Art & Commerce: Mix-It-Up Marketing

When you have a job to do, it pays to have the right tool. It pays even more to have an entire arsenal of tools at your disposal. These maxims are as true for building a house as they are for building a brand.

Sometimes, the tools themselves change, and where brand building is concerned, this impacts media more than anything else. Despite the explosion of online marketing options, traditional advertising vehicles—print, television and radio—offer specific values that can’t yet be duplicated online. The converse is also quite true. The best results are those that come from an intelligent selection of advertising properties from both worlds.

It has been our experience in implementing integrated programs for clients in a variety of industries that the fusion of traditional and Internet communications is propitious and more importantly, executable.

Take, for example, the advertiser’s desire to convey the experience of driving a luxury automobile. BMW’s TV advertisements are beautifully experiential. No Web site, no matter how good, is going to relay that nearly as well. Emotionally charged, the potential purchaser is primed to visit the company’s Web site where he or she will “drill down” for more specific information. There they can also be prompted to share e-mail addresses or other personal data that will continue the sales cycle.

We already know this has become a manner of behavior for consumers who “opt in” by going from TV to Web. Consider for a moment what happens when a brand is advertised on national television. Google Trends will clearly show the spike in search traffic; the direct correlation is astonishing. One model that didn’t exist for television advertisers even five years ago is “TV to search.” While consumers go from TV media directly to an advertiser’s Web site, they also go in numbers to search engines with the snippet they recalled from the ad. Try a Google Trends search on “Office Linebacker,” the now famed Super Bowl ad: Search engines all saw a material spike in traffic on that specific term, thanks to television media consumption.

Advertisers, being well aware of this, have been promoting URLs in hopes of developing loyal customers. However, there are ancillary benefits as well including media mentions. Take, for instance, the importance that Google and other search engines, including Yahoo and MSN, bestow upon editorial placements in traditional media outlets. These search engines deem news outlets as highly credible; therefore, these placements can bolster your online rankings and presence.

In the realm of public relations, the Internet can be used to gauge the impact of a particular campaign or, even more granularly, each media placement. In doing so, companies are able to better understand which publications, Internet news sources or broadcast media outlets generate the best results, which in turn can help their marketing strategies. Public relations companies can create dedicated URLs with landing pages to streamline inquiries and capture as many leads as possible with ease.

Public relations and marketing firms can also measure the number of people searching online for a company or brand name. This search data can demonstrate fluctuations in brand awareness. By learning how many customers are searching directly for a product or company name, a marketer can quickly learn how successful his or her marketing efforts are. Additionally, conventional news releases can be used in a non-conventional way to bolster online awareness and search engine optimization (SEO) through utilizing such sites as PRWeb.com or PR.com.

You can clearly see the impact that a high-profile news story has directly on the investor relations pages of a client’s Web site. You can also see the difference between companies that were well prepared for this eventuality and those that were not. While it’s difficult to say that a handsome Web site can directly improve stock price, at the least it has the value of an annual report that public companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to create. Therefore, Web site hits to the company’s primary URL is a clear indicator of a traditional marketing effort’s success. Most Internet traffic measurement tools can show clear spikes in Web site traffic.

There is also sizeable value from the kind of third-party endorsements editorial coverage can bring. An article on a particular company or product in The New York Times and NYTimes.com will be found by search engine “spiders” and increase the visibility and “importance” of a Web site.

Yes, it’s a new dawn for marketers with a host of new technologies to consider and merge with proven entities. Those that will survive and thrive, both companies and agencies alike, will have to look at ways to merge the two.