Integrating Offline Media Into Your Online Promotional Strategy

One of the biggest opportunities and yet toughest challenges facing organizations is successfully leveraging the power of offline advertising with their existing online promotional strategy.

Even though print advertising no longer has the impact of 20 years ago, it by no means should be written out of your marketing mix.

In fact, a recent study by eMarketer, found that over 47% of survey respondents stated that magazines influenced them to start a search for merchandise online, beating out the response from email and blogs combined.

Benefits of Multi-channel Marketing

Multi-channel marketing helps build and extend the awareness of your brand, and provides additional opportunities that can actually boost the effectiveness of your existing online campaigns.

A well-implemented and integrated promotional effort allows you to:

  • Successfully deliver one consistent message to you target audience;
  • Repeat your marketing message across various channels in order to strengthen your brand awareness;
  • Have more opportunities to reach prospects and convert them into customers

Sounds like an obvious strategy to test, right? Well, like most other business strategies, the victories belong to those who can best execute. As General Patton once said, "Good tactics can save even the worst strategy. Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy."

The 7 Barriers to Successful Integrated Marketing

Here are the 7 leading organizational speed bumps that prevent successful adoption and execution of integrated multi-channel promotion:

  1. Lack of multi-disciplinary skill-sets (offline and online marketing) within the organization
  2. Lack of interdepartmental coordination if online and offline marketing responsibilities are spread among different departments
  3. Lack of agreed-upon campaign measurement methodologies
  4. Lack of proper campaign measurement tools
  5. Lack of time
  6. Pre-conceived biases ("This type of marketing has always worked for us . why take our marketing budget dollars away from a proven strategy"?)
  7. Company politics and different departmental agendas when offline and online marketing are spread among different departments.

Guidelines For Integrated Marketing

For organizations that can overcome the above barriers, here are some guidelines for capitalizing on an integrated plan:

  • Match your search marketing campaigns with your offline messaging by ensuring your PPC campaigns target the same words and terms used in your offline advertising.
  • Coordinate your integrated campaign schedules by developing a calendar of all offline promotions so that you can modify/expand your search campaigns at the appropriate time.
  • Use visitor and conversion data from your web analytics to help structure your offline campaigns for maximum effectiveness, by determining keywords and navigation behavior that most likely lead to conversions.
  • Always create distinct landing pages as targets for your offline promotions that enforce continuity in the message, offer and format to the printed piece. And be sure to use different URL's or coupon codes for each separate promotion so that accurate measurement and tracking will be in place.
  • Have systems in place to track orders/leads received via phone.

Measuring The Effectiveness of Your Campaigns

The core of any successfully integrated effort depends on accurate metrics-tracking and analysis of each campaign. At a minimum, you'll want to have your web analytics setup to analyze the following by campaign source:

  1. Customer acquisition costs (CPA)
  2. Revenues
    • For Ecommerce - revenues and average order value
    • For lead generation - number and quality of leads
    • Life time value of newly acquired customers including cross-sell and up-sell opportunities
    • Revenues or leads generated by offer, if testing different offers
  3. Effectiveness of each landing page in terms of the conversion and bounce rate

Click here to see a report from our Conversion Analyst web analytics tool showing conversion metrics by entry page URL. By utilizing unique URL strings for our landing pages, we can track metrics by campaign and determine which campaigns are delivering the best returns.

We can also drill down to the keyword level to discover those keywords that are most contributing to our campaigns success.

In our sample report, the highlighted line shows the activity generated from our email campaign promoting free shipping.

We can see that the email, which prompted readers to click on the free-shipping link, was our 8th most productive entry page, and generated 28 orders for us.

Since there's likely to be a "cross-pollination" effect among campaign sources, it's important for an organization to agree upon how conversions should be measured when the acquisition of a new customer was the result of exposure to multiple promotions.

While some companies will give credit to the promotional source that actually led to the conversion, other companies will instead compare the total return of the integrated promotional effort against that of the singular promotional effort.

Although measurement methods vary, the take-away here is to adopt one method and use it consistently in all of your tests.

The Bottom Line

Businesses often encounter logistical and organizational challenges when integrating offline and online channels in their promotional strategy. However, the potential added return in terms of branding and direct sales/leads should justify the planning and testing of these channels. Relying solely on one channel of promotion without testing other channels could result in missed opportunities for a competitive advantage.

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