Why Integrated Marketing Communications Is More Important Than Ever
I just may be the world's biggest integrated marketing communications proponent. For years I have preached the need and importance for delivering an integrated message to consumers across all channels in a given brand's arsenal.
I have scribed numerous columns including one of my most popular pieces entitled Integrated Marketing Communications - Then And Now which makes reference to my apparent obsession with marketing integration. And if you think I am exaggerating when it comes to my use of the word "obsession" consider the fact that I once compared integrated marketing to Schoolhouse Rock.
So it should be quite obvious that when it comes to the integrating of marketing channels, I am not only on board, I may very well be the captain of the ship, or at the very least, first mate.
Over the past few weeks I have seen two different examples to help augment and justify my preoccupation and belief in always presenting and delivering a cross-channel message to consumers.
The examples I refer to actually speak directly to the demographic many retailers and brands often seek for their own: Millennials and each come courtesy of MarketingCharts.com.
First, on September 3rd was this headline: Millennials Still Spend the Vast Majority of Their Retail Dollars In-Store. The article made reference to a study done by The NPD Group and features the eye-opening statistic: 81% of Millennials spend their hard-earned money in a brick-and-mortar store when it comes to their retail consumption.
The second example came a few weeks later on September 13th: Millennials’ Top Source of Coupons and Deals? The Newspaper.
'What's this?' I wondered aloud. 'Arguably the most digitally-savvy demographic on the planet prefers old school marketing methods and communications? That can't be right, can it?'
Not only is it right it speaks to the aforementioned point of the importance of an integrated marketing communications strategy.
Of course Millennials are arguably the most-digitally savvy demographic on the planet and as such they consume massive amounts of content via their smartphone, tablet, PC and so on. That's not up for discussion.
What is up for discussion is the fact that retail marketers and ALL marketers for that matter best not make the mistake of assuming that just because someone falls into a certain demographic - in this case Millennials, that they are not drawn to nor seek out what is considered to be more traditional marketing methods and platforms.
Yes, I am quite certain that every Millennial who walks into a retail store is loaded for bear with apps at the ready to get the latest and greatest deals. However, what are you doing Mr. and Mrs. Retailer when it comes to things like in-store signage? Or your staff for that matter? Are they properly trained?
Yes these same Millennials will have their collective faces buried in their mobile device of choice while they are perusing your store but they are in your store and NOT online sitting in front of a screen. They are coming in for a reason as opposed to making their purchase online.
It's your job to know the answer to that question and react and adjust accordingly.
As for the topic of newspapers, in their press release announcing the findings of their survey referenced on MarketingCharts.com, Valassis - who conducted the survey, wrote "With newspaper as their number one source for coupons and deals, these promotion-sensitive millennials are getting their savings the same way as all other consumers across age groups and income levels."
Now this does not mean retailers should forgo digital coupons for the printed variety. On the contrary, as the study also revealed that 27 % of millennials indicated they are using more mobile coupons compared to 17% of the overall findings.
What it does mean, however, is that marketers cannot make assumptions based solely on age/demographics. Think about it. If someone had asked you if Millennials prefer to shop in-store and use newspaper coupons, what would your answer have been? It probably would have been along the lines of "Heck no, these are the younger demo, they don't care about old-school stuff like that."
It also means that testing is in order to see if their particular audience does in fact use old-school newspaper coupons vs. those of the digital variety or vice-versa and react and adjust accordingly.
Notice I refrained from using the cliche "never assume" analogy?
Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a senior creative content strategist at Responsys, a leading marketing cloud software and services company, and a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing. He can be reached via Twitter, LinkedIn or See complete profile
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