Tuning In to the New Marketing Channels
With so many new channels for reaching consumers, knowing how to plan, execute and measure the effectiveness of your content and related distribution efforts is a daunting task. Research shows 73% of Americans now multi-task with more than one form of media at any given time in a day (according to AdWeek, tablets seem to be a new and large contributor to this trend) – the Internet itself is splintering into new channels that require permission based access to consumers and use of proprietary applications controlled by the platform creators. It’s hard to know how and when to tap into these channels or even to answer the seemingly simple question of “Why should we?”
In order to not only launch but also live campaigns effectively in today’s emerging channels, content marketers need to understand these three concepts to achieve a “mix” that will best reach and engage their customers.
1. Match your target customers with the existing audience of a channel. It’s pretty easy to get caught-up chasing the “it kid” channel to the expense of your budget and the rest of your marketing, so it’s important to also think in terms of relationships and profiles. For example, rather than just looking at LinkedIn as a growing channel to dive into, profiling the main users of this platform helps reveal that it’s most advantageous as a B2B marketing tool and falls short for B2C marketers because of its focus on professional, job-related content.
2. Always consider the inherent connection between developing content and, the greater challenge, driving visitors to it. Beyond just placing content in a channel, marketers how or why someone would find that content and engage with it. This is an additional hurdle when you consider that many of these new channels are “closed”, whether by permission-based network or by device-specific programs. For example, mobile applications are great opportunities to build controlled, branded engagement but they’re also dependent on the device and the “marketplace” for downloading them, which requires traditional media channels like email, banner ads or other direct marketing to engage users.
3. Remember prospects will take multiple paths to reach a conversion point - how will you track and attribute the success of each effort? Back to the concept of “launch it and live it” marketing, you have to consider that investing in a new channel will also require time to learn your customers’ preferences, present them with engaging content to match and then hit the all important tipping point of seeing return. Throughout this process, customers will most likely have traveled across multiple forms of media before finally hitting your own definition of a conversion. Imagine for a minute that any prospective customer might first read of your services in a magazine, then research you online, eventually join or “Like” your social network and interact on the go via a mobile device – when they finally pull the trigger on a purchase or other “customer” interaction, you'll want to be able to look back and attribute your efforts and spending in these different areas to that conversion.
Finally, in addition to choosing channels, identifying customer profiles and measuring across platforms, marketers can’t lose sight of the need to push content across the multi-channel mix they’ve developed. From factors as (relatively) simple as screen size to complex considerations like programming language, video format and social integration, you could spend more time distributing your content than creating it.
The reality is most marketers won’t be doing this on their own and branded content agencies are learning to become the hub for content creation and distribution. Choosing a media agency that is channel agnostic, but able to execute strategically across them is a key part of effective marketing management.
As Marketing Manager, Luke Meyers handles all aspects of marketing, branding and market research for McMurry and writes on topics related to content marketing, branded media and emerging technology.