Photo credit (above): Steve Jurvetson | Flickr
A role for integrated marketing
Alan Stevens, a media coach guru, is a sought-after international speaker with much experience under his belt.
He was part of the first group of 21 speakers to receive the CSP Global (Certified Speaking Professional, Global) designation, a coveted designation created for the global conference industry for speakers who have proven mastery of the core global speaking competencies, and received favourable reviews by clients and peers alike.
Stevens is also an author, PR expert, media commentator and a regular conference host in the United Kingdom and international events across a range of disciplines.
His clients include high-profile individuals and reputable companies.
In a recent interview, I had the opportunity to ask Stevens a few questions.
What is integrated marketing, and why is it important for organisations?
I define integrated marketing as a marketing campaign which delivers a single core message, using both traditional and social media.
First, you need a message. The art of good marketing is to be able to convey the right one, in the right way, at the right time, to the right audience. The essence of a message is always the precise detail we wish to impart.
So, how do you create this core message for your integrated marketing campaign?
Here is a checklist of the most important elements:
Identify the single most important idea
People remember very little of what they see or hear. The most effective campaigns focus on the most important message that you wish to communicate, since that is what you want people to remember.
If you have several messages you want to deliver, save the less important ones for another time. One message that is remembered by your potential clients is worth dozens of half-remembered ones.
Keep it simple
Don’t use jargon, or industry-specific terms. It’s impossible to over-simplify a message, but easy to over-complicate one.
Make it memorable
We are besieged with messages every day, through radio and TV, advertisements, conversations and the like. Your job, when delivering your marketing message, is to make it something that people will remember.
Think of words and phrases that are a little unusual, or conjure up an image. If your message is seen as a picture, even if you are on the radio, it will be much more memorable.
Make it relevant
Put yourself in the shoes of your potential audience and think what they will find engaging. All you have to do then is to deliver what they want to see or hear.
Ask yourself ‘so what?’
Imagine yourself hearing your own core marketing message. If your immediate reaction is, “so what?” the message doesn’t work. You need to be able to capture the value to your audience in whatever you say.
If you want people to believe you, you have to be sincere. You have to really believe what you are saying. That is why it is very important for you, as a company spokesperson, to be involved in drafting the core message. It will be very difficult for you to recite words given to you if you are not fully confident that they represent your opinion.
In summary, your core marketing message needs to be simple, relevant, memorable, beneficial and of course, true.
In your opinion, what are the three most common mistakes organisations make when it comes to online and offline marketing?
1 Failing to understand the motivation of their customers. Research is vital, and is often not done thoroughly in the rush to get to market.
2 Confusing the message by making it too complex. Customers respond to simple, effective marketing messages, so the key is to deliver only one message in each campaign. Trying to deliver several messages will mean failing to deliver any at all.
3 Ignoring feedback. Your customers will tell you if your marketing campaign is working. You need to listen to what they say and take rapid action if necessary.
In the ‘war for talent’ companies need to improve their image and brand themselves as employer of choice. How can integrated marketing help an organisation in this regard?
A single message across all media helps potential employees to understand exactly what a company stands for. Increasingly, people are only willing to work for organisations that share their values, so it needs to be very obvious what a company represents, and how it operates.
What are three key things organisations need to do in order to create a strong and consistent brand to attract top talent?
1 Ensure that every member of the organisation, from top to bottom, understands and can talk about the values of the organisation – and that they feel those values are important.
2 Communicate the brand values as widely as possible at every opportunity. The most successful brands are ever-present, and everyone knows about them.
3 Fix any problems immediately and effectively. It’s been said that it takes years to build a brand, but it can be destroyed in a day. Companies must be vigilant at all times, since mistakes will happen. The best brands fix things before many people know they have gone wrong.
On a related note, individuals also need to improve their image and employability. How can integrated marketing help individuals in this regard?
Consistency of message applies not only to organisations, but also to individuals. There is a phrase, “How you do anything is how you do everything”.
In the age of social media, where our lives are more public than ever, the way we behave everywhere becomes visible to employers. Never publicise anything that would embarrass you in front of your boss.
Stevens will be coming to Kuala Lumpur this month for a speaking engagement. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch him in person. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
First published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 8 November 2014