Integrated Marketing

Is your Marketing The Beach Boys or The Four Seasons?

integrated marketing, harmonization, collaborationWhen we talk integrated marketing, we’re really talking about harmonization. And if there’s a lesson to be learned from the varied vocal styles of two of the greatest quartets of all time, this synchronization can be created in a number of different ways.

 

Take the Beach Boys—they used the similarities in their three or four part harmonies to seamlessly blend into a rich, full sound—kind of like the sum of the parts becoming greater than the whole—which keeps you humming long after it has stopped playing.

 

The Four Seasons, on the other hand, were masters at pulling together disparate vocal pieces into one utterly engaging melody, with Frankie Valli’s falsetto delivering that unforgettable punch, making sure Sherry Baby is on your lips for hours to come.

 

So, which is your marketing program more tuned to?

Is there one consistent element that carries throughout every piece of collateral, on your website, even down to your eblasts? This common thread could be visual in nature or could be a tagline, or maybe a stylized logo supporting your company’s overall objectives. Something that when people see it they know who it’s from.

 

Or is it more a collaboration of different elements that support a larger message (think Geico here)? The elements don’t need to be exactly the same—stuffed into the confines of one graphical treatment or a key phrase that doesn’t exactly fit a datasheet the same way it does an ad—but they work together and still support the main objective.

 

Regardless of how it is done, it’s integrated, and as we’ve learned from music icons of the past, harmony in your marketing program can work different ways and still be music to our customers’ ears.

 

And if you’re thinking, “Hey, what about the Beatles? They did harmony, too!”…well, let’s save them for a post on taking the world by storm…in relation to integrated marketing, of course.

Today’s Push/Pull Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be a Tug-o-War

Business men pulling ropeThe Internet has brought the term ‘savvy consumer’ to a whole new level, especially in the realm of product marketing.

 

Today’s B2B audiences are real-time researchers with the ability to quickly ascertain data on a product as well as a company to make very informed decisions based on:

 

-Comparative data (think side-by-side datasheets from you and your competitor)

-Community insight (such as online reviews and comments in user forums)

-Corporate support (when others within an organization back a decision)

 

Traditional B2B marketing has always employed a hybrid ‘Push/Pull’ strategy that integrates the needs and requirements of an end user with the objectives of a company.  But in today’s digital world, where fragmentation has split once-broad audiences into very niche communities, some marketers may be struggling with getting a firm grip on the rope.  Smart marketers will recognize that the larger change is in the overall messaging, with only tweaks needed to the tactics themselves.

 

The anchor position:  The web makes it easy to consume content, but can also make gathering information an overwhelming proposition.  To get it right, keep your message clear and focused on how you benefitting the user.

 
The muscle: Users now chose the environment in which they obtain information.  There is something to be said for strength in numbers, so make sure you deliver your message throughout multiple channels (analog & digital) to ensure you’re hitting your audience at the appropriate stage and within the correct medium.  A modern B2B marketing strategy not only uses the familiar tactics where audiences consume information—company website, trade publications, eblasts–but also areas where engagement and communities are growing, such as LinkedIn or Pinterest, which are currently building out some good marketing avenues.

 

Today’s Push/Pull marketing doesn’t need to keep the tension on the rope.  To fully integrate this B2B marketing strategy, alter your messaging to match what your audience is looking for—make it concise and informative.

 

Then, look at the different channels your audiences are using to obtain their information and start to bring your messaging to them through those channels.

Maintaining the Brand…in Good Times and Bad

Aries Electronics: a Marketing Communications Success Story

Frank Folmsbee, Aries Electronics

Frank Folmsbee, Aries Electronics

Aries Electronics does a lot of things very well.  One is the way they design and manufacture interconnect components and assemblies for the electronic original equipment manufacturers market.  Another is the way they market their products and technologies. Adhering to an age old, time-proven adage, and guided by their close and long-term relationship with The Simon Group, they do it with consistency…in good times and bad.  And, as a result, have had very few “bad years”…even during economic downturns, such as the last one.

Aries was founded in 1972 by Bill Sinclair who remains at the company’s helm today, both as chief executive officer and chief new product designer.  The company has had only two marcom agencies in its 41-year history. Aries reluctantly moved on from its first agency, recognizing that they had outgrown what that agency could provide.  Several of the area’s leading media reps had talked to The Simon Group about Aries…and  to Aries about The Simon Group.  And, in 1991, Aries president Bill Sinclair and sales and marketing manager Frank Folmsbee made a visit to The Simon Group farmhouse.  The rest, as they say, is history.  We’ll let Frank tell the story…

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Evolving Your Marketing Plan

Savvy marketing plans are custom and continually evolving

By Dave Lesser – President


My two daughters, now 22 and 19, are so different, you wonder if they were born on the same planet, never mind in the same family. My wife and I learned pretty quickly that a good approach for one was not necessarily good for the other.

