Emerging digital technology and new marketing tools are encouraging a major shift in consumer buying behaviour, with digital media shortening the time it takes for consumers to make the leap from being interested in a product to actually buying it. We are witnessing the sophisticated integration of off- and online promotional campaigns.
This can be seen, for example, through the effective combination of Bluetooth, traditional point of sale, sponsorship, PR and online to drive take up of a product or brand.
Alex Johns, managing director at digital agency iblink, says the strength of traditional media is that it can offer known, pre-measurable and sometimes more widely spread OTS (opportunities to see) than newer media. He adds, however, that new media benefits from the old media adage called the “presenter effect”, where the characteristics of the media channel add to the value placed upon the message by the recipient.
On the other hand, newer media, because of their relative novelty, enjoy more of a “wow” factor. “Even before the consumer gets to grips with the creative, new media channels are saying ‘you really must check this out’. Consequently it offers greater cut-through. Combining the two maximises the values of both,” Johns says.
Rise Communications founding partner Oliver Joyce adds that while traditional media remains the most cost-effective way of driving brand awareness, new media can bring a greater depth of information, dialogue and interactivity, right through to the point of sale. In other words, instead of bemoaning the decline in effectiveness of traditional channels, he says marketers need to understand that integrated use can deliver greater efficiencies than ever before.
Driving an amnesty
Johns points to a campaign iblink created for Gillette called the Razor Amnesty campaign. The campaign brief was to promote the launch of the new Gillette stealth razor; to drive people in store; and to increase sales of the rarely discounted razor blades.
The resulting campaign began with a major pre-promotion of the razor amnesty via PR. Readers of the free newspaper Metro were told to take their old razor into Superdrug stores and receive a new one free. “Our job was then to upsell in the store, to sell the blades used with the razor,” he says.
The agency employed a number of techniques to do this. Bluetooth messaging was used to drive footfall and was sent via pods situated in-store. Hit squads were despatched at railway stations and other high-footfall areas nearby and digital media ads were augmented by brand ambassadors and traditional point of sale in all 50 Superdrug stores. The POS included wrapped security banners, floor media, ceiling banners, wobblers, point-of-sale cubes and leaflets. “We then compared the sales performance in these 50 stores with the rest of the estate and found there was a 1340% uplift in sales of razor blades,” Johns says.
The travel and automotive sectors are also heavy users of such integrated approaches to their campaigns. But the industries are being heavily hit by the economic downturn. Thomson, the package holiday brand owned by TUI, recently announced the addition of a large social networking component to its websites in a bid to spread word of mouth about great travel experiences within its catalogue.
Adrian Swift, director of television for etv Media Group, says its client Thomas Cook has always understood the value of video in selling holidays; while the likes of Audi claims that Audi TV has been one of the great marketing tools it has created to bring an upswing for the brand in the UK over the past three years. “Hopefully some will use the downturn and their competitors’ discomfiture to increase their efforts in these areas and grab more market share. The one thing the past couple of years has proved is that engaging with potential clients via new media – done properly – really works,” Swift says.
Ewa Orlowska, senior planner at integrated marketing agency KLP points out that in today’s market, there is no excuse for brands not to have their communications channels integrated. “As consumers lead increasingly busy lives, in which multitasking is no longer a skill but a necessity, a brand must use all possible and relevant channels to reach its audience, otherwise it risks falling into the black hole of consumer oblivion,” she says.
Social media goes mobile
The rapid development of new marketing tools has seen the growth of mobile marketing. The mobile internet and mobile social networking is ensuring that the mobile platform is often part of any integrated promotional campaign.
With the extraordinary pressure on retail businesses across the board leading to a reduction in investment in staff training and service, David Atkinson, managing partner at integrated agency Space, says there is a huge opportunity for retail brands to increase their investment in mobile and new technologies so that purchase decisions are made prior to the in-store experience. He adds: “However, I think it’s a tall expectation to assume that new technologies can educate at or near to point of purchase. This has to be achieved remotely and through other media, so the consumer is predisposed to the brand or product already, and then can be attracted into an immediate purchase.”
Then there are also developments within traditional media channels, such as outdoor, which has seen the development of digital advertising formats that provide advertisers with tactical messages not just by the week, but by the hour. Tim Bleakley, CBS Outdoor marketing and sales director, says on the London Underground advertisers can now combine “the stature and permanence of the traditional dwell-time poster with targeted messaging in full-motion picture”.
Industry experts warn marketers not to be afraid to trial new media within their integrated campaigns. Inevitably sometimes they will fail, but the key is to learn from the experience. “You can take educated risks, but be prepared to lose,” Atkinson says. “Leverage and sweat every last value out of what you do. Don’t let the speed of delivery or the ability to evaluate quickly and cleverly give you the impression that you don’t have to make new media work hard for you. In any marketing the key is to extract the maximum benefit from every channel.”
