Monday, January 25, 2010

The Importance of Integrated Marketing in the Internet Age

With the coming of age of on-line marketing, the range of potential ways in which to reach target prospects is almost limitless. There is SEO, pay-per-click, webinars, electronic newsletters, mass e-mails, banner ads, blogs, and all kinds of avenues for social marketing. Yet even with all these relatively new options, implementing “integrated” marketing efforts remains as critical as ever – perhaps even more so today than yesterday. That is because, the whole concept of integrated marketing rests on a few basic premises, including:

1. The most successful marketing campaigns are those in which different marketing tools work to support another.
For example, obtaining high placement on search engines has become an area of prime focus over the past several years. And what’s one of the main ways to enhance such efforts? Getting links pointing to the firm’s site. And what’s one important way of making that happen? Generating “news” in the form of articles, releases, opinions, etc. and disseminating it to both on-line and off-line outlets. Sound familiar? Enhance your site’s rankings by raising your perceived credibility. Same old dog, just new ways of making it do tricks

2. A multiplicity of message exposures is still critical.
Yes, someone may get to your site via Google or otherwise. Yes, they may call you based on interfacing with your firm’s web site alone. But let’s face it, the most powerful marketing programs are those which allow one “touchpoint” to reinforce another. For example, a prospect may see/read about your firm, but when that curiosity/interest is validated through another exposure (e.g., an individual, a published article, a seminar, etc.) the likelihood of creating a comfort level between firm/attorney and that prospect can only be enhanced. This is important when one looks at not just lead generation, but conversion data as well.

3. Measurement of marketing efforts must be holistic.
Is it important to track/analyze metrics such as “hits,” “visitors,” “click-throughs,” the number of PR placements, responses to advertisements, etc? Yes. But because so many of these variables are, in fact, dependent on one another, it’s also important to look at the firm’s marketing efforts in their totality. Without one element, it’s quite possible the success of other elements would have been diminished.

The critical thing to understand is that while the tools to be used may change over time, the basic concepts of marketing remain the same. That is why determining objectives and developing appropriate “strategies” must still be done prior to writing an ad, designing a web site, pitching an article, spending time on a social media program or implementing an optimization effort. Only in this way can one be sure that each element of the marketing program is given the maximum opportunity to help make the whole program succeed.