eConsultancy #DigitalOutlook14 – Outlook on Multi-Channel Marketing

Getting up early, even, on a Tuesday seems extremely challenging especially when you know deep in your heart the Christmas holiday is around the corner. But I have managed to get up with just two snooze on my morning alarm. Suddenly a sense of digital excitement slowly filled my morning clouded mind. Yes! It’s the annual Digital Outlook 2014 briefing brought to you by Econsultancy. Then I curbed my excitement to look around for a coffee because I need to be fully awake to digest all that’s coming.

Digital in 2013 has been a bumpy ride, at least for me. While I read more and more money, in the billions, are being spent and will be spent on Digital and Social Media this year and subsequent years. I still feel a pang of hunger to learn more and paint a easy to understand picture for my bosses on ROI through digital. To me this seems to be a rather obscure place and I don’t know where to start and end. If you are squirming reading this try explaining Google Analytics’ multi-channel time decay to your colleagues and finally, if you dare, to your bosses.

It’s 926am and we are still waiting for the briefing to start. Wonder what’s in store. Let’s start.

Paula Harrison | Group CEO | Jericho Digital communications on Outlook on Multi-Channel Marketing

Paula starts with a strong point about banishing ‘Jeykll & Hyde’ and concentrate on brand experience. In a content-crowded digital space brands need to work extra hard, internally and externally, to tell an engaging honest story. This must be something memorable and not a point to start selling anything.  Content and engagement is what the consumer wants. Planning and executing a Brand experience campaign builds value for the company. Remember one wrong tweet plunges stock market value of a certain company.  One of a brand that stands out because of great brand campaign execution is Virgin. Just look at this Virgin America Safety Video. Don’t you just want to click the share button repeatedly. This multi-faceted, multi-national brand knows what they are doing. The brand should not afraid to push its boundaries. Brand experience sets an expectation. Integration is the way forward.

Integrate your channels because marketing channels do not exist in silos. Cross channel marketing must be done during the marketing planning stage. One point to remember is consumers are on multi-devices. They usually start in the morning with a Smartphone searching for your brand.. Then continue on their office laptop finding out more… And on the tablet while watching TV or having their dinner.. And if  you have given them all the reason to buy… They will complete the purchase on a desktop computer just before bedtime.  Interactions that span devices need common branding to keep the top of mind brand recall. I cannot stress enough that Interaction means more than marketing. Coordinating with other channels to create a seamless brand experience. But integrating is difficult, but it’s imperative. Now is the best time for your offline and online manager to sit down and plan and work together. Please remember customer expects same experience on every channel.  As much as the planning discussion happens internally something is crucial to also ask your customer what they want. Simple poll or focus group (now you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to conduct) gives abundance of data for you to play with. Test and measure everything. Heard of A/B testing?

Now let’s move to Paula’s predictions on Multi-Channel Marketing in 2014.

Data will be everything – Data are sexy now because it’s the center of everything that we do. Marketing is as powerful as the data you have. This is not a joke. Sometimes it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the data you have. Start setting KPIs and study the data. If you can’t do it, hire someone. And measure and track what matters. eg. Facebook likes is not a measurement that you should  care, find out what content are being shared and who are sharing it. 2014 will be the year you need to invest time, money and resources for a full data center and analytics.  Google Analytics will be a good place to start because it’s free and it gives you all the information you need to understand your customer online behavior.  Target and personalize all channels in real time, if possible. Get married to your DATA no matter how small or big or ugly.

Brand Voice is even more important – We operate (and market) in a crowded space. Everyone is rushing in to get a piece of your customer’s airtime. So you need to stand out. How do you do it? Find your brand voice and ensure this is reflected in everything you do internally and externally. Finding out what type of brand you are is a good place to start. If you are making toothbrush you need to remove your FMCG’s hat and put on a customer experience hat. How do you enrich peoples’ lives while keeping their teeth sparkly clean? How will you resonate your brand story so the generation to come will remember and buy and buy and eventually recommend your brand to others. Sounds exciting, No!!

Increasing need to choose marketing channels carefully – as a new marketing manager my biggest challenge is to find an advertiser that can give me maximum exposure for the least cost without compromising my brand image and message. Digital Ad space with all its grandeur impression and CTR tracking gives me lots of data. After studying a media kit I am left with a big void in my mind can they deliver what they promise. And most importantly, would I be able to reach my target audience. Multi-channel marketing adds another layer of complexity that you cannot miss or overlook. The sales funnel is expanding by the minute due to customer buying behaviors. Start with a caricature of your target audiences. Find out who they are. Get intimate. Find out their interest, likes, dislikes and where they hang out (physically and virtually). Get into their shoes and re-imagine what would attract them. How can you reach them and capture their attention for that few seconds. If you can do this, even not fully involved, half of the battle is won. Then comes the contents or creatives. Keep in mind that your customer has lots of choice now.

Mobile commerce is the defacto commerce – Do not disregard mobile in everything you do even if you are not selling online. The importance of mobile is, usually, supported by the penetration rate reports that you can find everywhere. How do you then find out creative ways to integrate them into your marketing plan. Start with yourself. How do you use your mobile phone on a daily basis. From the time you wake up start documenting everything. What you check on your phone, which apps you use, where you use them and of course how. This gives you a nice journey map for you to start pondering. Now bring back in your target audience and see how their mobile use behaviors fit into everything.  Then get creative or a get an agency to do it for you. Unfortunately, this is not so easy for now. Hopefully more innovations and study can make our life easier.

Digital Campaigns hide monsters – Trial and error can something be disastrous. But you will make mistakes and how fast you own up and start cleaning up is what the customer wants to see. Brands are afraid to become vulnerable, but unfortunately those who resist will dissipate. If you are planning for a Social media campaign always, I repeat always, work in a contingency plan if it does not turn out how you expected (planned). This is crucial because this extra layer of process will force you to think all the possible outcomes and how you will, then, respond. Time is of the essence here. Every minute you delay discussing in the boardroom what to do next destroys your brand and eventually your business. It’s hard to rebuild trust and confidence, but quite easy to break them. Maybe one of your ex-friend comes to mind.

Technology and integration are commonplace words – You may be doing this already unconsciously. Say you are working on a print ad for a daily newspaper. Wanting to print QRcode on it is integration. However, what happens before and after the ad is important. Before incorporating a digital element think through what you like to achieve. Is it leads generation or increase in brand awareness. Set some KPIs (even if your boss not asking) and see how it pans out. Measure measure measure everything and compared it with your KPIs. After you do this for the few times you can then start benchmarking. Wouldn’t it be great to present the outcomes to your boss in the next meeting and look all shiny. What I find even more fulfilling is to own up when a campaign is not successful. Tell your boss the learning points. I am sure he or she would be happy with your progress. Good Luck!

CEO becomes digital champion – Indeed this will be a fantastic progression. But seeing how many CEOs of the fortune 500 companies, now,  are actually digitally savvy, will make this prediction tad bit difficult to achieve. I think there is a cross-section here between being driven by digital passion and delivery of business results. All we can do is just wait and see. My question is in your organization who drives, digital forward?

Here are the slides from Paula’s presentation. As usual leave your questions or comments below.. and you can also sent me a tweet with #digitaloutlook14 @gpoovan

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