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Nov 08, 2004

Q&A With Motorola's Global Web Marketer on Viral Campaigns, Search, & Online/Offline Integration

SUMMARY: When Benjamin Hill joined Motorola as Senior Director of Global Marketing two years ago, the company didn't view the Internet as a marketing vehicle to support offline sales. Well, now they've certainly reversed that position! In our interview, Hill reveals the top five lessons he's learned about integrated offline/online marketing along the way:
Two years ago, Motorola's consumer marketing efforts didn't include a significant online aspect. "The Web team members were not members of the marketing team," says Benjamin Hill, Senior Director of Global Marketing. "The Web team was primarily focused on commerce and the marketing team was focused on building brand awareness."

But then Motorola management got Internet religion and Hill was asked to come on board. In a Q&A session with MarketingSherpa editors, he revealed his top five lessons learned so far:

-> Lesson #1. Bring offline elements to viral campaigns

"Traditional viral campaigns tend to be just online," says Hill. But by allowing consumers to actually experience your brand -- whether that's through kiosks, events, or at the retail level -- a viral campaign can be even more effective.

In March, for example, Motorola became involved in the M3 music event in Miami. They worked with a creative agency to create an interactive experience called the MOTOGLYPH, a booth that allowed people to compose their own musical drawing using an electronic "spray paint" which they applied to a screen. The movement generated not only an image, but also a sound clip that was dependent on the physical movement.

The MOTOGLYPH solution printed out a ticket that included a confirmation number. When users entered the number into a custom Web site, they could download the image they had created as wallpaper for their phone, and download the sound they had created as a ringtone. They could also forward the image and ringtone to friends.

"The people who are at an event have an experience. They can share it with people who weren't there; it's a different kind of viral campaign," Hill explains.

-> Lesson #2. Don't forget search engine indexing

The Web team has gone far down the path of tying the Web sites to the brand campaigns. But in the actual operationalizing of that, says Hill, "We had hindered the ability of the search engines to accurately index us."

So many different groups owned different pieces of the Web, and "Almost all local or regional markets had an in-market rationale for why you had to do something from a brand perspective," he explains. "But it was hurting us in terms of search engine optimization." For example, URL redirects were causing our search index rankings to drop. We were doing all this for branding purposes, and it was killing our rankings. We hadn't designed site structure and URLs in terms of search engines."

It's now a matter of going back to the drawing board to correct the indexing so search engines will find the site, he says.

-> Lesson #3. Importance of internal integration

When launching a new product or re-branding effort, "we form a 360-degree team," says Hill. "The team includes advertising, PR, interactive, retail, promotions, and their creative agencies -- in essence, "all the members of everything in terms of go-to-market," he says. "Then, we work together to come up with a 360-degree program brief: how will we support the hottest new phone that we have?"

The team agrees on the creative idea and the marketing goals, and a point person is assigned to lead and manage the project.

The team meets physically as often as needed to ensure that all aspects are pulled together, review creative, revisit approaches, etc., because the longer you go between meetings, the more opportunity you have to pull away from the common understanding of the project, he says.

-> Lesson #4. Importance of online/offline integration

In the past, marketers spent much time trying to prove that the Internet made up a valuable part of the marketing mix. Then viral campaigns that took place mostly online hit the scene, and marketers were thrilled to have a way to reach a wide audience without spending the big bucks for an offline campaign.

Now, Hill reminds marketers that integrated campaigns still have the best reach and effectiveness.

As an example, he mentions a 360-degree marketing campaign that launched a new Motorola product: the launch included PR, advertorials, TV advertising, buzz marketing/street teams, an internal campaign to educate the company, kiosks in stores, a big launch event, and an SMS and Web component.

"It was oriented around the product, and everything drove to the Web site," Hill says. He wasn't able to give us exact figures, but for comparison purposes: "Let's say the number on consumers visiting our site for this campaign was in the 10 million range and the number of registered visitors was in the half a million range."

A launch of the same product in a different market included only email marketing, light online marketing, and search engine marketing. "No buzz campaign, no street teams, no huge launch event, same products," Hill says.

On that launch, visitors and registrations were about 1/10 of the other market, even when common-sizing for market size and Internet population.

"So even though we were making available the same tools like email and SMS, it didn't have anywhere near the impact," Hill says. It may be common sense, but the sweet spot for Motorola has been the combination of online and offline.

-> Lesson #5. Traditional marketers can learn from the Web marketers...

Net marketers have spent years playing catch-up, trying to translate what they knew of offline marketing to online. Now, says Hill, it's time for offline marketers to learn from the Internet guys.

"The things we're learning from the Internet in terms of interactive marketing are crossing over into other things, like kiosk experiences, event experiences, promotional experiences, retail experiences," he says.

For companies more familiar with the Internet from a commerce perspective, they can learn a lot from the Internet marketer. "Take the best aspects of the Internet as a medium and try to extend it into other areas," he says.

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