s time to bring together your social media, search, display, mobile, email and interactive TV efforts. Understanding how they can intersect — and learning how to capitalize on those points of integration — is essential for success.