C is for…joined-up marketing excellence

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Our friends at Econsultancy have been running a blogging competition calling for contributions around the subject of joined-up marketing and PR. So, we thought it was a great opportunity to jot down a few of our thoughts on the matter. Very quickly a pattern emerged or, more accurately, a letter. The letter C…

C is for… Customer

It’s vital to understand that while joined-up marketing is about bringing channels together, the real focus needs to be on the customer. That is to say, it’s only by understanding your customers properly and the way they react that you can align your channels effectively and balance their different roles within your marketing strategy.

For example, in the retail sector, it might be as simple as understanding that the use of video on your website will generally increase conversions, by as much as 134% in the case of eBags, or for Zappos between 6-30 %. However, such content won’t be appropriate for all channels and again it comes down to understanding what the customer expects – or wants.

It’s all about another C: context. By being contextually aware, you ensure that the right content shows up in the right locations, presented in the right format to the right customer. This way, you can contextualise centralised content for maximum effectiveness across various channels, meeting the very specific needs of individual customers. Having a ‘joined up’ view is therefore going to be incredibly beneficial.

C is for… Content

This C is often described as a K – content is king! You need to think very carefully about how your content is going to be used in different places and on different channels. Can you reuse content in different ways to get maximum benefit? Customisation is another key C in this area and one which is relatively simple once you incorporate the right tools. Customising or personalising your content will help you engage with visitors, no matter what the channel. Information, content and stories have to flow across platforms – described as Transmedia storytelling by Henrik Jenkins.

Taking the idea a step further, content also has to also be tailored for factors like search and locality. By being creative and clever with content, businesses can cultivate a truly captivating joined-up strategy. Creating compelling content is key to capturing audience attention.

C is for… Community

In the last few years, the world has woken up to the fact that customers are social creatures. Concentrating on a coherent multi-channel community strategy can create extra stickiness and act as a gel that joins channels together. This will become an increasingly important element of a joined-up marketing strategy as firms continue to see the value communities can bring in enabling an understanding their customers and their identity across various touchpoints.

The biggest question when it comes to community is whether it’s better to create your own and gain the extra opportunities from such control or try to unite the disparate networks already out there. Ultimately, there are many factors that to be considered depending on the nature of your organisation, so it’s worth spending time to choose the right approach; a joined-up viewpoint will certainly help.

If you have a brand which truly engages with target audiences by creating and taking control of an arena where people can interact, there are few more powerful techniques for growing an maintaining relationships for mutual benefit. Have a look at this post for some more advice on how you can build a social website that invites participation by publicly sharing thoughts, feedback, opinions, links and content.

C is for… Conversion

This may seem like a simple one but actually the lessons to be learnt from ecommerce can be applied even to those businesses without a clear transaction point. The important element to remember here is to establish points of conversion that can be measured across channels.

These conversions could be donations, sales, downloads or whatever is applicable to your business. Either way, without goals, there can’t be measurability and without measurability, there can be no learning and improvement of performance. It also makes it very difficult to assess at a strategic level which channels are proving more effective. Having a central conversion metric that spans your joined-up strategy also makes it easier to measure and manage the role of each channel through a shared currency and objective.

C is for… Communication

Act smart rather than loud. Co-ordination and communication between channels is another way to make sure they’re truly joined-up and co-operative. Adapting the communication to the audience through personalisation helps to increase engagement. Another element of communication is to ensure those responsible for each area are in touch with each other and provide constant feedback in order to try to keep everything moving in the same direction.

As you can C (see!), there’s a lot to bear in mind but ultimately, we see it as a matter of ‘keep up or get left behind’. Joined-up marketing is the future but it’s also a very real possibility today. Next time you’re working on co-ordinating your efforts, keep in mind the letter C, it might just show you the way forward…

This post is part of the #JUMPchallenge, a blogging competition designed to raise awareness of how to join up online and offline marketing, launched to support Econsultancy's JUMP event.

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