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Go Beyond Digital to Fusion

Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 12:44 AM

Don't let digital gurus lead you astray. Here are 3 tips you can use to advance toward a fusion approach.

By Jill Adams

So much of the talk these days is about how publishers must adapt to survive in our newly digitally driven world. That is equally true for those in marketing communications, the field in which I work.

A recent IBM study of global CMOs (chief marketing officers) found that over 60 percent expect to continue increasing their interactive/online spending and decrease their allocation to traditional advertising. No doubt, it's a brave new world. But the brands and publications that will truly rule in this new world order won't be led by digital gurus.

The real champions will be the visionaries who advance "interactive" communications to a new level -- where a fusion of tactics will power a new era. That advancement to "fusion marketing" will require us all to stop trailing after digital crazies, as well as to move beyond the common stereotypes of integrated marketing communications.

Here are 3 tips on what it will take for you to lead your organization into this new Cosmos:

Tip 1

We need to go beyond "multiple touch points" to seamless connections.

Too many of us still plan and measure singular "transactions." How many people read the magazine. Click on the banner. Follow us on Twitter.

Today, consumers are driven by email to websites where they watch "TV spots" that drive them to Facebook pages that link to feature articles published in magazines whose ads feature QR codes that take readers to YouTube videos.

That requires a new type of planning, one that doesn't put each tactic into a separate box. Today we need organic strategists -- people who can analyze each medium's specific strengths, and synthesize how to turn those strengths to best work together to turn consumer emotion into motion.

Stop viewing social media or any media as a "tactic" and recognize it as just another channel in the surround-sound that's essential to reaching today's B2B as well as B2C audiences.

Tip 2

We need to go beyond Web analytics to integrated analytics.

So much of the shift to digital has been driven by the panic to prove ROI. But just because digital advertising results are more measurable doesn't mean they are more effective on their own.

With all the noise in the Websphere, one timeless marketing principle is more timely than ever: People won't want to talk to you unless they know of you. So if you are serious about pursuing the new holy grail of "brand engagement" for your publication, you'll also need to be smart about deploying public relations and "transactional" advertising in a fresh way. And together you need to develop better ways of measuring those integrated marketing results than just clicks, likes, fans, or followers.

Tip 3

We need to go beyond standing out to standing for something.

Of course, getting readers and advertisers to know your publication, your brand, is only the first step. Getting them to care about it takes building trust -- something in very short supply these days. So publication brands need to be more than memorable. They need to be admirable. That means publishing organizations need to stand for something. And publishers need to reach across the organization to work with those involved in audience development, editorial, advertising sales, public relations, and every other kind of relations to collaborate on building -- and living -- your publication's brand.

These three tips are examples of the new levels of fusion thinking that will characterize the next generation of communication leaders.

Jill Adams is CEO of Adams & Knight Inc. (www.adamsknight.com), a marketing communications firm in Avon, CT, that provides strategic research, advertising, public relations, and digital marketing services.

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