Image Credit: Simon Heseltine
Why do marketers still consider, digital and traditional marketing as separate, isolated creatures? Better yet, why is SEO still segregated from social, paid and display?
These were among the questions raised by the Creating Campaigns that Count: The Impact of Converged Media keynote panel on the third day of SES San Francisco 2013. The panel consisted of Duane Forrester, Sr. Product Manager - Webmaster Outreach at Bing, Adam Singer, Product Manager for Google Analytics, and Daina Middleton, Global Chief Executive Officer at Performics and was moderated by Mike Grehan, SES Conference & Expo Producer.
How We Got Into Integrated Marketing and What it Means
Sixty years ago, all we had was radio, TV. Middleton suggested marketing philosophies started when information was a scarcity.
It was really difficult to get messages out at scale to individuals. There was no other way to get information about your products out to the masses.
"Obviously today, that's not the case. We have a plethora of information at our fingertips," Middleton suggested. "Our goal - is about how do we get people to have a relationship with us as a brand. And that's different than before, when all we wanted was to get a message out about our products."
There was very rarely a personal connection or any sense of building a relationship with potential customers. Much of that mindset continues to this day. But as marketers, you need to understand how each interaction works with a customer. Inspiring conversations and relationships is very different than the "Mad Men" days of marketing.
A Siloed Approach is No Longer Appropriate
Describing integrated marketing as "yeah, we do SEO and PPC" is lacking, to say the least. Referring to the modern thinking of trying to integrate all the messages, Forrester asked, "what the hell took so long?"
Having one person running SEO, PPC and your IT back-end is wrong. These are de facto marketing facets. But the transition is slow and not happening effectively.
"Worse yet, no school is teaching this at any level that's meaningful," Forrester said. "There's still some catch-up happening."
Singer joined in suggesting that his alma mater's journalism program was initiating a massive social media program. But it's actually a failure to have separate social media programs, but not have social media integrated throughout the entire journalism program. Same with any marketing college. They need to stop having separate social media or email marketing programs.
"It should be a digital marketing program," he said.
Converged Media is Where Everything Comes Together
The customer typically doesn't care about "online" versus "offline."
Customers expect the connection between online and offline to be seamless. It's all about the customer experience, no more, no less. The customer wants a unified experience.
Forrester offered an example where he knew a new model car was coming out. He went to the manufacturer's website, was able to design his own custom model with colors and features, and was given four VIN numbers of vehicles matching that description and the locations of the dealers where they could be found. Great technology, right?
But upon entering the dealership asking about wanting to test drive one of those four models, the sales person informed him they didn't have the vehicles. Less than an hour had passed. The vehicles were not, in fact, sold.
The disconnect between the online message of: "make what you want, we'll help you get it" and the real-life salesperson trying to sell what hewanted to sell created a devastating brand experience. On one hand, the manufacturer's website said, tell us what you want to buy, Forrester - but the offline sales experience reversed that position.
You Need a Process that Captures the Right Data to Help You Measure it
Singer said that the opposite experience exists with Starbucks.
"They tie it together and kick ass at it," he said. "Why do these larger, legacy brands not care about it?"
The key is to have your processes refined and ready to integrate. There are likely a whole lot of processes in place currently, based on the old school thinking.
Those processes, specifically product launches, usually have dollar values tied to them. In today's world that makes no sense because your work in a campaign begins after a launch, not before the launch like traditional broadcasting.
Forrester suggested camera manufacturer GoPro does it right.
"They've been good at their creative and getting personal with social. But they had a measurement system and goals in place before they even executed their first task. You need a holistic view and set goals that are able to be measured based on growth, not on individual tasks in a silo," Forrester said.
How do You Affect Change?
The whole session was recapped by the first audience question, which was more of a rant than a question. It's really difficult to make this happen. Despite understanding the potential, there's not many agents of change or internal evangelists to propagate the word. Many C-Levels and senior management "just don't get it."
We still speakin silos and jargon the senior management still doesn't understand. To be an effective evangelist to make this happen in your organization, you need to teach the lingo. It takes getting everyone out of their silos and teach them how this stuff works. Calling out Google and Bing specifically asking for help getting the lexicon changed.
So how do you affect that change? Speak the language of C-Levels, said Singer.
"Speak in dollars." Middleton agreed, suggesting "your agency should be helping you do that."
Forrester suggested a tactic that showed the dollars and sense of the final goal. That helps open the conversation. Go to the decision maker and say: "this is how we want to move the needle to increase revenue. Are you behind this plan? Will you help us make this plan succeed?"
When that decision maker hears the plan and commits to making it happen, explain you need 100 percent buy-in from each employee.
"We need every employee to have time commitments for this program," he said. "All of that time was learning time. We saw 108 percent growth with that program."
The conversations need to begin. Get buy-in and commitment at every level and everyone wins: customers, practitioners, and senior management alike.