Author: Bonnie Harris

What kind of marketer are you? Integrated marketing can be approached from many different angles. If you're a public relations person, you'll probably anchor your IMC plan from earned media and content marketing. Digital marketers may start with keywords and landing pages. Knowing your home...

Push notifications have been around since 2009, starting with Apple’s release of iOS 3.03. Since that time consumers have become increasingly accustomed to this service, particularly as used in apps and more recently in web applications. Rich Media Push Notifications in particular offer marketers a new channel to connect with consumers, especially in this era of increasing adblocker usage. Consumers enjoy receiving push notifications that are relevant. According to a recently released report by Vizury, static push notifications receive abysmal click through rates (CTR) ranging from 4% to 8%. The reason for the low CTR is that mobile users don’t like wading through dozens of generic and irrelevant messages before finding one that is actually useful. Think of this as the modern day equivalent to email inbox overload, except worse. Push notifications are highly distractive and you can’t quickly scan through them in the same manner as your email inbox.

It's every marketer's dream to create a viral sensation with a website, produce or service, generating an enormous amount of positive word-of-mouth and a slew of new customers. What most people don't understand is that viral marketing is more math than art.  As a marketing person I've found myself using my math minor more and more (not to mention my IT background) as the business becomes more about numbers and less about copy. Here's a quick primer on how marketers use K-factor to chase virality. In marketing, K-factor is the formula by which we can calculate the growth rate of just about anything. Roughly, it goes:
k = i * c
...where k (K-Factor, or virality) equals the number of invites to a product, website, etc. (i) sent by customers resulting in conversion (c is the percentage rate of the invites' conversion).

Apple faced an uphill battle marketing with the Apple Watch. Wearable consumer tech is still a relatively new phenomenon, at least where typical apple-watch-vogue-ad_6114-970x647-csmartphone functions are concerned. Other leaders like LG actually released their own smart watches before Apple even started promoting theirs. Marketers puzzled over the initially slow and pace of the Apple Watch marketing campaign, but Apple may just have been living by the maxim “slow and steady wins the race.” The tremendous patience and control with which Apple introduced its Apple Watch to the world is a big reason Apple Watch is our IMC Campaign of the Month. While LG, Samsung and other competitors hit the ground running with typical multi-channel campaigns to reach the widest possible (yet still viable) audience, Apple held off, teasing the world first with a 12 page ad in Vogue magazine. One very specific audience: fashionistas. Marketers started buzzing about why Apple was marketing the Apple Watch specifically to women. The fact that the highest end Apple Watch costs $17,000 might have something to do with the choice of outlet – people reading 12 page Apple ads alongside stories about Manolo Blahnik or Valentino probably don’t blush at high ticket items. But not all readers of Vogue are able to afford the things they read about in the magazine – many read about them and dream big, yet unattainable dreams. With the Apple Watch’s least expensive version costing just $350, suddenly a sexy, highly fashionable, highly valued item becomes much more affordable for the average consumer. A series of cover photographs of popular models wearing the Smart Watch cemented its image as functional fashion. When a trend is sparked with fashionistas, it becomes visible just about everywhere – from the arms of celebrities to the arms of fashion bloggers. Before you know it, everybody wants one.

PEMCO may not be the best known insurance agency in the country. In fact, it's a local outfit in the Northwest, ranked 6th in consumer awareness behind giants like Geico and Allstate. But with a keen understanding of their ideal buyer, a bright idea and a clever deployment of integrated marketing communications, PEMCO put themselves on the map at a time when even the biggest brands scramble for their share of the spotlight. PEMCO went viral just before the Super Bowl XLVIII. For many years now, PEMCO has shown a remarkable grasp on the personalities of their buyers, right down to idiosyncratic quirks that make Pacific Northwesterners memorable and in regional esteem, lovable. In 2007 they launched a lighthearted campaign centered around the many personas found in the Northwest, to such widespread success that consumers suggested their own ideas for characters with distinctly local flavor. It's therefore no surprise that PEMCO was aware its audience is passionate about football, or more specifically, the Seattle Seahawks. As we've discussed before, "thou shalt know thine audience" is one of the core commandments of IMC.

