One of the key challenges that marketers are facing nowadays is how to develop efficient advertising strategies which deliver a seamless brand experience for their consumers. Ashley Friedlein of Econsultancy has predicted that ‘focus’ will be the main priority for businesses and their marketing output this year to achieve streamlined success. Furthermore, The Chartered Institute of Marketing has stated that 20% of businesses have made customer experience their top priority for 2017.
Fragmented omni-channel campaigns can create a disconnect within your brand identity and confuse the core message you’re trying to convey. For example, imagine you’re shopping for a laptop and have a specific model in mind. The sales assistant tells you that the laptop you’ve chosen is black, the box says it’s white but you read online that it was silver. Confusing, right? And would you part with your money without being 100% sure what you’re getting? Probably not.
This is how non-integrated campaigns can appear to consumers: each channel is saying something slightly different and, even though those differences might not be immediately crucial – the laptop will work the same whether it’s silver or black – incoherence reduces trust and overall brand resonance. For example, a Harris Interactive survey recently ascertained that 63% of consumers who have a bad mobile experience with a company will also have a negative impression of its website, stores and brand in general.
Therefore, integrated marketing campaigns are imperative for creating the most positive customer journeys possible. They have never been more important than today, when consumers are reaching huge numbers of touch-points before making a purchase, as demonstrated below.
Customer Journey Mapping: Consumers reach several brand touch-points on their journey to purchase and loyalty. (Source: Ricoh)
Having individual, isolated touch-points is no longer an option: you have to create a brand journey. According to McKinsey & Company, ‘delivering a distinctive journey experience makes it more likely that customers repeat a purchase, spend more, recommend to their friends and stay with your company’, as the graphic below shows.
Touch-points vs. Journeys: Consumers are more willing to recommend brands after experiencing a brand journey than they are after just one touch-point in these 4 key industries. (Source: McKinsey & Company)
So, how do we as marketers create these integrated journeys? Simple: we collaborate. Here at Red Hot Penny we have seen that, by bringing departments together to work on overarching projects for our clients, our output has become clearer and more focused. More of our clients have been approaching us for these types of campaigns too and this is something RHP have noticed a trend in.
Rosie Vero, Creative Content Account Manager, said:
“Brands are beginning to get comfortable with the idea of SEO and content marketing, but too often we see little to no collaboration with the PR and outreach department. The result is separate, uncoordinated marketing campaigns, a disjointed customer journey and a wealth of missed opportunities.
For example, a PR department might invest heavily in an impressive press launch event, but the content team won’t be involved. There must be shared goals based on a defined customer sentiment to drive teams to work together and boost overall results. Our in-house digital PR team understands the benefits of running integrated campaigns, which is a huge benefit.”
One key advantage to a collaborative approach is communication: we’re all in the same office so we can work together quickly and efficiently to get suggestions and project updates and implement coherent strategies. Communication is also hugely important to tracking, analysing and optimising – otherwise known as marketing operations (see diagram below). We can collectively analyse the whole customer journey and ensure that each channel is working effectively with the others and reassess the entire strategy if it’s not.
The Key Aspects of Marketing Operations. (Source: McKinsey & Company)
Another benefit is that we’re all working towards the same goal; the client’s. Paul Rouke of PRWD explains that, when a multi-disciplinary team has the same objectives, they’re not competing for budget, resources or credit and can therefore focus on producing the best work.
Client side, the need for higher levels of integration across platforms is evident. Research conducted by Salesforce and LinkedIn established that 86% of senior marketers believe it is highly important to have a ‘cohesive customer journey’. However, this research also found that only ‘56% of enterprise companies have a customer journey strategy’, while Loudhouse discovered that 59% of organisations feel that they are too late in optimising their digital experience compared with their competitors.
New technology such as 360º video, live streaming and virtual reality combined with the rise in one-to-one, highly-personalised marketing and ad blocking present significant challenges. But, these are also opportunities for clients and agencies to work together on integrated strategies. No matter how technologically advanced a business is, there is always scope to create meaningful brand experiences. For example, PR and Social & Content can combine their efforts to enhance a brand’s native advertising output which is crucial to combat the negative effects of ad blockers. Furthermore, creative content teams can work with paid media teams to create engaging Facebook, Instagram and YouTube ads which maximise the content’s reach and therefore enhance the brand’s equity gains, while competing with more high-tech offerings.
The strategies mentioned above are just a handful of the huge number of ways that clients can use digital marketing agencies to align their brand image, objectives and advertising output to avoid consumer confusion and disjointed brand experiences. In short, the only tools you need to create streamlined customer journeys are a clear message, effective communication within your team and the willingness to collaborate.
David Schulhof, Digital Marketing Director, said:
“At RHP, we put a focus on working cohesively to produce an end-to-end service for our clients. In today’s marketing landscape, it is vital to create a consistent and strong campaign for brands and this requires communication. Having multiple disciplines under one roof including: SEO, PPC, Content Creation and Outreach Management, combined with our strong working relationships prevents potential project setbacks and puts the client at the centre of all our aims.”
Please get in touch to find out more about the services we offer.