Go deep with cross media marketing
Goodbye spray and pray marketing
For decades, the SOP has been S and P advertising. In other words, the standard operating procedure for marketing has been "spray and pray" advertising. The objective was to spray large groups of consumers with information via TV, direct mail, radio, or signage on the side of a bus and pray that someone would notice. This method ensured that the marketing message was widely distributed, and in an era of fewer messages this was an effective way to reach potential customers.
But in an era where consumers are increasingly bombarded by messages, this method is increasingly less effective. In the book Data Smog, author David Schenck tells us that in 1971 the average consumer received 560 ad messages per day. Today we are up to 5000 messages a day and remember 4 of them. At this rate, next year we'll each be hit with 10,000 messages and we'll be lucky if we remember just two. That's a lot of wasted ineffective messages and a lot of wasted resources.
Savvy marketers aiming to break through the clutter and make their message one of the memorable ones are quickly adopting a more precise and effective marketing method. In the information inundation age, going deeper rather than broader is proving to be an effective marketing strategy. ?"We are finding new ways to penetrate all the noise and ensure the message is heard using new tools that create a more personal and engaging experience," explains Karin Stroh, VP of Marketing for XMPie, a Xerox company providing marketing solutions. "Using a cross-media campaign, companies can communicate more directly and effectively with each individual customer in multiple ways rather than blasting a general message out to everyone."
The NHL goes deep
Businesses looking for a model of how to go deeper can take a page from the playbook of the National Hockey League. Following the 2004-2005 lockout, the NHL adopted an aggressive marketing campaign aimed at engaging hockey fans on a deeper level with more frequent robust experiences. Targeting a primarily tech-savvy fan base, the NHL is optimizing their use of digital media marketing, and the results have been phenomenal.
- League revenue is rising for the fifth consecutive year.
- Annual revenue is expected to grow 14 percent this year, resulting in an 85 percent increase over the last four years.
- Sponsorship and marketing revenue is up 32 percent YOY (year over year).
The NHL Winter Classic on ?Jan. 1, 2011 was the most viewed NHL regular season game in 36 years. (4.5 million viewers in prime time.) ?"The NHL is experiencing unprecedented engagement across all platforms," affirms Perry Cooper, the league's SVP of direct and digital marketing. "We're offering more depth, more of what fans want, with continual access to live scores and stats, unique video content and enriching commentary." ?Leveraging the powers of traditional media, digital media and social media, the NHL is successfully converting fans into brand evangelists. Most notably:
- The Stanley Cup was the #1 trending topic on Twitter in June 2010.
- The NHL GameCenter Premium for iPad was the iPad App of the Week during first two weeks of launch.
- A revamped mobile site averages 25 million WAP page views per month.
- Fantasy Hockey has 570 thousand participants, more than any other fantasy property.
- The NHL is rapidly approaching 1.7 million fans on Facebook.
"Rather than relying on traditional broad advertising avenues like TV, we are creating one-on-one marketing opportunities that shorten the distance to the fans no matter where they are by offering a great experience on a variety of platforms. If we can continue to satisfy our fans then ad revenue and everything else will continue to take care of itself," Cooper explains.
The three Ps
Cooper notes that the marketing strategy at the heart of this success is the Three Ps—participation, portability and personalization. "We are constantly looking for innovative ways to engage our fans and encourage participation, and we know that portability—i.e. smartphone and iPad experiences—is becoming increasingly important."
With an Apple iPad and subscription to GameCenter, hockey fans all over the world now watch their favourite hockey games anywhere they want at any time. A subscription provides ardent fans with dream-come-true content: full access to about 40 games per week, with TV and radio broadcasts available; in-game video highlights; and access to the NHL's video archive, with thousands of highlights covering every day during the current season; extensive player profiles with video highlights and detailed in-game stats; and condensed versions of every NHL game.
Cooper says that collecting and analyzing data at every transaction is key to creating a deeper, more personal experience for each fan. "Everything is coded—we look at every definable area of behaviour—and we tailor our marketing accordingly to make it as personal and relevant as possible."
Print joins the mix with a growing licensed merchandise catalogue circulation base. "Targeting current customers and new prospects with favourite-team content has been very successful. Segmenting displaced fans that have an inherent access constraint has been a key strategy. Based on our match analysis, we are able to connect online purchases to catalogue drops...the ROI is excellent. Customers tend to browse the book, which converts to online transactions. This behaviour is observed by most multi-channel marketers... especially those that tailor the experience with a strong online call-to-action," Cooper adds.
Relevance equals results
So how important is personalization? A Maryland college that formerly solicited new students with traditional generic direct mail packages quadrupled admissions and doubled enrollment by launching a multi-channel campaign that started with a personalized mailer and e-mail directing the prospective students to a personalized URL (PURL).
Using variable data technology, the engaging personalized mailers included: a map from the student's house to the college, the student's name on a business card, a personalized message highlighting his or her intended major or area of expertise and images based on gender. Each customized mailer prominently displayed the recipient's PURL that included their name.
Prospects could conveniently access their PURLs right on their smartphones (or computers) and view a personalized campus tour video, fill out pre-populated financial aid estimators and forms, and sign up for text updates on open houses and admission deadlines. Depending upon their interactions, any of 20 personalized follow-ups were possible. The PURL evolved throughout the enrollment process to remain a handy and valuable resource.
Citing this case study, Stroh notes that there wasn't anything particularly difficult or costly about this campaign. "It was essential to start with good clean data, and continual tracking and analytics were important as well. We have the tools to easily process the data and the technology to use the data to create a deep and personal experience. The cost of this direct marketing campaign was actually less than in previous years, and the process freed up admission counselors to use their time more effectively."
Additionally, the college received an increase in top-level applicants. The students reported they felt like they were being specifically targeted and personally recruited. "Customers? want to be talked to. And ?the surest way to make certain they hear you is to make your message personal and relevant," Stroh affirms. "With cross media marketing, you can get beyond the spray-and-pray numbers game and take your marketing to a whole new level—a deeper level than your competition."