A few years ago, I wrote a story for Forbes about Gillette’s Summer Job campaign as I found the level of the campaign's channel integration to be of interest.
In that case Gillette, the Procter & Gamble shaving brand that I recently ripped for losing touch with its audience, forced its advertising and PR agencies into a room and told them to not come out until they had developed a smart program.
I was midly perplexed that Gillette didn’t then integrate the campaign into all of its channels in surround sound — which really should be a must today as consumers are parsing time online, more rabidly using mobile, still watching some television, listening to less and less radio, and have largely left print publications alone at the alter. In my mind, Summer Job's channel integration was “half pregnant,” a term I once heard Gary Vaynerchuck say to a P&G social media manager about their social media expertise in front of a room of 1,000 people at SXSW.
I tend to obsess about channel integration. When I speak with Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), or for that matter any marketer about their communications campaigns, the first question I ask is whether a program is “triangulated.” Or, in more plain terms, whether their marketing programs integrate what I believe to be the three key principle disciplines within the earned side of digital marketing today:
Each discipline has staked out a vital corner in the earned promotion and marketing of companies, causes, ideas or individuals. And by leveraging their merits, the aggregate far exceeds the sum of each of the parts and the result is exponential media coverage, awareness, and overall word-of-mouth.
Just consider what is arguably the most successful campaign of the past few years: the original Old Spice Guy campaign with Isiah Mustafa.
Why was the Old Spice Mustafa campaign so effective? Just look at the integration into marketing channels:
Looking back, it's easy to understand why it done blewed up.
A few years ago, when a team I worked on developed digital treasure hunt programs in Minneapolis and Milwaukee for Travel Leaders in collaboration with Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel, our process included:
The consistency of message in multiple marketing channels and high engagement levels in social media channels helped to surround the target consumer, elevating the success of the program well beyond what a simple press release promoting an event would have generated.
So what does all of this tell us? Why do we still not see more campaigns that are effectively integrated throughout more of the marketing channels at the disposal of some very savvy companies and brands?
Sadly, corporate politics have a lot to do with it. Under the CMO at many companies sit the heads of units such as advertising, public relations, internal communications, and customer relations groups — often jockeying for budget and looking to stake their claim. As a result, many campaigns are limited, work in singular channels, and are not integrated within multiple marketing disciplines.
And when this is the case, the end-goal of increasing sales or enhancing reputation often gets lost in the shuffle.
What we must continue to remember is there is plenty to go around — for communications business unit leaders and agencies alike. And if companies and brands bring disciplines together and triangulate programs in multiple marketing channels, surround target audiences with a consistent message from every channel, and leverage the power of SEO — everyone wins.
So Mr. or Mrs. CMO, the next time one of your unit heads pitches a program to you, ask them a very simple question: “How do we triangulate this?”