This article was originally published in ClickZ.
A source of frustration for many agencies is that some of their clients just don’t seem to understand the value of integrated marketing.
Too often clients will ask their agency to prioritize tactics, and once the prioritization is completed, they will say, “OK, I’d like to go with just the number one tactic.”
I get it – marketing dollars are increasingly stretched; brand managers have to maximize the value of every single dollar. That said, it can be extremely short-sighted to only choose a single tool to perform a job that needs five tools to succeed.
Can you build a chair using just a hammer (plus wood and nails, of course)? Sure. But it will probably be a very unsteady and uncomfortable, not to mention ugly, chair. To make a chair that is truly functional that people actually want to sit on, you’d also probably need various power saws (circular saw, hand saw), clamps, measuring tape, sandpaper, paint, oh, and maybe some fabric, stuffing, and a staple gun to cover the seat.
I think my point is clear – can you undertake a marketing plan with just one tactic, for example, a website? Yes. Will it be as successful or effective if it was combined with other complementary tactics? Quite simply, no.
Most marketers know the “rule of seven” – the old adage that the average customer needs to see or hear your marketing message seven times before they take action. Now, whether it’s seven or five or 10 is irrelevant. The fact is that the underlying tenet holds true: you can’t expect the majority of consumers to take action the very first time they come into contact with your brand.
And while some consumers may respond to a direct mail piece, others respond to an email and yet others respond to a banner ad; each consumer is more likely to do one of these activities if they’ve already been previously exposed to your brand.
Particularly in the digital space, the individual tactics truly work together to support one another. Many studies have documented the positive impact that, for instance, display advertising can have on search performance.
The analysis we’re doing on our brands’ marketing programs has shown us for instance that:
- Consumers who were previously exposed to a banner ad (but didn’t click through) are more likely to take a high value action when they eventually visit the site.
- Usually between 10 to 20 percent of users who clicked on a paid search ad were previously exposed to a banner ad (which likely played a role in prompting them to search).
Before doing this type of analysis, which leverages impression-level tagging to track visitors who were exposed to our ads, we could have easily written off display. When comparing this tactic “apples to apples” to something like search engine marketing, the cost per acquisition would seem ludicrous. But once we started quantifying the impact that display was having on our best performing tactics like SEM, we began to realize that search wouldn’t be performing as well if it weren’t for the display campaign. Display was capturing those prospects who were higher up in the funnel and beginning to seed our messages, prompting them to search and return to the site later on as motivated individuals. The right analytics infrastructure and attribution modeling has helped us better understand how our tactics are working together to drive customer acquisition and define the role that each tactic plays in the marketing funnel.
Our analysis has also proven that users who are receiving ongoing communication are much more likely to remain loyal to the brand. For example, patients who were part of an eCRM program were more likely to stay on a prescription therapy than those who were not.
The key takeaway for marketers is that you need to ensure that you’ve created multiple opportunities for engagement with your brand. You need to build a relationship with your audience. You can’t always just take tactics at their face-value and their individual contribution – you have to look at the contribution to the success of other tactics, and how all of these tactics work together to drive success.
Ultimately this culminates in two recommendations:
- Ensure your marketing strategy takes an integrated, holistic approach that is designed with multiple consumer touch points.
- Ensure you have the right measurement strategy in place in order to measure not only the individual contribution, but the combined impact of your tactics.
May the power of integrated marketing be with you!