Most of you know we LOVE INTEGRATED marketing! RANDOMNESS is in our vocabulary only as reference to Random Acts of Marketing (RAMs) of which we help customers avoid. We help them remove the RANDOM I-V feed and replace with marketing that zooms ROI, impact, and brand equity.
People usually raise one eyebrow when we talk about integrated marketing. We've seen a few tomatoes hit the wall when we inform them what they call a marketing plan is in reality nothing more than a few Random Acts of Marketing (RAMS) (joking about the tomatoes!).
This post is for those wanting to take a first step toward integrated marketing in 2010! Those who want to disconnect the I-V feed of random ads, enewsletters and events.
Hoping these tips will INSPIRE you to think beyond the random ad, email newsletter, or stream of tweets. Dare to stand above the rest and create marketing programs that INSPIRE, CONNECT you with your audiences and help your audiences, your partners and YOU ACHIEVE success both personally and professionally. Randomness won't get you there folks. An integrated marketing program incorporating both online and offline strategies will!
The first section includes tips for building an integrated plan. The last section includes IDEAS for getting integrated.
GOALS & OBJECTIVES
1. Business and marketing plan. This post isn't designed to teach you how to build a marketing plan. At minimum ensure you have clear goals and objectives. If you don't take the time to do this you risk wasted money, time and lost opportunity. Trust me, it will be worth your time! If you need help, call your local marketing agency, call us, call someone and get-r-done!
2. MARKETING & COMMUNICATION ASSET INVENTORY. Most of our clients and businesses in general don't realize how many assets they have in their toolbox. Make a spreadsheet with the following categories
a. Asset Name
b. Asset Type (video, whitepaper, press release, article, advertorial, flash demo, testimonial, collateral, facebook page, enewsletter template, flyer, powerpoint deck etc.)
c. Date Created
d. Date of Last Update
e. Target Audience(s)
f. Online / Offline Integrated (does it reference online platforms such as websites, facebook fan pages, twitter etc.? If not, it should and needs updated!)
g. Update Required
h. In / Out / Updated ? Make a decision on this after you create the integrated marketing plan. Every asset in your arsenal should be categorized as IN, OUT or NEEDS UPDATED. No ifs, ands or butts about it. Make a decision.
3. Create a calendar of all of the events you have planned in 2010. Be honest. Count everything. Include the social media tweets, blog posts, enewsletters, flyers, ads etc.
4. Add external business events to the calendar. These include events and activities sponsored by other organization such as local Chamber of Commerce, business partners, etc.
5. Add community events to the calendar. What charity and non-profit events are there? Is your local church or YMCA hosting an event where you can donate your time or offer an item or service for silent auction? What events could you sponsor within your community or target markets? Many times it takes very little to sponsor such events and can provide great visibility.
6. Resources required? Make note of what resources are required for each calendar item you have added. Include personnel, time and financial investment required.
7. Partnership Opportunities? Identify who and what businesses you can partner with? Don't be afraid to partner with others in your industry who may even overlap. If you focus on the customer you will both win. Good partnerships can add value to customers, decrease cost and increase impact and ROI. Dare to share yourself and your business with those who need it, can leverage it and help you tap new markets.
8. Resource Gaps. Make note of what gaps you have for executing
9. Integration Ranking.
Rate on a scale of 1-5 for each of the following criteria (5 being highest)
Top Ranking Metrics
-Return on Investment
Supporting Metrics (use these to feed the above top 3 metrics of cost, value and return on investment)
–Feasibility to execute (based on skillset, budget, time and resource)
–Revenue Impact (what impact will activity or deliverable have on revenue)
–Customer Impact (impact on customers and target audience? Will it provide value? Educate them?)
–Brand Awareness Impact (impact on brand awareness)
–Ease of Integration (ease at which activity or deliverable can support and integrate with other activities with little or no tweaks)
–Uniqueness (is the activity unique in a good way? is it something that can help you stand out from the crowd, be the PURPLE COW as Seth Godin would say?)
Note: Be realistic with feasibility. Chances are some items are too expensive, will take too much time or you lack the skillset and don't have the budget to hire someone to execute. A marketing plan not able to be executed is worth less than the paper or hard drive it's written.
CREATE an INTEGRATED PLAN!
10. This post isn't designed to tell you HOW to create an integrated marketing plan. However, this is where you do it. I am available for consulting hours if you need help in this area. Suffice it to say that the plan needs to include a calendar, budget, themes and specific tactics. It should be based on the above suggested plan, calendar and ratings.
