In today’s converged environment, simply diversifying your marketing campaigns across multiple platforms may not be enough. Beyond maintaining consistent branding across all media (which is always important), you need to tie the actual campaigns together. In other words, you need to use one medium to spur consumers to jump to another medium as quickly as possible. I call this cross-pollination. Here are some examples of how you can do that.
You’ve probably been in a retail store and seen a product display showing “as seen on TV.” That’s a simple way of tying a campaign together across two media. However, it is not a proactive tie. These campaigns could be a little more proactive if the television ad or infomercial mentioned the stores in which you could expect to see their products. But they don’t because it is easier for them to get a consumer to pick up the phone and order the product than it is for the customer to rush right out to the store.
One effective way of cross-pollinating is to use outdoor media to generate online traffic. Ad Hustler discovered this to be an effective, cheap way of getting people to his site. Although he couldn’t track directly which sales originated by people seeing his bus ads, he knew the number of people that would see his ad in a given month (billboard companies have this information for each location), he calculated that the cost per thousand (CPM) eyeballs was lower than what he could be paying to advertise online, and he noticed an uptick in his site impressions and sales during that month. So he had a pretty good idea of his ROI on running those billboards.
Billboards can be a wonderful way to promote your website. Depending on your niche, your website could be competing with thousands of similar sites. If you use only online sources for promoting your website, you will need to spend quite a bit of money for keyword searches, search engine optimization (SEO), or affiliate marketing. Even with that, you may still have difficulty standing out among the crowd. With billboards, however, you can stand out. Billboards get noticed, they have the advantage of repetition (people who pass them every day remember them), and because not every billboard is promoting a website, those that do are even more memorable.
Billboards are also good fits because, by the very nature of billboards, their messages need to be short and memorable. Drivers zipping by at 70 miles an hour have just seconds to see what your product is, understand it, be enticed to visit your site, and remember how to get there. If you can do that in seven large words or less, you’ve got a winner.
Unless a driver immediately types in your website URL on a handheld device after passing your billboard (which is unlikely, not to mention dangerous), you’ll notice that although billboards can cross-pollinate websites, the effect isn’t exactly immediate, and not perfectly trackable.
For more immediacy and trackability, let’s look at some cross-pollination of print advertising and mobile. Mozes is one company that, among other things, allows newspaper or magazine readers to get offers sent to their mobile phones. A restaurant, for example, would sign up for a “mob” account at Mozes. The restaurant then runs a print ad in a newspaper. The ad contains a keyword for readers to text. When the readers text the keyword, they join the restaurant’s mob (essentially joining the restaurant’s mobile mailing list), and in return will get a discount or other special offers from the restaurant.
It is kind of like taking coupons to the next level. Only instead of having to tear out the coupon, carry it around, remember to use it and feel a bit sheepish when you do, you just show the restaurant your “coupon” on your phone. And since you are now on the restaurant’s mailing list, the restaurant can continue to send you additional offers, so your lead is much more valuable to the restaurant than a single purchase from a coupon would have been.
Another cross-pollination technique I’ve seen popping up is the use of mobile tags, such as Microsoft tags. Mobile tags are like bar codes in that they contain unique information about a product, only better. They can take readers (taggers?) to a website that gives whatever information the owner of that tag chooses to give.
For example, suppose you are a music company and know that a music critic is going to be reviewing one of your new albums. You can pay the critic’s publisher to include a mobile tag next to the review on the page. If readers want to listen to a song from that album, all they need to do is “scan” the tag with their mobile phone. They will need to have a free tag reader downloaded first. When they do that, their phones’ cameras will recognize the tag and take them directly to a website where they can listen to songs from the new album, see cover art, learn more, download the album, etc. So this gives your consumers the ability to read a review, listen to the music and buy from you, all within seconds of each other.
Because advertisers can easily create their own mobile tags, you can create a tag specific to one print campaign. That way you can track your “click-through” ratio and sales. This gives you a way of tracking the effectiveness of your print campaigns in a way you’ve never been able to do before.