How In-plants Can Use Cross Media
Cross media is essential these days for anyone trying to reach their target audience in a meaningful way. For in-plants, this may mean attracting the attention of your in-house clients, or helping your parent organization push its promotions to multiple channels.
Either way, a discussion of what cross media is, and how to use it effectively, can help you remain successful in today’s competitive environment. Read on to learn how to make cross media work for you:
What is Cross Media Marketing?
First, let’s define what we’re talking about. In a nutshell, cross media means spreading your message over several different channels and media types to increase your target audience’s awareness of your brand and products. Channels are different platforms you can use to communicate with your audience. Traditional channels include television, radio and print, while traditional media types include flyers, business reply cards, envelopes, postcards and newspapers. Today, they have been joined by a dizzying number of digital channels and media. Channels include social media, mobile apps, photo- and video-sharing sites (like Instagram and YouTube) and more; media types consist of websites, landing pages, photos, videos and the like.
Your direct mail campaigns also count as a channel; in fact, they can help make your cross-channel campaigns more effective (and vice versa).
So how can you use cross media in your in-plant?
How Does an In-plant Get Started?
Let’s look at an example to illustrate how cross media can help you, and give you some ideas on how to start incorporating it.
Let’s say University A is planning its annual alumni donation drive. Its two main goals are: increase donations and gather/update alumni email addresses. That second goal is important, because the school’s looking to cut postage costs by using more email in its fundraising efforts.
So you, the university’s trusty in-plant manager, come up with a plan. First, you’ll create a personalized postcard that offers a free gift (or makes some other compelling offer) in exchange for visiting the personalized URL printed on the card. You can even include a QR code (a square code that looks like a maze and can be scanned by smartphone apps and cameras) so they can visit their page without typing.
On their personalized page, you ask recipients to update their contact information, including those all-important email addresses. (You can make the email mandatory, or send their free gift information to encourage them to include it.) Then, send a thank-you email with information on how/when they’ll receive their gift.
You could also incorporate social media in a few different ways. First, you could include social media links on that direct mail piece, so alumni can “follow” the university on its social channels. Or, you could add buttons to the personal page so they can click to tweet or post to Facebook about their donation or your campaign.
This is just one example of how you can incorporate a cross media approach in your services.
What Channels Can I Choose From?
The list of channels available today can be overwhelming. Before we get into the different channels available, a word of advice: choose a few key channels that you think will work best for your target audience, and build on them as you go. Trying to blast your message to all channels at once can spread your message too thin, so it gets lost in the marketing chatter consumers face every day.
Here’s a brief breakdown of a few different types of channels you can use:
• Traditional/Offline: This includes direct mail, signage and billboards, television, radio and events. Just because all the cool kids are on social media these days doesn’t mean they’re not still consuming these traditional channels, so you shouldn’t drop them either.
• Social Media: It’s the 900-lb. gorilla in the room, so let’s talk about it next. Social media is so crucial because your audience is likely using it on a daily basis. Twitter has more than 300 million active monthly users, generating more than 500 million tweets every day. Facebook is the bigger of the two giants, with more than a billion active users. And those users are more than happy to interact with their favorite brands on social media; Coca Cola’s Facebook page has more than 92 million followers. Imagine having the ear of that many potential customers.
• Your website (preferably optimized for mobile): It may seem obvious, but your website is another marketing channel. Optimize it for mobile (meaning your site displays nicely on smartphones and tablets), and you’ve got two channels in one.
• Mobile: This includes mobile apps, which can take a number of different forms depending on your business and your customers’ needs.
Those are just a few of your choices; your final mix will depend on which channels your customers are likely to consume. More on that next.
How Can We Incorporate Cross Media Into Our Marketing Plan?
So you’re sold on cross media. Great! But … how do you get started? Probably the simplest way is to find places where you can incorporate it into your current marketing plan.
Sending a direct mail campaign? Use key elements from it on social media platforms, and allow customers to respond to the campaign via social channels. For example, you could run a contest, advertise it via direct mail and let customers tweet their entries on Twitter.
The most important thing to remember when using cross media is to keep your brand image consistent across channels. Use the same images, and adapt the same messages for different channels. You want your brand voice to sound the same no matter where your customers hear it.
Cross media marketing can be a powerful addition to your marketing toolkit. Keep your customers’ preferences and needs in mind, and your cross media campaign could give your profits—and brand image—a big boost.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of Mr. Foley and not necessarily those of Canon Solutions America.
Related story: Cross Media: A New Role for the In-plant
John Foley Jr. is the CEO of interlinkONE and Grow Socially. John and his team help printers get on a strong path to marketing success. Their approach includes software solutions, consulting, Website development, marketing audits, and strategic marketing plans. interlinkONE’s software solutions for the print industry include their marketing automation platform, MAX, and ilinkONE V8. Learn more about MAX: Marketing Automation. Executed. by visiting MarketWithMAX.com, John at JohnFoleyJr.com, and his companies at interlinkONE.com and GrowSocially.com.