Successful marketing is not just about email and direct mail campaigns. All of your marketing channels need to be integrated and optimized – including your direct marketing - in order to achieve your goals. In a strategic marketing program, each channel has its own strategy and metrics that need to be integrated for successful outcomes. However, each channel also needs to stand alone in moving the customer or prospect to the next step in the process.
Brands should use as many of the following channels as appropriate:
- Search – organic and paid
- Advertising – print and digital
- Social Media – not all but the best platforms
- Direct – email and print
- Public Relations – corporate, media, investor
- Mobile –Apple and Android
- Website – brand central
These are the desired results of marketing across these channels:
- Thought leadership
- Brand building
- Lead generation and nurturing
- Successful problem solving (sales)
- Customer satisfaction
- Increased customer lifetime value
Every brand’s marketing program is going to be a little different, but begin by clearly identifying your channels, strategies and intended outcomes. These need to be aligned and integrated. For example, search marketing delivers new prospects by ensuring that you are “discoverable.” Advertising and direct marketing also generate prospects ensuring a solid pipeline of interest. Once prospects are aware of you, they go to their favorite social media communities to get information about your brand. After encountering them there, your next goal is to attract them to your website – brand central - where you deliver enough value to convert them to customers. Your post-sale efforts will create customer satisfaction and increased sales by expanding the customer’s lifetime value.
The secret sauce that keeps these moving parts productive is a customer-focused sharing of valuable content that helps prospects solve their problems. Through each one of these channels, you want to push enough free content that prospects are so persuaded by your authentic desire to help them that they begin to trust you and become open to purchasing even more valuable content and services from you. How much content should you give away for free? Some experts recommend up to 20%. Of course, content always needs to be appropriate for each of the channel platforms so that it is easy for prospects to share these content bites with their own networks. That in itself is a solid brand-building strategy. It is through the process of sharing your content and building community around your content that you gain sufficient credibility for prospects to trust and engage with you.
The goal of marketing is still to generate sales and create customer value, but the path is newly different. Consumers are adept at tuning out our messages, ignoring our advertising and deleting our mail if they are not interested. The essence of the secret sauce is the change in focus from “We want to sell you this,” to “How can we help you?” It is a critical and seismic shift in today’s complex markets.
With integrated marketing plans, use as many channels as possible to attract and engage potential customers with content they perceive as useful in solving their problems. It is also critical to be consistent; offer value – without a sales spiel - that is complementary by channel but leads the prospect to the same place – brand central – your website. This is where you close the deal. Your website content – particularly landing pages – needs to deliver results whether it is an actual sale, sign-up to an email list, or agreeing to accept a phone call from a sales person.
By using every available channel, and consistently providing valuable content – your secret sauce – across these channels, you will succeed in achieving your goals and objectives with a multi-channel marketing program.