As we've reported before, online and offline marketing integration is one of the hottest topics in B-to-B marketing today. Unfortunately it's also one of the least-easy things to accomplish, especially since often emarketing departments are separated from "regular" marketing departments on both the client and agency sides.
Here are some tips from experts:
1. Tell Your Agency You Want Them to Integrate
Agencies are struggling with integration as much as you are, so they can use encouragement from your side. Let them know that you want to see media plans and marketing strategies that include both offline and online media. Tell them what's important is achieving your sales and branding objective -- by whatever means works best. The channel isn't important, the results are.
Paul Marobella, Chief Relationship Officer at Greco Ethridge Group, says, "I don't talk about online or offline anymore. I put it all in the bucket of lead generation."
Sometimes this integrated approach will mean your agency will have to bring in outside partners to create one unified campaign; and, sometimes they'll need to reorganize internally. If you let them know this is mission critical for you, it will happen.
2. Add C-Level Branding Campaigns to Your Mix
These days everyone's focusing on lead generation campaigns, and the Internet is often the most cost effective means of producing hot, qualified leads. However, don't let marketing ROI pressure stop you from adding a branding component to your campaign mix.
Don Carlin, COO at Pro Media Inc., says that, while lead generation campaigns do a great job gathering names of corporate committee members who influence, specify and recommend many buying decisions, often a C-level (CEO, COO, etc.) executive makes the final call. And that decision-maker may be influenced by brand name above all other concerns, simply because they haven't had the time to spend in committee meetings and educational surfing.
So, a branding campaign consisting of sponsorships of both print and electronic media that C-level execs read is your best bet. Carlin notes, "Yes Internet advertising is fast to create and place, but don't forget your long-term brand build. A three-month outlook is just too short for any type of brand advertising -- online or off."
3. How Much to Spend Branding Online
Philip Mowris, President of The Mowris Group, recommends research. If you are considering an online branding campaign, first ask your agency to find out how much money's already being spent by competitors in your category doing branding online. Then look at your own budget to see what percent of that overall ad spend could be yours.
This will quickly tell you whether you could own a marketplace, or whether you're simply a small voice trying to out-shout much bigger ones. No matter what, it will give you an idea of what your expectations should realistically be in terms of the impact your budget can have on a marketplace.
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