Integrated marketing communications (IMC) is business jargon that literally means syncing your online and offline marketing efforts into one cohesive campaign. Rather than having your physical presence presenting one facet of your company and your digital presence representing something totally different, the integrated marketing strategy aims to make the two one.
This strategy is useful in today’s world because people are interacting with your brand in more ways than ever before and they are probably getting a mixed experience.
So, let’s look at four innovative ideas to connect the two worlds you’re operating in to create one cohesive marketing message; moving customers seamlessly through a unified brand experience:
Track Offline Campaigns with Custom URLs
Marketing campaigns created by larger brands will often create brand new microsites that they’ll use and then almost throw away on a big media blitz. You can do the same, but at a scaled back version. By simply creating a new landing page on your company website for each marketing campaign you can get a good sense of which marketing messages and strategies are working the best.
For example, if you are handing out information about your company at trade shows, create a landing page on your site with the following format: “Tradeshow Name Year”. Direct traffic you receive to this page you can most certainly attribute solely to trade show marketing efforts. Alternatively, instead of creating new pages for every activity, you can use bit.ly, a URL shortening service, to create custom URLs for campaigns that come with built-in analytics.
Let Trade Shows Start the Conversation
At trade shows it’s hard to quantify the value you get from a person-to-person event. Just setting up for a trade show is hard enough, not to mention keeping track of everything you do. You’re handing out company information, giving demos, taking business cards, but how are you tracking impact? One idea is to move the conversation from the offline world, online. For every piece of information you provide, offer more of it online. If you’re handing out product sheets, include a unique URL where they can access more. Or if you’re showing a promotional video, share a place online where they can see more videos.
Drive Online Traffic to Printable Coupons
Do you want some real ROI data on how your online marketing campaigns are translating to real world money? Printable coupon landing pages are one way to start. If you sell consumer products, and can offer coupons for in-store purchases – it’s worth experimenting with printable coupon landing pages.
Use Google Adwords, Facebook Ads or other online advertising tactics to drive traffic to a dedicated landing page with a printable coupon. Then track the conversion rate by tracking the number of people that print and redeem the coupon. Then split test your landing pages, online ads … everything. Make sure to create unique coupons for your digital campaigns and discover whether this translates to real redemption offline.
Leverage Customer Preferences
What does Uber’s private driver service have to do with ice cream, kittens, or trips to Las Vegas? Their customers love these things. Uber is famous for delivering ice cream one day a year to customers, and they’ve done it three years in a row. They’ve also delivered kittens and even given people a ride to Vegas at the push of a button.
Uber has tapped into seemingly unrelated passions their users natively have, and given them a way to do it. And they’ve gotten insane amounts of press while doing so. By creating offline promotions, Uber quickly gained publicity through online news outlets and social media, furthering their reputation as a fun and trendy company. What other things do your customers love that you can give them – either through one-time promotions or partnerships with cross-industry companies?
Creating a cohesive brand experience across your online and offline properties is definitely hard work. Not even the best brands do it right all the time. The key is to be aware of how you present yourself to customers wherever they find you, and present them with one clear message.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Mark Krenn is a passionate young entrepreneur and founder of Coastal Creative Reprographics, where he designs, creates and installs trade show exhibits and large format printing products for marketing departments. Mark enjoys constant traveling and almost every sport. Connect with @coastalrepro on Twitter.
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