Integrated marketing begins with experience

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Ghastin: Yes, you're driving people to an environment where they have a voice, whether that's your website, whether that's a community, whether that's a social media platform. I think Best Buy has done a great job of this with their Twitter platform. 

Direct Marketing News: You mean their Twelpforce?

Ghastin: Yes. It is an absolutely incredible job they've done. They really used that piece of engagement, even retention with their existing customers to drive acquisition and advocacy. Integrated marketing is about looking at the entire lifecycle.

Cooperstein: That's how you take an integrated approach. You apply it to the brand experience. They're in a cycle and, at any point, can make a decision, “I'm engaged, but I want to see what else is there.” Or they're driving their car for years and have no relationship with the dealer. So, “It's time for me to go buy a new car. I'm going to pick up a magazine or read a review.” Engaging people is very important. 

Van Hoof: As far as multichannel versus integration, it is a challenge enough to bring all the channels together to have an integrated campaign. How do you deliver the end customer experience? That's not just a marketing function. It's a corporate function. The larger the organization, perhaps the more siloed, but just integrating across channels has been a challenge. To turn that on its ear and say, the consumer drives the experience begs the question, “What does that agnostic approach look like from a messaging standpoint?”

I would say it's one of our biggest challenges. Lining up the channels is a challenge. But to go to the next customer-experience driven step, it's which channels, which messages? How do you deliver the experience? What about the delivery of the product, the service, the follow-up, those constant interactions? Those don't always fall in the marketing suite. They fall into other parts of the company.

Ghastin: It is an overreliance on technology to try to empower integrated marketing as maybe a crutch to fixing processes that enhance the customer experience. About 90% of moving in the right direction is the culture within a marketing organization. You need to have the leadership that will break down those silos and be able to institute change. Technology is a tool, not a substitute for strategic thinking or ideas. A lot of companies want to buy some software, plug it in, and then all of a sudden we're integrated marketers.

Direct Marketing News: So that basically covers the last 10 years of customer relationship management (CRM), right?

Ghastin: Yes. Technology allows you to get there. But until you've fixed the root cause of the problems or do the enhancements of hardware, you're not going to get anywhere near having a competitive advantage.

Direct Marketing News: How do you reconcile tracking customers? Can you talk about data challenges?

Marianacci: There's a danger that you have all this information and you know how well this consumer is interacting with you online. You start to disregard the more traditional media, such as telephone books and newspapers. Yes, readership is down, but is advertising any less efficient in those channels? The danger is that we start to focus on the new thing and forget the old.

Lee: As a direct marketer, whether we do a half-hour infomercial or 60-second or one 20-second spot, we give a URL and an 800-number, but 50% of our consumers are now coming through online. Are they coming through Lifetime? Discovery? Are they coming from WGRZ in Buffalo? Because of that, we don't know what the real value is to us in buying these stations for $50,000 or $1,000. Is a Lifetime viewer a better online consumer than WMYW New York? We've tried using multiple URLs, and it doesn't work. We know how long they stay online, we know why they make the purchase, but we still don't know the driver of that behavior. It's very hard when you buy a national program.

Tingle: We're having that exact same challenge. We know we have a great relationship in particular properties, which is exactly what we want. But we can't scale that relationship because we can't find those properties elsewhere. That's one of the challenges of how do we blend the traditional with the digital.

Ziewacz: The traditional media can be an influencer but, unfortunately, the digital media is the one that's always being scrutinized and either to blame or reaping the success of the conversion.

You get into the concept of measurement and what's earned media and what are the KPIs, and you get back to the conversions and outcomes. It's like your broadcast heavy-lifting banner ads become drivers more so than media channels.

Van Hoof: As we talk about an integrated effort around the customer experience, we want to maximize the return, measure it to the nth degree. Then say, “This one's under-performing.” You change it, move it out, do more of another. When we talk about a customer experience, can you pull it apart that way? 

Digital in general is more measurable. Put it all online, but how do you measure the impact of that offline stuff?

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