Sure Girl Fashion Idol campaign
Iblink’s brief was to find the Sure Girl fashion idol and to promote the idea widely in the UK to 13- to 16-year-olds. The campaign used a combination of digital media, Bluetooth, PR, online and traditional POS to drive mass brand awareness.
The agency divided the campaign into two parts in order to reach as many girls as possible – out of store and in-store. For out of store it created a microsite, which sat on the Superdrug.com homepage. A deal was also negotiated with Bebo.com where another microsite was created. Consumers were told about the competition and advised to go to any of 40 Superdrug stores on the 12th and 19th July to enter.
PR was drummed up by media agency MindShare to further promote the event. More than 11,000 users visited these two sites over the course of the two-month event.
In a further 100 stores, a Sure Girl FSU was developed, together with branded leaflets, window posters and wobblers. A Bluetooth campaign was created together with digital advertising. Sure Girl brand ambassadors also handed out samples.
Overall, 9,000 people entered the event. These were whittled down to 12 finalists from all over the UK. The final was held in Superdrug’s flagship Marble Arch store where the outlet was wrapped. The overall winner received a makeover and full-page photoshoot in Dare magazine.
Skinny Cow campaign
Last year, branding communications agency, Rise Communications, which is part of the Eden State Group, launched the “A-List” campaign for low-fat ice cream brand, Skinny Cow.
Consumers were given the chance to win an A-lister’s lifestyle as part of a campaign launched during the key sales season for ice cream.
Sister Eden State Group agency Rise, Contented and other specialists agencies worked together to build the campaign for the R&R owned brand.
Rise says it chose the theme for the promotion following research using the Skinny Cow website’s database of registered users. The agency found that the most popular prizes were those involving celebrity lifestyles.
The campaign included on-pack promotion, press advertising, digital and PR. Promotional packages carried a code, which consumers entered onto the website to find out if they have won a prize.
The 25 prizes on offer included: an invitation to a VIP Oscars party in LA; a trip to Milan to create your own made-to-measure designer gown; a WAGS-style weekend in Dubai; a Sex & The City-style spree with personal stylist in New York; and a party weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The campaign was communicated by advertorials in women’s magazines, from spreads in the gossip weeklies to the Skinny Cow’s own column in Glamour magazine. Press and digital advertising, as well as on- and offline PR and point of sale material, provided further support.
Rise’s tracking study carried out last summer found that consumers would recommend the Skinny Cow brand to others. They asked consumers “which of the following brands would you recommend to friends or family”. The result was: Skinny Cow (80%), Magnum (77%), Solero (70%) and Weightwatchers (66%).
There was also an uplift in traffic to the website and 43% of visits to the site converted to a competition entry. The frequency of purchase, average rate of purchase and repeat purchase all increased according to TNS data.
Charlotte Hambling senior brand marketing manager at R&R says: “This promotion was fantastic, it encouraged consumers to increase their spend in the brand.”
Bacardi Mix Sticks initiative
Digital agency, Graphico, was charged with promoting and distributing Bacardi UBS memory sticks, called “Mix Sticks”, to Bacardi’s core target market.
As part of the objective, the agency was required to generate consumer leads through users opting into Bacardi through appropriate incentivisation on partner site via a festival ticket prize.
The campaign was targeted primarily at 18- to 24-year-old students, with affinity to live music and festivals. The secondary audience was 18- to 34-year-olds.
Bacardi had 15,000 Mix Sticks to give away. Media activity and cost-per-arrival deals were projected to lead to high costs per entry and opt-in, therefore partnership opportunities were investigated.
The UK Festival Awards partnership deal was brokered, making Bacardi the lead digital sponsor and creating a highly-targeted campaign via an integrated data capture mechanic in the festival voting process.
The Mix Stick’s campaign was also supported by a seeding strategy and presence on Bacardi.com.
The agency claims that it exceeded target entries by 164% and exceeded target opt-ins by 134%. Also, 85% of opt-ins to the Bacardi database gained were aged 18 to 34, while 60% of Mix Stick entries gained were aged 18 to 34.
The campaign raised awareness of Bacardi and provided a valuable association between Bacardi and its continued participation with live music and the festival scene.
The partnership enabled Bacardi to leverage the activity in line with Bacardi’s wider targets, benefiting from awareness driven by supporting digital partners such as Yahoo!, Virtual Festivals and Virgin Media as well as
giving Bacardi greater creative control and direction over the UK Festival Award site and the awards event itself.