Having a Unified Message Inspires Consumers to Act
I have been in a ton of marketing planning meetings the past month and it fascinates me that marketing is such an interesting combination of data, psychology, and gut instinct. We know certain generalities that apply to consumer behavior, and that helps guide the approach. But we shouldn’t ever get too comfortable in our thinking because inflection points are real. People change, trends change, and then ideas that once seemed fresh go stale.
One thing that holds true is that messaging that’s disjointed doesn’t work. There’s more than little clutter in the digital space, and the only way to get someone to pay attention and land a message is to repeat it in and tailor it to each channel. It takes insight, research, planning, and smart execution, but once you have those components in place, you’ll find that consumers are becoming a whole lot stickier (and there’s a marketing term that probably should have stayed in someone’s head).
Figure out who the brand is. This is the starting point. A brand is a living, breathing thing, and you need to get to know it. I’ve worked with many people who have created incredible brands and even as the founders, they learn about their brand every day. Take the time to understand what makes the brand tick, its heart, complexities, and nuances. Think of it like a relationship. You wouldn’t feel informed enough to share the totality of a new acquaintance, but you could chatter on for hours about your best friend. Make your brand your best friend.
Build a narrative architecture. I read a lot of fiction novels. A lot. And nothing makes the story go flat faster than a main character without a good backstory. They are impossible to connect to and there’s no investment on the reader’s part of whether they succeed or fail. The same holds true of a brand. You want your consumers to feel a deep and abiding connection to your brand and that requires a fully developed narrative. Show how the brand came into being, why it exists now, and where it wants to go. Get the consumer hooked so they want to come along for the ride.
Write a campaign brief. As the quarterback for several creative teams, I know firsthand how important the briefing process is. Getting it all down on paper, clearly articulating everything from the goals and vision to the aesthetic and tonality is crucial to getting your marketing team onboard and set up for success. And while skipping the write-up and telling the casually what you want sounds more relaxed, it’s not. Because no one of us is as clear as we think we are. Taking the time to write a comprehensive brief gives your creatives the information they need to win.
Drive consistency across all channels. While it’s easy to think of a campaign as separate by channel, don’t do it. Much like the campaign brief tells everything what the goal is, it’s your job to make sure that the messaging stays consistent. Consumers are going to interact with your content on multiple channels, Ads, social, email and SMS marketing, SEO, influencer marketing, and web all need to play well together. It keeps the consumer engaged and build trust through consistency.
Look at all your assets together. I’ve built a lot of campaigns where each channel has developed their assets in a silo, and it’s painfully obvious when we come together for the final huddle. If you don’t look at your assets on one board, you can easily miss where copy, color, typography, and messaging veers off course. But when you put them into a holistic grouping, you can make tweaks, so the final product is on-brand, on-message, and unified.
Build landing pages for your campaigns and promotions. Your homepage matters. But it doesn’t matter as much as you think. Most users interact with a homepage briefly before clicking to another portion of the site. That means driving a campaign to your homepage is setting the stage for users to bounce. Creating landing pages helps to reinforce the message of the overall campaign, provides your consumers with valuable content, and gives an immediate place to put a call to action.
Set channel KPIs. The long-term goal of most marketing campaigns is to drive consumer adoption of a brand and motivate them to become loyal consumers. Even the most brilliant programs can flop, which is why it’s critical to see KPIs, both globally and for each individual channel. These should include pieces on the inbound side of the user journey (open rate, clicks, unsubscribe, impressions, etc.) as well as bounce, abandonment, conversion, and revenue at the end of the journey.
Keep it going. If your campaign wraps successfully, congratulations, the work just started. A successful campaign means new customers who need to be nurtured and shown continued value. Like any relationship, the message that worked, should grow, and evolve so that your consumers can stay loyal for a lifetime.