In light of everything that is going on around us right now, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the challenge of just keeping your business going over the next few weeks or months. However, as with any crisis, it will come to an end and life will return to some sense of normality, albeit with some permanent societal and behavioural shifts that are still to be fully revealed. The challenge for businesses and brands, therefore, is how to be ready to drive growth immediately after the risk of Covid-19 has dissipated.
Management, sales and marketing teams across the world will be having this conversation right now, asking how can we emerge from this situation in a position to move quickly? How can we effectively re-engage our audience with emotive messages that drive behavioural change?
Achieving meaningful growth is not easy. It’s hard because we live in an ever-changing, complex and competitive world, made all the more difficult by our current lockdown. Equally, consumer behaviour and expectations continue to shift, and disruptive technology presents opportunities and challenges in equal measure.
In response, businesses need to think innovatively, creatively, and with an even greater understanding of their audience’s needs and wants. They need to think about the entire communications landscape, where different audience groups go to digest information, the channels they use, the mediums they prefer. They also need to interrogate all available data to gain the most detailed and nuanced understanding possible. And, with the amount of data now available, that means considering how they can leverage machine learning and AI systems to do this analysis for them.
One approach to achieving the above is strategically driven, integrated campaigns. They are a proven way to reach and engage your audience across multiple channels and touchpoints and when approached with excitement and creativity, enable all communications channels to work harder and deliver a greater contribution to generating revenue.
Integrated campaigns can be extensive in their scope and last a year or more, or they can be deployed quickly in response to a time-limited opportunity. Only this week an MTM client identified a global requirement and in a few days, we had implemented the launch of a microsite, released with the support of a small PR campaign, social posting with animated videos, and internal sales comms. We are now monitoring social noise, which will influence where we take the campaign next, deciding what will be the ongoing messaging and weighting of channel activity to retain high levels of interest which is already creating business conversations.
Essentially, integrated campaigns are about considering the role each relevant promotional channel can play so that you maximise their effectiveness, rather than a set of unconnected messages and visual styles that run the risk of leaving your audience feeling confused. And that makes sense, doesn’t it? We live in such a connected world that you know your audience uses several platforms, across multiple devices every day. It’s therefore critical that you consider this type of intelligence in your activities and build campaigns around your audience’s lives.
Simply put, when all of your marketing activities are working harmoniously, pushing towards the same goal, you’re able to create a seamless journey from one communication to the next and from one channel to the next. That consistency helps you build trust with your intended audience and if customers trust you, then they’re more likely to engage with you and ultimately buy from you. In our own experience, when aligned, the contribution made by each channel will collectively increase the overall levels of audience engagement.
An additional advantage of following an integrated approach to your campaigns is that it provides an opportunity to regularly assess the impact and penetration of each of your activities, by channel. By monitoring the results and considering each available metric, including social media stats, website analytics, on-site behaviour and sales leads, brands can direct future marketing spend towards the disciplines and channels that have produced the best return on investment and ensure that budget isn’t wasted on a channel that isn’t producing the expected results.
Finding the right approach
Getting all this right requires a great deal of experience and the capacity to manage each aspect of the campaign effectively. This skillset and resource requirement means brands often benefit from working with an agency partner that has the ability to research the challenge, identify solutions and develop highly-creative, innovative campaigns on your behalf. The most successful campaign specialist agencies are able to reflect current cultural trends and inspire the intended audience with messaging that’s aligned to their interests and motivations – and your objectives.
If you are considering using an agency for implementation or just as a sounding board, select one that is used to bringing together all communications channels; they will bring a greater understanding how to get the best out of each. They will have teams of specialists covering each core marketing and digital discipline, all collaborating to maximise the impact of their planned activity. Just as an integrated campaign is joined-up, so an integrated agency is a single, joined-up team where each discipline is represented in the campaign’s planning and ideas have considered the role each channel could play as part of a structured campaign strategy.
This overlapping internal experience provides many benefits but chief among them is the efficiency of a single team coordinating and managing the campaign from both a strategic and tactical perspective. Knowing that the left hand is constantly speaking to the right ensures that every aspect of the campaign is monitored as a whole and investment can be shifted in near real-time in response to results. From a client perspective, you can also maximise your time by reducing the number of meetings required to run your campaigns, working with one team and that is able to update you on every aspect and provide regular recommendations to maximise ROI.
If you would like to explore joined-up thinking further or would like an agency sounding board to let’s have a chat.