Inside this Insight Report | Blended and connected marketing | Introduction | How do marketers navigate Web 2.0
Taking part in the conversation
Blended and connected marketing
Why harnessing Web 2.0 techniques demands changing your classic marketing

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Marketers in all sectors struggle with the challenges of integrating their communications, especially now the digital channels (web, email, search, mobile etc) have become so diverse.

So a while ago when the pharmaceutical industry asked us for some advice about how to approach blended and integrated digital marketing - in particular by using social networks and communities - I found myself looking at issues that hold true for most sectors. The routes for engaging with social media, the steps brands can take to get started, the challenges for advertising in social spaces, the importance of transparency and respect in this new democratized landscape - all these issues hold true just as much in media and banking as they do in pharmaceuticals.

From the work we did initially, there were training courses, seminars and a range of outputs that included this short write up. Following the integrated mantra we've been teaching, a Digital Insight Report on the key action-points, a web page for some discussion about how to harness it, and if you find these useful and need a hand applying it to your firm, then let us know.

We hope you find the report useful and if you'd like to talk more about blended and integrated marketing then let me know.

Best from all @ Digital

Danny Meadows-Klue
Danny Meadows-Klue
Founder and Chief Executive
Digital Strategy Consulting

Digital Insight Report: Blended and connected marketing
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Massive social and technical change demands a new type of blended, connected marketing.

It's time for a change in marketing. We've seen periods of change many times before, but never on the scale now needed. The legacy of the first digital decade includes placing the absolute control of media in the hands of the audience, the removal of frictions in the access to knowledge, the capturing of conversation and opinion from all stakeholders in ways unimaginable ten years before, a step-change in the scale of media fragmentation, and the arrival of whole new paradigms in communication. It's a whirlwind of change, at a pace that remains daunting, yet any brand failing to adapt, is assured to fail. Many classic marketing channels continue, but a new type of blended, connected marketing is called for.

Speed read

  • The rapid pace of technological and social change impacting on marketers continues
  • Rather than change being a gradual process, there is often a sudden crossing point
  • The switch in audience focus and time is just the start of the process
  • The impact of digital marketing forces a reappraisal of the existing marketing mix
  • Social media, online communities and social networks have created new environments for communications that demand new types of responses
  • Integrated marketing is now more strategic, harnessing the core strengths of each of the channels rather than simply distributing the same message
  • There are several questions to ask yourself when using social media
  • In the new era of blended marketing, not only the mix of channels changes, but the relationship between them needs to be rebuilt
  • There are simple pragmatic steps you can take to blending your marketing together
  • The future is less opaque than many think: many trends are now clear

How do marketers navigate Web 2.0?
These are huge issues, because as social networking has transferred online, new networking platforms and techniques have opened up. With them come many new ways to reach customers, and thousands of social spaces brands can participate within. As tools such as blogs, personal profiles and social media have become more accessible, anyone who wants to has been able to create a web page. They can air an opinion that becomes discoverable through search engines and leave a breadcrumb trail about your brand. If that seems a little daunting, the good news is that while there are thousands of tools, marketers have only five main ways to harness them:

  1. Architecting their own communities
  2. Participating directly within a community
  3. Sponsoring or be associated with specific communities
  4. Supplying community participants with information and motivation
  5. Observing and learning

Taking part in the conversation
This is the tricky one for many marketers, but the blunt reality is that marketing is moving rapidly away from the interruptive model to grab attention, and into a new era of engagement that solicits attention. It's a massive cultural change for classically trained marketers, and a humbling experience to shift in your mindset to simply taking part in a brand conversation rather than controlling it. But that's where marketing is: the world is full of savvy consumers who are media literate and sceptical about marketing. They are taking back control of their attention. The motto? Cooperate, don't control. If you decide to take part in the conversation, then remember a few of our golden rules.

  1. Remember this is someone else's space and you are a visitor; it's a personal space so treat it with respect.
  2. If you make comments be courteous and keep on topic.
  3. When you are writing as a firm, make it clear and be transparent in how you present yourself - there's a massive debate here about ethics in marketing and although many agencies are establishing themselves as subversive posters, it's not something we're going to support.
  4. Every community and market is different, so walk through the ideas with a few people from different sides of your industry first to sound them out; remember once your material is in the public domain it's out there - so a gentle dry run is well worth it.
  5. Check your posts carefully before they go live, in blogs create a voice and personality, in communities have a strategy for why you're contributing, and in wikis do rigorous fact-checking before anything goes up.

As a few heads are normally better than one, try involving a couple of colleagues to act as a sounding board about what is going up and how it's being presented.

Danny Meadows-Klue
"Smart marketers are rethinking the role of each channel to create a new type of blended and connected marketing. Social media accelerate the need for this."
Danny Meadows-Klue
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