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Brand Thinking Blog
Posted on July 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm
You will learn:
1. Why a website alone is NOT a web presence.
2. How to connect your website, blog, social network, search strategy and more.
3. How to begin to layer digital into your client and prospect relationships.
A marketing communications plan is akin to a constellation: Dozens of tactics in a synchronized orbit around your brand. Elements of this constellation include all tactics in your marketing plan: Your website (a major planet in your constellation), journal ads, white papers, etc. Your clients interact with each of the tactics, and one of the keys to success is to orchestrate and extend that interaction utilizing elements within the constellation.
How to create an integrated online/offline campaign
The marketing constellation has recently seen a digital explosion—it’s changed every part of how we communicate: How often we reach out (more frequently), what we communicate (message length is getting shorter, and the penned letter is very nearly extinct), when we communicate (we’re more mobile and not constrained by being in a physical office to conduct business), and with whom we communicate (our reach is far broader and more diverse than in the past). This digital supernova has resulted in a number of new elements that are now equally weighted parts of your brand constellation: Blogs, relevant online social networks, web widgets, search queries, wikis and the like. But it’s not just technology for technology’s sake: These new elements are an integral part of your new marcom constellation and help you to amplify and tune your brand message to the right audience. New digital tools allow you to tune your message to the right frequency for your clients and make your existing investments (in content and marketing efforts) work harder for you. Online tactics are also highly measurable: You can instantly assess the effectiveness of a campaign, the pull-through of a tactic and the importance of the content—no more black holes.
This fundamental shift in the nature of communications has been felt most by consumers (as evidenced by our juggling several email addresses, reading newspaper headlines on our Blackberries, finding long-lost classmates via Facebook, etc.) but the professional space has also shifted. We know that buyers of professional services (these are your clients and prospects) go online in droves (71–90 percent) to research firms, and 53 percent of them will put a firm on their short-list based on the website.
Developing digital relationships
The other fundamental shift that digital tactics enable is the shift from marketing as a monologue to a dialogue. Gone are the days of the passive consumer or client. Now prospective clients can actively seek and vet your firm in a few clicks—and if they cannot interact with you as easily via the channels they are already in, then you will lose them. It is no longer enough to simply put up a website—a website alone is not a web presence—and your clients expect you to be present and to engage with you. For example, a site does not encourage interaction with any of the information within it. A blog, however, can hold the same information and encourage feedback, interaction and further communication. Both have a place within your constellation of marcom tactics, and both should be integrated with all of the other elements in that constellation.
This new paradigm in marketing enables you to create a surround-sound effect for your prospective and current clients. Communications no longer need to be one-way or dead-ends. They can invite people into a conversation and then extend that relationship over time. Digital tactics such as blogs, relevant online social networks, wikis and the like offer you channels to extend the reach of your other marketing efforts—all without the need to create new content. Such tactics are also extremely cost effective and can be targeted to your key constituencies. For example, digital channels such as email, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs (both your own and by writing as a guest blogger) can be orchestrated to augment and extend the marketing support for a major industry event or conference both leading up to and after the event. Furthermore, digital tactics have a “long tail” effect after events because they add and update content to your site (thus boosting your visibility to search engines) and naturally extend the conversation with relevant audiences over time.
The goal is to turn these digital dots into relationships with prospects and existing and former clients. Doing so requires a strategy and coordination that integrates marketing efforts across channels to offer a cohesive and comprehensive face of your brand. When coordinated, your investment works harder for you across more channels.
Download your copy of Digital Marketing 2010, our latest research on Finding and Choosing Professionals on the Web.
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