Definition 6: Why Unified Marketing is So Important in the "Always in Motion" Ecosystem - Michael Kogon
Published: March 1, 2011 at 09:58 AM GMT
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Last Updated: March 2, 2011 at 09:58 AM GMT
By Michael Kogon
Welcome Definition 6, our newest MediaBizBlogger
Imagine waking up and hearing an ad on TV for a "$.99 Chicken Strip Meal," then checking your iPhone on the way to grab some coffee and seeing an e-mail for a "$.99 Chicken Strip Meal."Then, when you fire up Pandora for your workout, you hear ads for a "$.99 Chicken Strip Meal," while on your Yahoo! mail, you are served a banner ad for a"$.99 Chicken Strip Meal," and then on the subway, signage for a "$.99 Chicken Strip Meal," and on the billboard outside your office, and in online video ads, and then, as you check-in into the Shake Shack – Bam! You get a Foursquare Deal Near-By with- you guessed it - a"$.99 Chicken Strip Meal."
Some marketers would call this an "integrated approach," delivering the same message across multiple platforms consistently. In the world we live in today, you can see how this approach can be flawed. Do you really want your brand to turn into a creepy stalker, alienating your customers rather than appealing to them?
That's why a unified approach is so important, and very different from, an integrated approach. As the CEO of Definition 6, a unified marketing agency, I realized that having the same message is not as important as the same experience that a consumer has with a brand. Word-of-mouth marketing is now exponentially amplified with the prowess of social media. A brand relationship built with a consumer can be argued that in this connected-driven society, is more of a personal relationship, having many brand-to-consumer touch points. That being said, a brand has more responsibility to its consumers to adhere to the level of service and quality it has been so good at communicating through its advertising.
Some people may ask what the difference is between "integrated" and "unified." To me, integrated translates to an "all under one roof" plan, whereas a unified approach will look to deliver "one experience" for the consumer. That can mean very different tactics for each platform including online/website, mobile and traditional marketing efforts. It becomes less about managing a brand/client and more about guiding. The world is not a static environment and in order to communicate a brand's message with its core audience, it will need to be able to create true connections while people are in a constant state of motion. For example, last year we helped one of our clients, VeriFone, launch their PAYware Mobile product. It involved a combination of TV, trade, print, online, and mobile with a message that was consistent yet tailored to the user's consumption point; And in many ways - frame of mind. The results were great, and PAYware Mobile can now be bought in a myriad of places including the Apple store and online. The important thing for the program was not only content delivery and messaging, but understanding the experience that the prospect needed.
Challenger brands (those that are not number one or two in their category) can benefit tremendously from this unified approach, simply because when a company is focused on growing market share, their bravery grows, allowing creative freedom to blossom. Cutting-edge, innovative brands have also been keen to adopt this philosophy since they are looking to "juice" their current course while maintaining the gap between them and their pack of competitors. The challenger and the innovator display and inspire the bravery for creative freedom. The creative freedom I'm describing isn't just for design, messaging, and storytelling. It's for the unique approach of looking at everything – budgets, customer service, trade support, PR, TV, social, mobile, etc. and putting it together, then torching previously held assumptions to come up with new ways of breaking through old barriers. Unified is a belief that when brand strategies are aligned from the onset, (i.e. created at the same time for the same purpose), compared to integrated (i.e. created at different times out of necessity) the results are better and the customer experience is elevated to one of delight versus simple satisfaction. I truly believe there will be a significant shift made over the next few years from brand marketers to this unified approach – and those who do so, will not only survive in the constantly evolving "always in motion" landscape in which we currently live our lives, but they will ultimately excel and succeed. Ferris Bueller said it best – "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Michael Kogon is CEO of Definition 6, the unified marketing agency he founded in 1997. Michael has consistently refined the agency's focus over the years, helping it evolve from the largest independent digital agency in the Southeast to one of the fastest-growing unified marketing agencies in the country. Michael can be reached at Michael.Kogon@definition6.com.
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