20 May Build your toolkit of linked tactics
You may or may not have heard the term “linked tactics.” I consider it so important that I’m going to devote the next couple blog posts to it. First I’ll explain it. Then we’ll talk about how to derive your set of linked tactics, and how to build your IMC toolkit. Then we’ll talk about how to measure those tactics and keep the momentum going.
First, what do I mean by linked tactics ? Marketing people argue about the real power behind the results we see in integrated marketing. Personally, I think linked tactics are the heart of IMC. At a minimum they provide the fuel that accelerates IMC campaigns way past their traditional counterparts. When you link tactics, they become much more powerful than merely executing components in a silo’d fashion. When planned well, the synergy between a set of two or more tactics boosts the results of a campaign astronomically. It’s a simple idea – but like so many simple things, it’s not so easy to implement.
Why so hard? Because every brand has a unique set of linked tactics. People always ask me whether there are pairs, or groups of tactics that ALWAYS work together. There are a few. Radio and social media seem to work well together in most cases. Billboards and online marketing also seems to play well together. (In fact, for local marketing billboards almost always boost the performance of a campaign.) But the timing of those tactics, and the messaging strategies are still different for every brand. Part of the reason for this is that customer behavior is so different depending on what they’re purchasing. They move through the buying cycle in a different way depending on the price point and a million other variables. Companies like Warby Parker have achieved incredible results because they were able to understand this behavior – really it’s the rhythm of the customer experience – and link tactics that are synchronized with their unique buyers rhythms.
Bottom line, as marketers we should be building our basic toolkit. Many of the same linked tactics will work for common customer personas and industries. But they still need to be fine-tuned for every campaign. The good news is that if you’re consciously doing this, you will get better and faster at it with every project.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is they neglect to consider linking traditional and online tactics, and as I mentioned before, these have some of the best results I’ve seen. Don’t just rely on hashtags either. You need to have adaptive messaging that can translate from channel to channel, increase the familiarity of your brand across mediums and boost results. (For a great Q&A on adaptive messaging, visit the Content Kings blog here. )
The other good news is that almost everyone is already linking tactics. It’s just that they’re not doing it mindfully, or with a nose for timing. If you’re writing blog posts, it’s likely you’re posting them on Twitter or LinkedIn. In this case, you’re linking those tactics. But what about adding something to that combination to see if it makes the reach grow even faster? Maybe you add your blog URL to your email signature. Watch to see if this additional tactic improves your reads. You can brainstorm endless combinations of tactics to link, and sometimes you can link as many as 5 or 6 with astounding results.
We’ll talk about how to create these sets of linked tactics next, and how to measure them. For today, think about the tactics you already link in your daily work. And write them down. See…you’re already building a toolkit.