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Integrated marketing. Is it time for traditional and digital to join forces? InPharm Digital Guide June 2012

Digital marketing has been around for a while. Most organisations have dabbled with ecommunications and some have ‘dipped their toe' further into the digital pool with social media and other online activity but not many have truly embraced it as a whole marketing media.

With any new media you get the innovators and early adopters (aka the geeks) who relish anything new and exciting and do something, anything, just because they can. The majority of us (and let's be honest here) sit back, watch the geeks make the mistakes, assess the impact of integration (and then wait a bit longer) before we decide to leave it where it is … for now.

Occasionally, these innovators and early adopters aren't even marketeers. They could be a variety of people from across an organisation who decided that, because it wasn't being done anywhere else, it was ok for them to have a go themselves. Often social media sites are set up by IT or HR departments and SEO (search engine optimisation) could sit in multitude of departments. So when is it appropriate to bring these together and fully integrate them into your marketing?

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is defined as information that is delivered and/or presented via electronic technology and as such there is a broad range of electronic and online media and platforms that make up the digital marketing family. Ecommunications and websites are the most well-known with social media and SEO becoming increasingly popular. Then you have platforms such as Apps and eDetails (interactive online presentations) that are starting to make an appearance in some marketing plans.

The beauty of online and digital marketing is that it can be much more interactive and responsive. Almost instantly you can see the impact of your campaign and engage with the recipient if required. It is also more measurable which allows you to get a better feel for your return on investment and fine-tune future campaigns if necessary.

Traditional marketing including offline advertising, direct mail, sales and print has a slower response time and is often difficult to measure effectively. However, it is much more tangible and therefore has the benefit of longevity and reinforcement.

Why integrate the two?

Both disciplines have a well-earned place in the marketing plan. Often though they are separated out in the marketing team (or wider), with different people being responsible for them individually. However, combining the two on each campaign can maximise the impact of your marketing communications.

Research* has shown that 62% of online campaigns see an increased return on investment (ROI) when combined with offline campaigns. When receiving a direct mail piece, about 50% of recipients prefer to respond online with approximately 25% only prepared to respond online.

Why have two marketing budgets, two marketing plans and two marketing teams - when one integrated approach delivers the best results?

Tips for integrating traditional and digital marketing

  • Ask yourself "where does digital marketing sit in my organisation?” Take stock of the digital media and platforms that are available to you and take control. Make sure your marketeers understand both disciplines. When integrating traditional, offline marketing with digital, online marketing you need to ensure that your messages are clear and consistent
  • When including a call to action in your traditional marketing, drive people to respond online, either to your website registration page where you can capture their details or to one of your social media sites where they can ‘like' and/or share your information with other potential customers
  • Measure activity and interaction by campaign specific landing pages. Hubs (content rich areas), either on your own website or a specialist partner site, make excellent landing pages. Taking advantage of relevant, expert content on someone else's site and their audience (especially if it's membership-based) can increase interaction as well as leading people back to your own web or social media site (which of course helps with your organic SEO)
  • If you have an eDetail, podcast or a microsite that you are trying to get people to view and interact with, use a combination of direct mail and ecommunications to drive traffic to it. Ecommunications encourage an instant interaction whereas direct mail can increase interaction over time. Make a clear visual connection between the two channels
  • If you outsource your marketing, use a reputable organisation that offers both traditional and digital marketing services. They will have a better understanding on how to integrate the two disciplines to ensure you deliver the best results for your campaign
  • Use QR (Quick Response) codes in your traditional marketing (adverts or on literature). These barcodes can be easily scanned by a QR code reader, available on most smartphones, and take you direct to a webpage or to iTunes to download your App!
  • Think outside of your traditional markets - you can reach a wider audience with digital media. Who else could influence the purchase of the products and services you offer? Develop Apps and build microsites containing useful information and tools. You can promote yourselves indirectly and build influential communities through digital platforms.

Digital marketing isn't a fad, it's here to stay so you need to embrace it fully and make it an integral part of your marketing plans.

Digital media and platforms will continue to evolve so make sure you're not one of the few laggards who will still be wondering what all the fuss is about in a few years.

* MarketPath

Press contact:
Marketing Department E: T: 01268 495600

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