IMC Tag

PRSA ICON is an appropriate name for what has become a truly iconic event in the world of communications. For the past four years, I’ve had the honor of presenting integrated marketing concepts at the conference. Each year, I’m amazed at how rapidly communicators are embracing integration and using it to their best advantage. This year’s presentation covers a bit of theory along with some pragmatic tips. In this post, I’ll cover some of the points I'll be making here in Austin today. Here's a link to the slideshare version of the presentation as well. Some people ask me why learn integration? Frankly, I think communicators need at least an awareness of integrated marketing concepts to remain relevant. Beyond that, using an integrated mindset creates more influence for the communications department within the organization while also providing a broader toolkit for the communicator themselves. Finally, making the jump (which really won’t be a jump soon once the silos start breaking down) into a marketing leadership position can’t be done without a strong knowledge of integrated marketing. Many of us aren’t working at a strategic level yet – so how do we introduce integration into our own work?  Basically, integration doesn’t happen without alignment. I think about alignment in three ways: the message, the method and the measurements. 

Online dating sites cater to every age and income bracket. For many years, niche online dating sites specially catered only to ethnic and religious groups. But today there are sites for every kind of single person. Online dating sites use many integrated marketing tools and techniques to get visitors to the critical point where they feel it's worthwhile to join. The tools they use and the messaging that drives their marketing depend heavily on the audience they hope to reach. When Jerry Miller launched the FarmersOnly.com dating website in 2005, he filled a niche for people to connect to others in similar circumstances. Farmers, ranchers, and people who live in the relative isolation of small towns can browse hundreds of profiles of people just like themselves. FarmersOnly.com  has quickly carved out a unique place in an overpopulated online dating market. Miller was working in agricultural marketing and heard the same story from many farmers: Dating was tough. Nobody else understood the relentless hours and how everybody knows everybody in their small rural communities. If they didn’t marry their high school sweethearts, they had a serious problem. So he started FarmersOnly, where over 4 million people have created profiles  in the hopes of harvesting a relationship.

B2B brandInstagram is growing and shows no sign of slowing down. There are currently over 400 million users and it’s expected to increase 15% this year, far ahead of any other social media platform. If you're a B2B brand, you might be wondering if this could be your next big customer acquisition channel? Maybe, but only if you approach it in the right manner. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, it makes more sense to take a strategic approach.

1. Understand Instagram’s Demographics

Irrespective of its increasing popularity, Instagram is an effective social media platform only if its demographics match that of your customer. According to Pew Research, Instagram is extremely popular among 18 to 29-year-olds, with 53% using the platform. Instagram reveals that 75% of its user base exists outside the U.S, with half of the last 100 million users coming from Europe and Asia. If this group makes up a small percentage of your total customers, there is still a silver lining. Your audience may be small, but it will be highly engaged. Trackmaven found that Instagram provides 20 times more engagement than LinkedIn, the standard B2B social media platform.

2. Determine Your B2B Brand Key Performance Indicators

Establishing a key performance indicator (KPI) verifies your level of success in marketing on Instagram. A KPI brings objectivity to your efforts and helps ascertain the effectiveness of your endeavours. Examples of KPIs include number of followers, engagement rate, and traffic to your website. Which KPIs you choose will be a function of your marketing objective. B2B marketing efforts are typically focused on generating quality leads and getting sales. Since sales can’t be made directly from within Instagram, it’s imperative that your Instagram audience finds their way to your website landing page. If this is the goal, there are some characteristics of Instagram of which you should be aware.

3.Work Within The Limitations of Instagram

Instagram is a platform made for socializing through the sharing of pictures. It wasn’t made specifically for B2B brand marketers. Except for paid advertising, images that are shared don’t contain links. The only way for an Instagram user to get to your site is via a link in your bio. Consequently, your profile should be treated as more of a mini landing page, with a strong call-to-action. Some posts should encourage your audience to click on that link in your profile, to help drive traffic back to your site. Paid advertising is another option worth considering as a call-to-action is allowed within the ad.

