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
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
Founder and Chief Executive
Digital Strategy Consulting
Report: Blended and connected marketing
Register for our Digital Knowledge research briefings
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.
The rapid pace of technological and social change impacting on
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
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
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
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
The future is less opaque than many think: many trends are now
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:
Architecting their own communities
Participating directly within a community
Sponsoring or be associated with specific communities
Supplying community participants with information and motivation
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.
Remember this is someone else's space and you are a visitor; it's
a personal space so treat it with respect.
If you make comments be courteous and keep on topic.
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
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.
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.
"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."