Marketers need to harness media convergence and integrate to maximize the impact of their various communications, on and offline.
Convergence has been brought about by the arrival of mobile and social media. The combination has empowered customers to access the Internet anywhere and discuss it.
The resulting anytime anywhere access to the Internet breaks the isolation of any one type of media form, including radio ads in the car and newspapers in a local subway.
Convergence creates the need to integrate, the process in which all communications from a company or organization — regardless of form — work together to present a unified brand experience for a customer. Integration yields more leads, creating better ROI for marketers. It includes cross promotion of ideas, themes, and calls to action, including participation in social media.
A recent CMO Council study showed that only 9% of respondents believe their interactive marketing efforts are highly evolved and integrated. This online integration issue doesn’t even consider integrating marketers’ efforts in the traditional advertising, public relations and direct marketing disciplines.
Gini Dietrich and I addressed why and how marketers must integrate in our recent book Marketing in the Round. These four reasons show why business owners and lead marketers should address marketing integration today:
1) 3000 Messages
The most important reason of all, customers passively receive an average of 3000 branded messages a day through a wide variety of diverse media.
This astounding statistic should tell every business owner and marketer one thing: A siloed communication targeted toward an unexpecting or unwilling customer will likely “bounce” off their consciousness.
What makes your status update, print ad, press release, Tumblr post, trade story mention, or other outreach stand out from the other 3000 messages?
You can rely on breakthrough creative, but most marketers don’t shoot silver bullets with every communication.
Through integration, impressions develop a branded thread that with repetition begins to stand out from other messages. When a need makes a brand relevant, your integrated marketing effort stands a much greater chance of coming to mind.
2) Convergence of Content, Search and Social
Experienced online marketers know there is no avoiding integrating content, search and social for a complete Internet strategy. They are irrevocably tied together, and increasingly so with Google, Bing and other search engines focused on adding social context to search.
Inbound marketing and lead nurturing demands seamless intertwining of the three disciplines.
Social is how customers hear about you, search is how they find you, and content is how they qualify you. None of them alone are strong enough to succeed, but together organizations can deploy knock-out online marketing strategies.
Alone, unoptimized content — while it may be good — is not found. Search optimization may drive traffic but without great content people will bounce and leave. Similarly, social may drive attention and traffic, but if your content is not relevant (a la inbound marketing principles) or searchable, it loses opportunities.
That’s why it’s so important to build every aspect of an online presence with a combined view of customer interests and relevant topics, search optimization via balanced keyword methodologies, and social optimization. It’s how leads are built.
3) Online Conversations Start with Traditional Media
Studies have shown that the most shared stories within social networks come from tradition media.
That means traditional public relations tactics media relations and events have a direct impact on driving traffic to your online content and social media strategies. Further, search algorithms index news stories as critical sources of content.
A customer will see the media as a credible proof point for your product/service category, and social, search and content can then create bridges to your web site.
Make sure content and social reflect the general trends media covers in relation to your company. Then whether through social or search, you can generate new inbound leads by integrating across public relations.
The same could be said for a successful advertising campaign. Consider how many broadcast ads live extended lives on YouTube. Does your content and social reinforce the messages of your advertising?
4) Direct Brings Home the Bacon
More marketing dollars are being invested in direct tactics like email marketing, direct mail, search, and more first. That’s because the direct marketing approach yields the most ROI at a 10:1 ratio, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).
Break that direct expenditure further into the online spend. More than half of expenditures (54 percent) in Internet marketing go to online pay-per-click search in 2011, says the DMA.
Inbound marketing closes with customized dynamic online calls-to-action and emails. But even a letter or an old fashioned mailer can achieve the same result.
To maximize impact, that final close needs to feel, sound and act like the general messages that brought your customer to the door. Integrating creative and topical themes only helps direct close the deal.
A version of this post ran originally on Social Fresh.