The same holds true for every company’s marketing plan. Each is unique, so why wouldn’t you create an integrated marketing communications plan customized to match your products, markets and objectives?

One mistake we, as an agency, see over and over again when it comes to marketing communications is that people like to stick within their comfort zone, unwilling to deviate from the tactics that may have worked before.

Of course, there are many timeless marketing principles that will hold true regardless of the delivery method, but try getting a publication to provide you with bingo card leads on pre-printed labels…

Sure, I could lament about feeling old…but I like to look at it in a different light. This evolution keeps us marketing folks (now there’s a dated term) on our toes and on the lookout for new ways to promote our clients’ products.

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Using Social Media to Enhance B2B Communications

The proliferation of social media has finally infiltrated the world of B2B and you know what, it’s not as bad as we thought it would be. I used to think social media and B2B were like the sun and the moon…never the two shall meet.

But, leave it to the web to once again alter the landscape and shake the tree of traditional marketing.  Just as the proliferation of email and websites started to fragment the way in which we could talk to an audience, RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook and even the blogosphere are providing new ways to talk with those people who are interested in our clients’ products and technologies, and actually engage them in the process.

Isn’t social media for business really just customer relationship management (CRM) on steroids? It does have applicability and gives companies direct feedback from the audience they most want to reach—people looking to buy a product or service. Imagine the impact of harnessing that firsthand input and applying it to product development to meet market needs!

The good news is that even though the pie keeps getting sliced into more pieces, there’s still enough pie to go around.  The bad news is keeping up with it all can be mind boggling.  An easy way to start is to apply these new social media tactics to one aspect of your campaign and grow it from there.  We tend to get our clients’ feet wet by first integrating social media with our PR program.  From there, once you’re familiar with the lay of the land, the process just snowballs and pretty soon, social media has become an integrated, and valuable, part of your marcom program.

So, next time you get friended or someone asks for your Twitter name, remember this is the environment your customers are operating in.  Like it or not (but we’ve come to like it), social media is enhancing B2B communications.

Read the post “Mixing in Social Media” for more info.

Data on the Value of Marketing through Economic Downturn!

By Marty Simon – CEO

The marketing communications business has seen a lot of business cycles come and go in the last 40 years…even a few recessions. Through it all, we’ve seen that clients who remained aggressive in their marcom efforts during downturns come back stronger and faster than those who cut back on marcom expenses.

We used to think this was only anecdotal based on our clients’ experiences. But it’s really much more than that. Research over the years has proven precisely what we’ve observed.

A few weeks ago a summary of research in just this area landed in our email. It tracked four recessions since 1970 and the impact that marcom expenditures had during those downturns. It showed the same trends for the country as we saw in our clients: those who maintained or increased marcom budgets during the recessions fared far better than those who trimmed their marcom costs.

If you think about it, it just makes sense…you get a bigger bang for your marcom buck because your competition is cutting back and you’re not. That’s a simplified view for sure, but it seems to be the essence of the strategy! The research is everywhere…search your favorite marketing resource or view the studies we read at www.gtms-inc.com and www.americanbusinessmedia.com.

Thanks to Go-to-Market Strategies and American Business Media for this valuable research!

Gaining Ground During Unstable Times

Nissen Isakov - President of LCR ElectronicsBy: Nissen Isakov, President, LCR Electronics, Norristown, PA

Building a company requires knowledge of several business sectors, from design and development to production and customer service. One important aspect is all too often left at the end of the to-do list: marketing efforts. Creating products, incorporating the latest technologies into them and offering supporting services always comes first, but the next step is letting your customers, and potential customers, be aware that these items are available from your company

Once you have in place the right products, services and infrastructure to support them, you have to get the word out. Establishing a marketing plan is a comprehensive way to ensure the right people know about your business.

For years we performed in-house marketing: print ads, online ads, website management. We thought we were handling ourselves fairly well, never thinking that as a small business we could afford the services of an outside agency. Although the company has had a history of steady growth, with the downturn in the economy, we realized that we needed the help of a professional marketing company. It was a natural part of moving our business forward.

After reviewing and interviewing multiple agencies, The Simon Group sold us on one main point: they knew our products, our markets, our industry. We knew the only way to move into the future effectively and efficiently with a new marketing agency was by working with a group of people already well established in our target markets. And of course, their great personalities helped, too.

Immediately, The Simon Group proved how well an integrated marcom plan can work. We graduated from an internal plan narrowly focused on advertising and website management to one that also included an extensive public relations (PR) program, greater emphasis on our website, tactical print and online advertising with The Simon Group’s Strategic Marketing and Planning (SMAP™) Program, direct mail and continued support and research in all areas of marketing.

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