4332095101_0b429f0a4b_o By Dina Ely I recently had the “pleasure” of having to update approximately 60 business local listings for a client across the Google and Yahoo local business networks, and what I experienced working with both companies on this was an eye-opener. In the end, I think I've figured out why Google will always trump Yahoo, and how out of touch Yahoo is with the needs of small and medium businesses. (Marissa Mayer, take note - there are a few things I think you've forgotten since the Google days.) For this grand adventure I worked in the dashboards of both sites as well as extensively on the phone with support. Let me compare and contrast the overall experience and discuss a few takeaways. Yahoo Both Google and Yahoo play an important role in local search (as do a few other players – but that's another post for another time). Google is used more by customers in local searches, but to ignore Yahoo altogether would be foolhardy. Especially since Yahoo, like Google, offers free business listings. What they also offer, and pretty much give you no choice but to use, is a variety of subscription-based services including Localworks, which starts at $29.99/month per listing. Here's where I hit my first road block. In order to do anything substantial with these 60 some odd listings, I really had no choice but to pay for a Localworks package just to get a fully-featured version of the marketing dashboard. If you try to go the free route, the tools available to you are minimal and it's virtually impossible to do anything on the kind of scale I needed. I claimed and prepared to edit every outdated listing, but everything came to a grinding halt when I hit the log jam of verification postcards. (This will come up with Google too, in just a minute.)

Starbucks Integrated Marketing CommunicationsFew brands have truly harnessed the power of integrated marketing communications as well as Starbucks. They embraced the concept of integrated and multi-channel marketing techniques well before most other brands, recognizing early on the value of, for example, a direct mail campaign that's supported by e-mail and echoed in social media. When it comes to the holistic picture of integrated marketing communications, Starbucks continues to blaze a trail that other big brands – and small businesses alike – should carefully examine. The foundation of Starbucks' strength in IMC is twofold: consistent branding and consistent customer recognition. Visually, the Starbucks brand is undeniable. Travel to any major city around the world, and quite a few less major ones, and you'll see the familiar Starbucks face peering at you from coffee cups held by passersby. You'll identify a place to get the coffee you love in an airport, or wandering down some strange new street. There are other brands for which this phenomenon also occurs – like McDonald's – but whereas the reaction fast food creates can be mixed (especially when the restaurants are very close to historic or religious landmarks, which seems tacky), the concept of a soothing cup of coffee or cooling Frappucino is almost universally well received. Starbucks is also meticulous about getting to know their customers, and maintaining long-term relationships. They've always understood the value of perks like birthday gifts, delivered via postal mail to customers like an actual present. And they have a website dedicated entirely to customer feedback. My Starbucks Idea brings together a global community of Starbucks lovers. Customer ideas can be voted upon by others and the company provides feedback. Some ideas have even been implemented. At this time, 214,553 ideas are cataloged on the site. My Starbucks Idea is powered by Salesforce, so there is a huge CRM component behind it.

One of the greatest examples of integrated marketing communications is a plan so seamless and flawlessly executed that it deserves a place in the hall of fame for a completely immersive experience that didn't even feel like marketing. Who will ever forget the Smell like a Man, Man campaign , AKA “Old Spice Man?” This particular IMC campaign heavily integrated advertising with content and social media marketing. Combining television ads with wildly viral video and above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty social media engagement, Old Spice plucked the memorable, tongue-in-cheek character of Old Spice Man, initially portrayed by Isaiah Mustafa, straight from television screens across the country and deposited him on YouTube. This was the start of pure magic. It all started with a 30 second ad spot that was widely run and exceptionally well received. Realizing the potential reach and cost effectiveness of YouTube, particularly when marketing to a younger generation (the target demographic for their line of body washes – who were already being assailed regularly with memorable ads from brands like Axe), the Old Spice team uploaded additional videos in the campaign series online. Fans of the character could see him in action far beyond the reaches of their TV screens. As interest in the character and the ads became clear, Old Spice released additional television commercials. These were supported with continued YouTube content, one of the first and certainly most spectacular examples of how video on TV and video online can work perfectly together. But Old Spice had the smarts to not just upload ads, but to pay attention to what people were saying to the character in tweets and video responses. They added the perfect twist that accelerated results astronomically.