CREATE A MESSAGE HOUSE
11. EVERY company needs a message bible. It is a document that houses all of your messaging. At minimum it should include vision, elevator pitch, company description, value proposition for each major target market and user, product descriptions, features, advantages, benefits and of course headlines. Focus on who you are, what you offer and how you are DIFFERENT! WHY should people read your content, listen to you or even give you 30 seconds at an event! BE REAL and AUTHENTIC. Don't write like a robot. Write like you are speaking to a favorite prospect. Write with excitement for your business, your customers and your markets. If you lack writing skills, hire an agency or contract writer to help you. This can not be skipped and is the KEY to your success with all activities. Without content you lack impact, ROI and the WHY FACTOR!
INTEGRATED MARKETING IDEAS -Use these as tips for integrated marketing IDEAS.
12. Rally around an EVENT or LAUNCH date. The key here is to GO BIG OR GO HOME. The days of events for sake of hosting an event are over and done. Focus on fewer events but make em' BIG! Invite the media, submit a press release to the local newspapers, and tell your friends, customers and partners about them. If it isn't worth telling everyone you know about it, don't do it! Save the time, $$ and effort for something that IS!
13. CREATE ONCE, USE MANY. Get out your MESSAGE HOUSE. The greatest benefits of integrated marketing is ROI and IMPACT! Because you are integrated you can use the same content for multiple events. Identify what materials can be used for what events. Document what gaps exist and how new assets required to support event, campaign or activity can be leveraged across multiple activities.
14. KEEP THE PULSE. Nurture your existing audience. Although you're rallying around a date or launch that doesn't mean that's all you do. Keep the heartbeat going with your customers. Keep your pulse on the market. Keep your blog and website fresh. Send eNewsletters on a frequent basis. Attend the priority networking events. Don't disappear in the months when you have no event or launch date. Having worked 15 yrs in high tech I know how easy it is to become heads down in new product development and market launches. Don't fall victim to a stale website that loses touch with previously captured audiences because you place more importance on upcoming events.
15. INTEGRATE ONLINE & OFFLINE. This is by far a favorite and what so many businesses forget to do. DO NOT run an ad, print a biz card, sponsor an event, distribute a flyer without including your website, twitter username, facebook fanpage etc! Your online presence MUST blend with your offline! This will increase ROI, enable better metrics and measurement, increase impact, brand awareness and the list goes on. The calendar and asset list will help you do this.
16. INVITE YOUR PARTNERS TO YOUR PLACE. Host a cocktail party or tweetup. Invite your potential partners, neighbors and friends. This will offer a non-competitive environment to discuss possible partnership opportunities. Plus it will offer a chance to build relationships and connect on a personal level. Relationships are key to success in all facets of business.
17. SPONSOR a CHARITY EVENT. Select a favorite local charity, church, school or other non-profit organization. Contact the organization and obtain information on sponsorship and support. They will not be shy in sharing, guaranteed! Team up with identified partners and support an event, create an event or even be a simple drop-off point for donations. Offer a product or service for silent auction. Share XX% of sales on a certain product or service to non-profit organization for a specific time period.
18. RUN AN INTEGRATED CAMPAIGN. Some of us who have been in marketing for years know how to do these. However, to many new businesses and entrepreneurs I know it is not common practice. An example of this would be to place an ad in a local newspaper that links to your website for registration of a free or discounted service. Or how about a video contest where you ask your audiences to contribute videos and the best wins a prize? Why not partner up with a couple other businesses and run an ad together to cut down costs, up the anty for give-away and increase lead generation exponentially? Don't be afraid to share and work with others for mutual success!
19. USE eNEWSLETTERS as an INTEGRATION POINT. Do pre and post event/campaign communications. Push them to your website, facebook page. Do more than broadcast. Encourage participation. Tell them to provide feedback. Offer templates, tools and educational material for download. You'd be surprised of how the results when you ask and offer. Just because you're tired of looking at a document doesn't mean the next prospect looking for your product or service it. Make the most of what you have and communicate it in a consistent, positive way.
20. EVERYTHING YOU DO, THINK INTEGRATION. If you find yourself creating documents, web pages, flyers, events or anything else that is not connected to anything but itself…. RAM alert! Check out these prior posts for more info on detecting a RAM, how to avoid them and more!
Have fun friends! Don't be afraid! Getting integrated is FUN and provides positive results. IF you want to WOW your customers, partners and even your BOSS in 2010 get INTEGRATED!!! Need help doing such? Call us, we have self-guided programs where we can help you help yourself!