Channel Integration: Offline Media in a Digital Age
Multi-channel strategies offer marketers multiple routes to consumers. The creation of a compelling case for service/product purchases deliver segments of information that reinforce brand identity. Yet often, through segmented approaches to online and offline marketing activities, we are left with disjointed messaging, diluted brand equity, and diminished marketing efficiency.
The marketing ‘rule of 7’ states that on average, consumers need to be exposed to a message seven times before purchasing. Through gathering information from various channels on a brand, integrated messages converge into a compelling case for purchase. With cross-channel consistency, messages are more impactful with an increased probability of conversion – since we all know marketing is not just about brand synergy but improving ROI.
Ideally, all marketing activities would be housed under one function, to align channels, messages and brand identity. Yet this structure is flawed in practicality and market competitiveness demands specialism and the deployment of a marketer’s specific skills.
5 simple steps to channel integration
Combine visual messages
In simple terms, the online newsletter, should match the theme of the marketing brochure, and social media banners should reflect these themes as well. To create an impactful message, online and offline channels need to hold the same visual cues to ensure a holistic brand identity across channels.
Point channels to each other
Whether you utilise newspaper advertisement, social media, or marketing brochures, all channels should encourage the reader to visit the company website. Promoting a singular point of reference across channels should be at the forefront of brand integration, to ensure that all consumers can make contact.
Synchronize offline activity and online targeting
In comparison, online channels are permitted more space than offline. Offline channels, i.e. newspaper/magazine/television advertisements can be costly. Rather than expanding the space or time-frame, you can link the advert to an online campaign through hashtags and website links that drive your brand to online communities that can open the floor for conversations around your brand and ad campaign and increase your overall ROI.
Simply, you are expanding your offline message in the online world, leading readers into a wider discussion with higher levels of engagement. Ensuring unity in brand messaging entails that consumers do not make purchase decisions based on a single advertisement, therefore, no single channel rules can apply as you grow your multi-channel strategy.
Similar to matching themes across all channels, using keywords that appear in ad campaigns on the company website, or through your own SEO initiatives can enable campaign integration and drive traffic to the website. Again, matching these efforts, helps build the building blocks to your brand, whilst aligning with technical movements within the marketing space.
Integrating your marketing efforts with digital marketing, and ensuring your branding is search engine friendly, by utilising effective keywords and driving selected ad campaigns that capitalise on hot keywords for your sector can increase your website’s traffic and online visibility.
Think strategy, not channels
Successful channel integration requires a developed strategy, that includes a brand manual. Prescribing the tone of voice, images, and messaging for marketing activities delivers strong guidelines that encompass brand and campaign level activities that ensures themes are carried across both online and offline channels.
As both are simply just mediums of communication, the objective of marketing strategy is to combine multi-channel routes to market and provide a strong brand identity for consumers. To deliver a coherent, consistent, and compelling message that influences a person's decision-making process, marketers will do well to create an all-encompassing strategy, rather than singularly channel focused.