Thursday, October 25, 2007

Integrating New Media Into the Mix

Integrated marketing communications is one of my favorite soap boxes. An excellent article in iMedia Connection today reminded me that I hadn’t discussed it in this forum. And it’s not only really important, it continues to become more difficult. We have more media options and a lot of them are really specialized. Can the same agency handle a national TV campaign and run your advertising on MySpace or Facebook, for example? It’s a good bet it can’t. So the problem—and the core of the solution—looks like this.

The media and ad exes interviewed for the iMedia article return frequently to “the big idea.” That goes all the way back to David Ogilvy and no one has said it better. I found this on Brainy Quotes:

It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea.
David Ogilvy

If you don’t have that “big idea” (or you might prefer the Rosser Reeves phrase “Unique Selling Proposition”), you have nothing to integrate around and you won’t have a consistent message. So that’s major step one.

Step two requires executing in this world of fragmented markets, media and suppliers. Let’s make one simplifying assumption: the specialist agencies are not only experts in a particular technology (video) or application (Facebook), but they understand the market segments it reaches. If they don’t understand markets, their skills are hollow, and they are not going to do the marketing job. So hire not only for technical expertise but for the ability to use it to reach markets, often niche ones.

This requires managing execution across multiple groups inside and outside your organization. Don Buckley, SVP of Interactive Marketing at Warner Bros., talked about that a few months ago. What he says suggests they have a good handle on it in their own organization.

Click here to view video.

Listening I was reminded of the very early days of database marketing and the early days of the Internet when the “techies” were often isolated from “the suits.” Successful marketing organizations are now integrating the people as well—perhaps in work teams, perhaps the kind of frequent interaction Don Buckley talks about.

However you choose to manage the process, it starts with a big idea that can be messaged appropriately across media and it achieves its goals by consistent communication across specialist domains.

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