Integrated Marketing: The Whole is Only as Good as the Sum of Its Parts
More often than not, as marketers, our strategic shift can become very one-dimensional. Instead of seeing the big picture, and combining different strategic tactics, we often lean towards the road most traveled, that which is the most familiar to us. But just because a strategy isn’t familiar, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deserve inclusion. In the case of an integrated messaging strategy, marketers need to venture outside their comfort zone, and look beyond content marketing as their exclusive messaging channel.
Recently I sat down with one of our clients to discuss their current messaging strategy, to offer some insight into neglected messaging strategies that they should be leveraging. These components included an â€˜always on’ content presence, branding strategies, and sales enablement/intelligence tools. Currently their focus is on only one strategy – content marketing. Their current content messaging strategy wasn’t consistent, lacking an â€˜always on’ presence. The main takeaway from the client conversation was by only leveraging one of the three aforementioned strategies, client only had a small piece of the puzzle.
Branding isn’t just about clicks
A common misconception is brand creative only serves to increase traffic to a vendor website. This could not be further from the truth; branding solutions build brand mindshare, which can subsequently lead to more content engagement. As buyers navigate numerous editorial sites they will see banner creative that promotes the vendor brand, or a specific product. Constant exposure to a particular brand is more likely to increase recall when the consumer tries to search for a specific product and has to choose between 5-10 brands that appear in the search results page. Reviewing a highly engaged account from the client’s campaign, we found the account had a high volume of clicks each month, presenting opportunity for the client to touch the enterprise account’s buying team via brand and content messaging.
It’s OK to be â€˜Always On’
Just because your friends are annoyed that you feel you always have to be on, doesn’t mean the same rationale applies to your content strategy. Actually, in the case of content messaging, this is the rare exception where always being on isn’t a bad thing. The simplest way to convey the significance of this strategy is this: Just because your content campaign ends, doesn’t mean the buyer research ends as well. Buyers are aggressively engaging with content as they attempt to create a shortlist of solution providers, and more than ever it’s important for vendors to maintain a consistent content presence.
In the earlier/middle buy stages, there is no loyalty: If a prospect engages with a piece of vendor-branded content, and then looks for additional subject matter coverage, they’re not going to take the extra time to look for a specific vendor content, they are going to look for the most compelling message. No matter how good your message is, if buyers can’t find it, they aren’t going to view it.
If only there was a way to predict when an account was active and ready to buy
I like to tell people that if I could predict the future, I’d probably be working on Wall Street, commuting from my private island. Most marketers cannot predict the future; however sales enablement and intelligence tools are the next best thing. The biggest challenge for a vendor’s sales reps is the inability to properly prioritize accounts for follow-up, and not having enough information on an account prior the follow-up call.
Without truly understanding an account buying team’s behavior, the sales staff is at a start disadvantage. I can go into Salesforce and see that a contact at Large Enterprise Bank downloaded two of my content pieces, but that won’t tell me how engaged overall they’ve been with content within the topical space, or whether or not there is an active project. I wouldn’t be able to find out what other competitors are being viewed, or how long their purchase timeline is. Without this type of insight, vendors run the risk of losing highly engaged accounts to top competitors who have the wherewithal to implement these strategies.
Leverage all three strategies to see the big picture
Individually, these pieces are strong, but they don’t tell the whole story. Alone these elements don’t provide sales and marketers with the big picture, providing insight and identifying milestones throughout the account’s journey through the buy cycle.
Leveraging all three elements provides the holistic view that will allow sales and marketers to build brand mindshare, provide a consistent message for buyers as they progress through the buy cycle, and make informed, timely follow-up calls to active buying teams with buying projects.