Start-up and Coming
Integrated marketing doesn't just happen. It's powered by tools, services, platforms, instruments, and myriad technologies created by entrepreneur-minded folks humming away behind-the-scenes to make the whole thing go.
At Integrated Marketing Week in New York City, a handful of those startups gathered to give their version of the elevator pitch (without the elevator, of course). Six slides, six companies, six minutes. Please to enjoy a mini buffet of innovation:
First up: Pricing Engine
Pricing Engine aims to help simplify the process of search and digital advertising for small businesses and local franchises on proverbial Main Street. Basically, if the brand manager of Subway, for example, decides to deploy a campaign through the chain's thousands of franchisees across the country, it's possible to do that with a single interface across a variety of channels with a level of consistency and the ability to benchmark the results.
According to founder and CEO Jeremy Kagan (also a professior of digital marketing at Columbia Business School) the tool can take existing traditional creative, like newspaper ads, and turn it into digital campaigns to optimize reach.
Right now Pricing Engine handles campaigns across the big three search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing), and social neworks Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Reddit. Coming soon: Foursquare.
“We're all fancy data scientists,” says Kagan, dressed in a white lab coat. “All the people in my company do get a lab coat.”
Next up: Traackr
Traackr allows brands to “make social count” by locating and communicating with the right people, namely the influencers, says Amy Turek, the company's head of East Coast business development.
“To the outsider, integrated marketing might seem like an impossible task—to communicate with everyone, everywhere at all times, but it's really about talking to the right people at the right time,” says Turek. “The task is to find those people, and speak to them and understand them.”
Traackr is powered by a search engine that keeps tabs on the entire social Web to help brands identify, measure, monitor, and engage influencers—kind of like influencer GPS. Then, once you know who your top people are, the platform provides you with their full digital profile and the information you need to “activate” them, like where they draw their inspiration from and who they have the largest impact on.
Current Traackr clients include Adobe, SAP, Ogilvy, L.L. Bean, Chase, Publicis, NetBase, and Ketchum. Traackr recently did a campaign for Nickelodeon to find the biggest Belieber fanatic and in less than 20 minutes the associated campaign content pushed to them was already trending on Twitter.
Then we've got: TripleLift
There's a trend afoot: Publishers are systematically removing text from their sites and replacing it with big, beautiful images. Just look at eBay's new homepage; it almost resembles Pinterest now—and it's seeing higher conversion rates than ever. Food blogs have almost eliminated text completely, other than captions. The homepage of USA Today is completely image-centric. Visual content engages at a higher magnitude than text and that's a fact.
“The visual Web is the new standard,” says Chief Strategy Officer Ari Levine. “So, where do the banner ads go now? How do you monetize?”
What TripleLift does is create a “unique image fingerprint” that can identify whenever a consumer engages with an image across the Web—whether it's tweeted, put on Instagram, commented on, pinned, or whatever. TripleLift can also identify the best performing images and help with media buying.
Sometimes the only difference between a native ad and a display ad powered by TripleLift will be the fact that it's labeled as “sponsored content.” (According to Levine the click-through rate for TripleLift native ads is about 1%—roughly ten times higher than regular old banner ads. He said he's seen some instances in which the advertising content actually gets more engagement than the editorial content around it. I find that kind of scary, but I guess it's good for the ad.)