Marketing integration will become the mainstream online marketing strategy for this year, as audiences access information in a growing variety of devices and platforms. It’s no longer enough to be implementing strategies that are considered best practices for each individual platform. I’d like to help you start planning your integrated marketing strategy by discussing what you need to focus on below.
Search and Social Go Together
With search becoming less focused on the technical aspects and keywords, and more focused on delivering customer needs and improving customer experience, social media becomes an increasingly important partner. The following points should help you create a customer-centric integrated strategy for social and search:
- Use the filters in your social media properties to deliver targeted content to your audience. You have full control of what filters you want to create, and how you want to categorize your audience.
- Publish content regularly, whether it is your own content or related articles and features about your industry. This will allow your followers to compare data and establish you as a reliable information source.
- One-on-one personalized interaction is very important in maintaining your audience and building a small but loyal following to begin with. Schedule activities like live chats on your social media profiles, and respond to your audience’s queries regularly and promptly.
Marketing Should Support Sales
One of the biggest problems your business may encounter is a lack of synchronicity between your marketing and sales teams. This usually affects the customer service part of your online marketing efforts, which is important if you want to retain customers and gain brand ambassadors. You’ll need to focus on the following:
- Determine the responsibilities of your Sales and Marketing departments. Sometimes, the lack of synchronicity is due to a lack of definition. Establish the tasks and responsibilities of each department clearly to see how the two can work together well. A good example is Macmillan’s sister company First Second Books – they clarified the distinction between the two in a blog post.
- Open communication lines between your sales and marketing departments. If your marketing team posts a promo on your website, for example, make sure the sales team is informed of all the details.
- Provide quality content for Sales to send to your potential clients. Your marketing team is responsible for creating marketing collateral for your Sales team to present. Make sure to create stunning and informative content every time you have a new product or service to offer your customers.
- In line with the previous point, your Sales team should relay feedback and requests from the clients to Marketing. This helps in personalizing content, ensuring you deliver the information your audience wants.
Sometimes, the problem is in distinguishing the responsibilities of your sales and marketing teams.
Personalize for Mobile and Local
Your integrated marketing strategy should have a large focus on mobile, local and other personalization aspects in order to succeed. Your audience connects to you using different devices, and creating content that is easily consumable on different devices, and so it’s important to target your content accordingly.
Mobile and local personalization go hand-in-hand because mobile users are most likely interested in establishments within their area. Optimizing your business pages, updating your business information in online listings and targeting specific areas relevant to your location helps you appear on mobile results as much as it contributes to local SEO in general. Other ways you can personalize are:
- Check your customer behavior, especially when it comes to shopping carts. Does your audience device-hop before purchasing? Optimize your website pages to remind them of their saved preferences.
- Know the latest trends and news in your location and incorporate this in your content, your ads, and your promotions.
- Focus on targeting a small but influential group of people who are most likely to become returning customers when targeting content. Make it easy for them to share content through their devices by incorporating social sharing buttons and making your content easily downloadable through mobile.
It’s All About Blurred Lines
The thing you have to remember is that the lines are blurring between different methodologies. Creating separate marketing plans for each platform is still important in ensuring you maximize the features of each, but you need to remember the bigger picture. Your strategy should lead to a larger online marketing plan, which is why your efforts need to be more cohesive and integrated.
The points I’ve discussed above only touch the amount of integration you need to consider. Talk to us today to learn more – we’d love to help plan your integrated marketing strategy for 2014.
Bernard San Juan III
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