Integrated campaign planning is more in-depth than just co-ordinating different media channels, and we are now seeing brand marketers apply integrated methodologies to their everyday campaigns as a matter of course. In the most part, digital interaction is at the centre of marketing campaigns and this is stark recognition that today’s consumer is well and truly a digital consumer.
So what does integrated planning actually mean? Integration is what draws together traditional media campaigns with a multi-channel approach. Invariably this means offering tailored brand experiences at every consumer touch-point, and this is what causes marketers the biggest headache.
Successful integration requires multi-channel media planning skills, performance tracking and data interoperation capabilities, the application of marketing automation platforms by competent tech folk as well as a keen eye on creativity and user experience design. It is no wonder that the multi-channel media campaign management market is predicted to be worth $2.7 billion within four years.
Here are our six top tips when creating an integrated multi-channel media campaign:
Recognise the audience
Any well planned campaign starts with your target market. Even more crucial when deploying multiple media channels. So get to know your audience, understand exactly who they are and what they're looking for. Research will help, even if it means testing audience reaction in a live campaign environment. Different media will infiltrate different audience segments, so research and testing can be isolated and personalised, but expect some crossover and develop your messaging accordingly.
Create a detailed plan
It's all well and good having a presence across numerous media channels, but without a detailed plan of what will be posted, where and at what time your entire strategy will spiral. Line by line planning is what most media planners are weaned on, and no campaign manager should go into battle without one. Your line by line plan can also be used to set the framework for your media channel tracking dashboard, comparing channel performance over time. Be sure that when you set your goals you always keep them at the back of your mind, when you post content, activate new channels and ultimately report to your stakeholders. Not everything will work, it's as important to track and eliminate those that don't as it is to back the ones that do.
Keep on top of the specifics
Successful integration is about the detail, and it is key that every member of your team stays on top of the specifics: what is being published, to which channels, when and how it's being measured. Knowing your audience and knowing the desired outcomes of your strategy will help to inform these decisions, but it can be hard to know where everything is going so referring to the line by line plan is essential. It minimises mistakes and eliminates duplication.
Listen to everyone and everything
Consumers are becoming more vocal, and it's not just social media perpetuating this. Consumer power has generally increased exponentially. For many brands this presents disempowerment, but for those that reach out to their audience and look to resolve any issues in the public space by being transparent with their practices, has opened up new opportunities to strengthen their brand. Look at Dell, John Lewis, even Dollar Shave. So integrate your social channels with your customer services. You may be surprised by the positivity that filters through to discussion boards and review sites.
Be contextually relevant
The joy of the digital channel is that we can update them at the click of a button, so there's no excuse to be behind the times. It also means we can try things out and conduct some user based research in real time environments. People appreciate that brands are now as connected as they are, so in turn brands need to do as much as possible to stay relevant.
Be valuable and emotive
Finally, the wants and desires of the modern consumer have changed. What consumers want more than anything nowadays is an emotional connection to a company which provides them real time value. Creative is still how marketers will tap into the emotions of their consumer market while delivering a message of value. Get this right and your brand can almost guarantee marketing campaign success.
Saman Mansourpour is managing director of The Agency.