This article is contributed by Alastair Kane.
Rising smartphone use means consumers now have near permanent online availability. As a result, encouraging them to connect with brands online, prompted by offline marketing cues (and vice versa), should be integral to marketing strategies.
A dual-sided marketing relationship, online marketing strategies (social media campaigns, e-casts, blogs, SEO and PPC campaigns etc) and offline strategies (advertisements in newspapers, magazines, brochures, billboard campaigns, perhaps even a town crier) must integrate to present a united brand front.
Synchronicity is key, and each strategy should be used to promote the other. Online marketing provides easily observable, real-time metrics and allows brands to develop wide reaching, yet personalised consumer relations via websites and social interaction. Offline marketing will provide wide coverage to more diverse audiences, though demographic analytics are much harder to determine.
When the two are merged into a symbiotic brand presence, it can double campaign effectiveness, increase consumer trust, brand credibility and authority, and enhance visibility – improving lead generation.
- Keep it consistent. Brand style, tone and ‘voice’ must blend between online and offline campaigns to avoid confusion. Brand style should be instantly recognisable and accessible, and consistency should extend through all areas – promotions should be identical and clear wherever they are advertised, and company branding (any logos, graphics, slogans, audio or visuals) should remain the same across all campaigns.
- Cross-reference campaigns. Integrated marketing campaigns reference and support each other. This can be achieved by using online media to promote offline events, promotions or sales for example. Site URL’s and social sharing information should be placed on as much offline media as possible; emails, adverts, business cards, product packaging etc. Keywords too, should be cross-referenced. Using online metrics, locate the keywords your brand is, or should be associated with, then integrate them into offline campaigns to boost authority around those terms.
- Make the most of QR codes. QR codes placed on offline media (posters, flyers, brochures etc) make promotions and offers easily accessible. Making the online available via an offline perspective, they are perfect for gathering responsive demographic data while promoting brands and products simultaneously. Any promotional campaign however should be tailored to suit unique brand demographics; if your market will not be responsive to a QR campaign, consider other options; perhaps an online contest advertised offline, or offline events promoted via social media. Remember, each strategy is aiming to distribute and grow interaction with the other.
- Keep sales teams informed. Your sales team are the ones dealing directly with customers, so it is crucial they know the timing and content of all online and offline campaigns. This maintains message consistency, presents an organised appearance, and prevents confusion. To achieve this, campaigns must be well-timed and gradually staggered – don’t have too many active promotions at once as this can confuse and overload customers.
- Analyse, analyse, analyse. All campaigns and strategies should be continually tracked to adjust to change. Offline effectiveness may be more difficult to track than online, but data can be gathered via surveys and opinion polls (these themselves can be pushed on, or offline). Such information is a necessity in determining integration success.
Though it sounds a sizeable task, strategic integration is not difficult to achieve as long as it is considered at every stage. Brands which integrate well are the ones which spring to the consumer mind first, as well as appearing highly in Google searches – a seamlessly synchronised strategy, regardless of campaign medium is the key to wider audience reach, better leads and increased sales!
Author Bio: Alastair Kane is a freelance writer and wrote this on behalf of 2touch a company which provides fulfilment services to both online and offline businesses. For more information visit www.2touch.co.uk.