Multichannel's new back-to-school look

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Multichannel's new back-to-school look
Multichannel's new back-to-school look
French Toast launched its Facebook and Twitter programs about six months ago and intends to create special offers for the back-to-school season. Arking underscores that social media is about developing relationships for the brand, pointing out that while e-mail marketing is highly effective in generating sales, the e-mail lists constantly change.

"People who are a part of Facebook tend to stay for a very long time," he asserts.

Mike Gatti, SVP of communications at the National Retail Federation, notes that the cost-effectiveness in social media helps attract retailers. "You can push more of the dollars into the actual offers that you are making," he says. "You don't have to spend as much money as you do for TV, print and radio."

Staples' LeBlanc agrees. The company added a Twitter feed to its marketing mix this year, creating an open forum for employees and customers, to discuss what is on their minds. For its back-to-school agenda, Staples will use Twitter to announce special deals, too. "The cost of tweeting is very low," he says. "The impact is disproportionately very high to the investment."

Measurement will be an interesting exercise this year, given that social media campaigns, in particular, are performance driven. Engagement and coupon redemption will be examined as well as sales in general — all of which can be tracked back to these channels.

It's the advancement in online tracking tools and analytics that have helped push more marketers into social media this year, says Lisa Bradner, president of Geomentum, an Interpublic Group-owned marketing, media strategy and performance agency. "If you're not making smart technology and analytics choices now, you're not going to be well-positioned," she says. Looking ahead, Bradner points out that with back-to-school promotions, the marketer is "really training tomorrow's consumer."

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