4. Extend Your Content Marketing Efforts

Instagram is a unique social media channel with its own customs and conventions. As such, your content marketing efforts must extend to incorporate the individuality of this platform. Images rule when it comes to Instagram, and this can pose a challenge for many B2B marketers. Here are a few ideas to help keep your stream interesting:
  • Provide a behind-the-scenes view. Showcase what you do by using a quality educational image, thoughtful caption and a great filter to make that picture pop.
  • Use video. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth? Instagram now allows videos up to 1 minute in length, so you can even demo your product or service. Alternatively, you can repurpose your YouTube channel content by providing small snippets on Instagram.

Lego Marvel AvengersEven for the biggest brands, launching a new video game can be a significant challenge. In a market where any game competes against thousands of other titles, many with long life cycles, it’s tough to get consumers’ attention – and money. And this is not a new phenomenon. As the popularity of video games has risen over the past 40 years, so have the number of titles available at any given time. Recently, one particular marketing and advertising campaign for Lego Marvel Avengers stood out among the rest as an excellent example of integrated marketing communications at work. The game’s success earns it one more accolade, our IMC Campaign of the Month. Lego Marvel Avengers was released on January 26, 2016 by TT Games. TT Games was careful to coincide its television advertising with cartoons that targeted the key demographic – primarily younger consumers who have both an interest in Lego toys and superheroes. Cartoons presented a perfect vehicle to hitch to Lego Marvel Avengers ads. With compelling previews of game play and live action shots from the latest Avengers movie, the television spots had kids eagerly awaiting the release of the game in January.

Grumpy Cat memeWhen it comes to the Internet, cute critters like Grumpy Cat and Boo the Pomeranian reign supreme. It's not just the adorable factor that gets the attention - and money - of legions of fans. Behind Grumpy and Boo are clever, well-orchestrated IMC campaigns that have propelled them beyond the fame of memes and viral videos to global stardom resulting in books, calendars, stuffed toys and most important, revenue.  Most Internet-famous pets come from humble beginnings, like an unassuming YouTube video, a #CatsOfInstagram Instagram account or a casual Facebook post. Some enjoy 15 minutes of fame and fade into the scenery. Others enjoy long-term success, but only with help from marketing and communications tactics. Here are the IMC secrets that have kept both Grumpy and Boo top of mind in this cluttered pet market. 1. Traditional public relations coupled with social media. Grumpy Cat would not be the sensation she is without an incredibly strong social media presence, coupled with enough PR savvy to launch a media tour including office visits at outlets like Buzzfeed. Not long after she gained popularity online, she was front page news in The Wall Street Journal and New York magazine. She's also been a star on the stage of major events like SXSW, reminding us that being "on the ground" is still an important part of the mix. Boo the Pomeranian, aka "The Cutest Dog in the World," is another great example of IMC in action. 2. Product associations.

Pumpkin spice is big business. The first reference to what we now know as "pumpkin spice" can be traced back to 1796. That's the year Amelia Simmons published American Cookery, often regarded as the nation's first cookbook. In it she includes a recipe for "pompkin pudding," a pie made with stewed pumpkin and spiced with ginger and nutmeg. It represents a sense of goodness, natural abundance and old values that people think are good. Which is why pumpkin spice lattes bring equal parts devotion and disdain. More importantly pumpkin spice delivers a powerful marketing punch every fall.  According to Nielsen sales of pumpkin-infused foods and drinks are up 79 percent since 2011. It's now a $361 million dollar business. Social media intelligence technology provider Infegy even released a report that uses social media data to explain the widespread success behind this bestselling seasonal flavor options and explains how it can be used to better understand consumers, brand loyalty, purchase intent and more. The pumpkin spice latte now means more than coffee spiked with pumpkin and cinnamon. What started as a drink has now come to represent a certain fall-centric lifestyle thanks to IMC heavyweight Starbucks.