Social channels – expanding the marketing mix

I recently spoke to a marketing executive at a large retailer, who had a vision of being able to deliver the right offers to the right people across all relevant channels. Having mastered the existing analogue and digital channels, it was now time to tie together the social media efforts and in this way create a more complete picture of the customer experience.

The vision is to know exactly what your target audience is exposed to on social platforms, to understand the synergy between your social efforts and the other parts of your mix of marketing efforts – and to have all that in one single system.

Social media is lagging behind
At present, I speak to various companies across industries that have already begun breaking down existing silos with the purpose of creating a comprehensive and consistent customer experience to meet their strategic objectives. This includes touch points such as direct mail and e-mail campaigns, online banners, Google AdWords, TV, retail stores, customer service and telemarketing. However, when it comes to social efforts, this is often spread out in various functional units of the company, still operating in silos.

While it is recognized that it is necessary to pay attention to customer concerns and public discourses articulated through social media, only few truly experience sufficient business value generated from the marketing investments made in these platforms. Many companies have strong social media solutions in place, but they have limited connection to their current marketing efforts – and thus limited utilization of the rich data assets resting within the company to increase effectiveness of the social efforts.

More flexibility is needed
As the boundaries of analogue, digital and social channels are continuing to blur, I experience that more and more customers are looking for flexible and scalable solutions that can build the bridge between our various marketing efforts.

With a flexible solution you can determine who receives which ads on Facebook (or whatever social platform in mind), and you can determine the optimal channel mix for specific campaigns or customers as the integration to social platforms is not where the challenges lie. Rather this is internally, to ensure the necessary alignment between roles and responsibilities.

My view is that in a dynamic market, what you need is a more flexible and scalable approach in which you do not need to favor one particular channel over the other due to system constraints. Instead, it needs to rest on the logic of a centralized interaction hub controlled by the richness of your data foundation together with business logic and analytical insight. This is what I see as the enabler of one of our most competitive assets in modern time: Data.


tags: Integrated Marketing Management, marketing analytics

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