As an student of communication studies you focus on how the three separate disciplines of public relations, integrated marketing communication, and advertising, work together to form strong campaigns. When you enter the job market you quickly realize that even though the practices work together, there is a clear division in specific job roles, departments, and specialty agencies. So many in fact, that it can become overwhelming for us newbies. And if it can be overwhelming for those of us who have a degree in the field, imagine how users of our services may sometimes feel.
Something I have run into with my current marketing endeavors is that smaller businesses and non-marketers don’t understand that productive tactics take both time and use of a variety of channels. You will not build a brand or product by only using “insert blank type of marketing avenue here”, and you will not build one using every type of marketing out there.
As a specialist, it is important to inform your clients about this. Tell them upfront why some strategies work and some don’t, but importantly why your’s will. As Tim Yandel writes in his article on sales, “if you aren’t helping educate your prospects throughout the buying process, they will go somewhere else for the information needed to make a decision”. Educate your clients on why no matter what their desired goal is, reaching so relies on how appropriate marketing efforts are, and how well they are being received. More specifically, educate and emphasize how the best tactics will be the ones that fill the role of of reinforcing existing propensities.
The goal of marketing communication messages is that they work to reinforce the brand idea. However, the marketing sphere is so cluttered by so many different messages by so many different brands that only using one or two channels to reach your target audience simply will not work. People are much more likely to remember your brand if they see the messages in a variety of places at different times – surfing the web, riding the metro, and watching their favorite television show. This is what is known as “multi-channel marketing”.
On their website, SAS, explains why this tactic is key to a successful campaign, “Multi-channel marketing is important for the simple reason that you must be where your customers are. And they are everywhere.”
If you are looking to switch to a multi-channel approach, you will need to start by evaluating two things: First, your current marketing plan: Is it mostly interactive or passive? Is it in the digital sphere or in print? Is it reaching consumers face-to-face or only through the TV? And secondly, your audience and the communication channels they prefer: What channels do they interact with most? What is their favored social media site? How important are traditional mediums compared to digital? Am I targeting an age range, a specific user group, or a profession? This allows one to see mediums and opportunities that are not being used or mediums that are but could have more potential. A great example of this, is broadcast television incorporating social media elements like hashtags overlays on TV shows. Some shows even have segments in which they read their audiences tweets. This tactic allows brands to reach and interact with consumers that’s both traditional and digital and encourages audience behavior to engage with both.
To be competitive, brands must diversify their efforts and reach out in different directions. Doing so allows your services to not only be seen at a larger breadth but allows you to reach audiences that are more relevant and more attentive to your efforts. What brands do you think have done a great job at reaching you across platforms or channels? Can you think of a channel that brands haven’t used to reach you but should?
– Caroline Robinson and Savannah Valade