Author: Bonnie Harris

InstagramWe are constantly bombarded with images. TV advertisements, social media content, email messages or print articles—we're constantly having words and images thrown at us. But using the right images on the right platform can help your visual marketing strategy work.

Fast Facts

If you aren't using visual content consider this:
  • According to WishPond, 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the human brain than text.
  • WishPond studies have shown that posts with visuals have 94 percent more page visits than those which don’t.
  • Studies conducted in June of 2014 have shown that 23 percent of young people cite Instagram as their favorite social media platform, according to AdWeek.
  • There are 300 million accounts on the photo sharing app, according to Instagram.

Getting Started

[caption id="attachment_6353" align="alignright" width="300"] Headwaters Relief in Colorado.[/caption] As I wrote last week, IMC is not easy. It's definitely a case of progress, never perfection. And yet nonprofits seem to have grasped many of the components of integrated marketing and are running with it. I thought that was worth a little bit more analysis to see why that would be true. 1. Nonprofits understand the buying behavior of their target audience. Face it, trying to get money out of people for charity is really, really hard. It takes a great deal of understanding of your audience in terms of what pulls at their heart strings. (As marketers, isn't that what we're all trying to do?) Good nonprofits know the basic messages that appeal to their targets, how they get their information and how best to influence those decisions via the use of media placements, email, social media and other channels. The Red Cross does this better than anyone else. Sign up for their email newsletter and experience them leading you by the nose through their IMC channels. Brilliant, really. 2. Nonprofits usually don't have money to burn. Unless you were lucky enough to work on one of the .orgs spawned by the Big Tobacco settlements, for the most part a nonprofit marketer is working on a tiny budget. This breeds creativity and that's what IMC is all about. Nonprofits jumped on the social media bandwagon (and other brand new bandwagons) as soon as they could.

integrated marketing communicationsIMC is a complicated beast. After working on integrated marketing communications strategies for several years I still feel as if each new campaign is like a new romance novel, with unusual plot twists and surprise endings. Although a lot of people say they're doing IMC, unfortunately most supposedly integrated campaigns are not really integrated in the true sense of the word. The AMA defines IMC as “a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.” The key words here are ALL, RELEVANT and CONSISTENT. We're all working on a continuum, gradually adding capability and components as we learn what mix works best for our brands. Making sure EVERY touchpoint is consistent with the other, and relevant to the message is nearly impossible in this fragmented communications world. So to borrow a phrase from a well-known 12-step group, it's about progress, not perfection. HOWEVER. And here comes the big BUT. I'm afraid there are a lot of people trying to catch the wave of IMC that have no idea what they're doing. It's really appalling and you need to make sure you're not falling into the trap of a consultant who claims to make IMC "easy." To help you with these hucksters, and to help you grade your own work, here are 5 ways to know if your campaign is truly integrated: 1. You've articulated strategies that align with overall measurable goals.  

shutterstock_160911893A study by Deloitte found that omnichannel customers spend three to four times more on purchases than other shoppers. But what exactly does that mean? Omnichannel reflects the choice customers have and how they engage with brands from mobile to social to brick and mortar locations. But the real secret behind omnichannel success seems to lie in how to connect the various channels. Simply offering a mobile app isn’t enough. Here’s some ways retailers can pose their channels for optimum consumer success.

Mobile

Ignoring the mobile shopping revolution could cost retailers billions. More customers are skipping the lines at the stores and opting to make their purchases on their smartphones and tablets. In 2013, sales on mobile devices and tablets increased 70 percent. That percentage accounts for $42.13 billion in sales, according to eMarketer. But embracing mobile in an omnichannel world isn’t just about making purchases and checking for sales. Retailers like Best Buy offer mobile apps where shoppers can scan products while shopping in store. Macy's is also rolling out self-checkout options in their handbag departments with touchscreen shopping options.

By Nick Rojas The name of the game in today’s marketing is personalization. Interactions with modern audiences are more successful and meaningful when they are personalized across multiple channels. This has become increasingly important in recent years, as 94% of companies say that personalization is a vital component of their success. 2All businesses and revenue models can be influenced by personalization. One important thing that changes with personalization is content. We live in a multi-screen world where 90% of the media interactions today are screen-based. Content needs to be multi-channel and adaptive to meet these modern needs. Why does content need to be adaptive? Context and personalization are crucial to success in a multi-screen, multi-channel world. Content needs to changed based on where the user is, who they are, and what they are doing. Customer expectations for businesses evolve as new technologies become more commonplace and available to the average consumer. They rely heavily on mobile devices to aid in their decision-making process - in fact, 48% of shoppers want to be able to use their phones while shopping. Adaptive content allows brands to meet customer needs as they evolve, and many of these needs relate to the growing popularity and adoption of mobile devices and technology.

Okay, in this task you PULL IT ALL TOGETHER! If you're like me, you probably have a bunch of Word docs scattered - or one that looks like a mess. Or you printed it out and it's covered in handwritten notes. Or maybe you're bloody perfect and it's all written out neatly already. If that is the case, the rest of us hate you and you're done for today. If not, it's time to get your document together. This might take you today and tomorrow, so don't sweat it. Tomorrow's task is REALLY easy. Here is the outline with the information you should have by now: 1. End Goal - This is the sentence where you write in quantifiable terms what you'll achieve in 2015. For most of you, this will be a sales figure. 2. Measurement - How will you measure this, and how often? Again, a sentence or two will suffice. 

First of all, let me say that there are a bajillion pictures of mad scientists out there on the net. This one was my favorite by far. 2015 marketing plan   And why, do you ask, do I need a photo of a mad scientist in the 2015 Marketing Plan? Here is where we begin to think about how we'll test the efficacy of our marketing programs. For most entrepreneurs and small businesses - well, for most people really - we mainly just look at sales. Did we sell more or didn't we? If you wait that long until you review your results you could be dead in the water. Waiting until the end game means that you hold your breath, click your heels three times and hope your marketing works by looking at your numbers every three months or so. Yeah, that's pretty stupid...and why most people hate marketing. Instead you've got to test your results - and you have to test at the tactic level. And in order to do that, you have to decide if the tactic has contributed to the strategy. You've done enough work now to know that your strategies are pretty solid. So here is where you put the guarantee into your marketing plan. Take the 2014 tactics you want to keep - and you know they're good because a) they contribute to a chosen strategy and b) they were effective (3 or more). Add the new tactics you've chosen. And then write down how you'll know if they worked and when you'll check. Here are our tactic examples again, with the test criteria added. What you're really measuring here are the conversions that lead you to your best customer and ultimately to more sales -