If there is one thing that I am learning at the InterACT! Conference this week it is you really do need to keep to the marketing principles you understand and follow them throughout all of your marketing. There is such a proliferation of new media that it’s causing major changes in how companies communicate and this impacts where they place their marketing dollars. One trillion text messages were sent in 2009 and the volume is growing each month. No small change in how people communicate.
Many of the conference presenters have urged several key points to both brand owners and brand marketing firms:
1. Innovation should drive strategy. Sounds obvious, right? But slide after slide showed companies using new media without a strategy and experiencing dismal results. Simply doing something with a social media does not a campaign make!
2. Digital is innovation. And I would add that brings disruption to most businesses. To balance innovation with disruption takes someone at the helm who can maintain a strong brand strategy predicated on customers’ interests and use the correct media mix to deliver the most message impact.
3. Create marketing that makes people think, not just react to a product pitch.
4. Always be creative. This can take many forms, including funny, serious, factual and whimsical. No one solution fits all, which is what makes creativity so amazing.
A great campaign I saw was from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas. The organization and its agency, Meers Advertising, started with understanding the problem. Their target age demographic of 19 to 39 year olds didn’t believe in health care and didn’t want to talk to anyone about it. So the insurer started with radio stations and DJs and paid them to talk about why health care was either important to them or to their listeners.
The company handed out a text code which when entered provided a URL that brought the user to a unique website page. There the customer could fill out their age, gender, etc. and receive an instant text quote along with an 800 telephone number to call to ask questions. The campaign has been such a success it is now being rolled out to other Blue Plans in 16 markets.
This is a great example of how and why strategy should always come first. In the long run, your campaign will always mean more, impact more and ultimately sell more if there is a strong understanding of the customer’s needs and the campaign delivers the solutions they are looking for.
InterACT! is the first educational forum for marketers, brand owners and service providers on cross-media direct marketing opportunities and strategies organized by InfoTrends and North American Publishing Company (NAPCO) being held Aug 10-11, 2010 in Rosemont, IL.