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Published: March 20, 2012 at 04:10 PM GMT
Last Updated: March 19, 2012 at 04:10 PM GMT
As social media has earned a steady place in marketers' budgets and plans – considered standard rather than experimental – we see a particular trend with our clients. Not only is social always a part of the mix, it is now more than ever the spark that brings the whole mix to life. A marketing plan may not be entirely social – but beginning with a creative idea or concept, social becomes the glue, time and time again. Today, social very much leads all our marketing efforts.
Social and the Creative Concept
Integrated marketing and media strategy always begins with a discussion of the audience, the target, the consumer and what a day in his or her life looks like. Marketing and agency teams have been doing this on conference room whiteboards around the world for years – often dubbing it the "Day in the Life" exercise. Updated to reflect current channels, platforms and vehicles, this remains a vital part of the planning process.
To delve more deeply, during this step, good planning teams take a look at how and where the audience spends their time, how they use and engage with media, their touch points, and their mindset – and begin to paint a picture. Even if you don't have extensive primary research on hand, you can at least develop insights that will drive your future choices. For us, at Women's Marketing Inc., the next step, based on these insights, is to come up with a creative idea or thematic. It is from there, that we plot our activation.
Once we have our creative theme – not necessarily a visual design – but the core concept to which we will apply our imagination, we can start making choices and socializing our concept. With our consumer insights and concept in hand, we start choosing which channels and platforms we will use: Digital, Outdoor, TV; Social, Display, Search – and so on. Then, thinking about the likely mindset of our audience in each of these, we visualize how the concept plays out with creative and mechanically, across the mix. Almost every time, today, it is social behaviors – storytelling, posting, creating, curating, sharing – that tie it all together. Let's look at some examples of how we socialized a marketing and media execution to create engagement around a consumer product.
Social Unites Awareness and Performance
Today, we often see marketers striving to accomplish both brand awareness and some type of consumer activity or conversion. It's become more common and possible to use highly creative, socially led strategies to achieve dual objectives of branding and performance, all at once. We have embraced this trend at Women's Marketing.
It used to be that a brand's main destination online was their public website domain. As marketers have moved away from single-platform content and experiences – more of them are situating their brands within social environments to drive a whole new type of relationship with consumers. This represents a great integrated opportunity.
For example, last year, one of our CPG brands – a new body wash product – jumped right into social marketing from the get-go, by establishing Facebook as their main consumer hub. It is there that they housed all their downloadable offers, content and sweepstakes entry options. For them, it all started there with this array of very hands-on, tactile consumer engagements. So, as this hub was established and creatively developed – we drove to it from consumer targeted display advertising on MOG, Tremor and Sugar and other types of digital media. The integrated media mix all drove and funneled consumers to this social engagement hub.
In a short period of time, this orchestrated launch and push, engaged over 1.2 million consumers in the sweepstakes and generated six consecutive weeks of +100% sales lift. The brand also increased the number of brand fans from 3,000 to 35,000+ in just 10 weeks. These metrics reflect achievement on brand awareness and direct-response – a success story that was doubly gratifying.
We also look to our work with StriVectin – who recently executed a re-launch of one of their collections entirely around a Facebook application. This tech-based, socially led approach is certainly considered a new tack for a beauty commerce brand.
For this re-launch, we developed a two-pronged approach, first including a digital media campaign for awareness and driving traffic to StriVectin.com to learn more. At the same time, to foster engagement, consumers were directed to a virtual anti-aging tool, a Facebook application that could instantly show users the result of the StriVectin formulations on their own faces. Additionally, we executed re-marketing to target consumers who came and went, to come back to purchase. It worked.
In the end, the branding impact was obvious – with those display banners delivering a click through rate (not a metric but certainly an indicator) eight times the industry average. Conversions increased exponentially – and Facebook "likes" absolutely boomed – with the application prompting 32,000 of them.
When it comes to these executions, the specifics don't matter as much as the marketing principle. What these brands did and achieved illustrates the trend: more brands are socializing a core creative concept or theme and sparking it through multiple platforms. It's just a matter of sitting down with your team at the outset and together – finding your spark and then determining how to socialize it.
Bonnie Kintzer is Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Marketing Inc. the authority on how women consume media. Women’s Marketing Inc. services more than 300 clients in the beauty, fashion and health space by delivering the best integrated advertising solutions in digital, print and out-of-home. Bonnie has built a distinguished career in the media world with a strong focus on revenue creation and reengineering. Bonnie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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