Monday, 7 July 2008

Integrated Marketing Communications

I have always been a fan of integrated marketing and the joined up approach, and have seen as a marketer and customer the benefits of a joined up consistent message.

It is all about delivery of a cohesive message across all sales and marketing media, rather than them operating on there own. Having this consistent message enables the marketing campaigns to work harder towards a common set of measurable results.

It is surprising through that many industry leaders are not following this practice. I have just Googled a few companies who have an obvious strapline – finding out that these straplines are not presented to me in paid or natural search ads, sometimes the message isn’t even present on the main website home page. Strange !

I just Googled Halifax – they have another repetitive ad on the TV at the moment all using their common term “Extra”.

Good news is that they are following the practice as shown in search in their natural and paid search ad – both of which mention – “extra”. Great. See below:

Halifax Online Banking - UK Banks, Finance, Personal, Telephone ...Halifax Online Bank UK - Our online banking service always giving you extra with your finance and money - mortgages, savings, current accounts, credit cards ...

Unfortunate news is that the strap line isn’t doing them much favours, with people in forums and review sites using the “Who gives you extra” term – as a way to highlight what they believe to be their limitations. Should Halifax read this then suggest that they should put the story straight on these forums, it can only build trust in the long term with the current or ex customer and potential prospects finding your response.

The negative feedback on these review sites is a good example of why you should give consideration to your multi channel behaviour of your customers. For example, it is estimated that a finance customer will touch 14 sites before committing to registering with a new finance product, it is also likely that they will visit the comparison and review sites for advice before this commitment (especially with Credit cards).

Putting a positive spin is that the ads that Halifax produced, have gone Viral, with Howard (from the ads) receiving his own fan base. However how many You Tube video pass ons will lead to a new customer is limited. You Tube.

Another good example of integrated message is:

Car insurance and home insurance - Sheilas' WheelsSheilas' Wheels - Cheaper car insurance and home insurance online for women.

On arriving a their site – the heavily advertised on TV “Car insurance for women” product, is more prominent than what they also offer (home insurance) – even the Get Quote sign is bigger. They have given consideration to their brand name and that most people will arrive looking for the ‘car insurance’. Also as they have stuck to the name and not advertised “we have the best deals ever” they have (maybe without thought) stopped the possible critique in forums.

I came across quite a good process for measuring and thinking about customer behaviour in a multi channel environment from the book Web Analytics and hour a day by Avinash Kaushik, 2007. The diagram which can be also found in a section called non line here: It’s a flash site ! So quite contradictory as this section 'non line' which I wanted to find, will not appear in search, spiders have trouble reading flash.

Below paragraph explains the diagram quite clearly taken from Avinash’s book as quoted above:

“The diagram provides a simple representation of customer behaviour on two different channels. The physical acts are different but it is essentially the same process of moving from research to selection to qualification to purchase”.

The diagram highlights how customers move at their own pace across on and offline mediums before making their decision. The process can work for both services and products, it is one that I will be revisiting again, when highlighting the importance of the intergrated message, so thanks to David Hughes of Non Line Markeing for producing and apologies for the ‘quite contradictory’ point, but it is true.

As I find good examples of the integrated message, will revisit and post them here.

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