Why is integrated marketing THE buzz phrase in education marketing? Because educators seek information from multiple channels before making decisions. You need to meet your audience where THEY are, where THEY spend time, rather than expecting them to come to you. It takes multiple touches— 10 or more— to create brand trust and conversion with educators. That’s why it’s vital to reach out to educators through a variety of channels like email, web ads, direct mail, paid search, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. In addition to reaching the right audience with the right message, you need to be reaching them in the right place at the right time.
Remembering that educators are committed to their mission: helping “their kids” succeed is key. In product recommendations, educators look for validation from like-minded peers. They don’t want to hear company pitches, they want to hear from friends and colleagues with hands-on experience of the products. That’s why having social media in your marketing mix has never been more important in influencing educators.”
What makes a campaign integrated?
An integrated campaign is one where:
- The brand is front and center
- The content is in a clear and consistent voice, but adapted to the media
- The design is consistent and recognizable regardless of where it’s seen
- The Call to Action is the same across channels
Integrated campaigns need consistency of brand, message, and look.
Building a customer experience
Integration is all about creating a coordinated experience that moves a person from awareness to interest to action. We’ve learned that not to talk at teachers, but to find ways to have a conversation with them. To do this, we use our knowledge of educators, their response to online and offline marketing channels, and what messages connect best with them at a particular time.
Each social channel has a distinctive feel, style, and audience. Each client message needs to be crafted to fit the social medium and make the most of it. The mix for each marketing campaign is informed by the client’s specific audience and goals—whether it is to create a funnel, drive traffic to their own site, or to start a buzz with viral content.
A well-integrated campaign builds in impact across channels. For example, a web advertising campaign can generate awareness that gets an email opened. The email leads to a landing page with a downloadable case study. The case study quotes teachers who learned about your product from an online community. Your presence on the online community generates teacher ideas on how to use your product and Tweets with their responses. The Tweets drive interest from teachers with similar product needs…and so on, and so on.
Selecting the right mix of channels
How do you determine the right channels to use? Start by thinking about the customer experience: how do people use this channel? Do they read or skim? Are they actively researching or just keeping up with the news? Are they chatting with peers or seeking the advice of an expert? Are you trying to raise awareness, start a conversation, or make a conversion? Mapping your message to where it will appear—and to its role in engaging your audience—will ensure you are delivering the right content at the right time.
At MDR, we believe there is a science to channel selection. This science comes before the art of message creation and content design. Selecting the correct channel is the outcome of a journey that begins with data and insights. Analytics should guide audience selection and segmentation. Understanding the audience segment determines the type of content appropriate for a campaign. As we know, not all content works well in every channel. Since we know that teachers engage best in certain channels at certain times of the year, planning your campaign timing, and the content to tell your story, will then determine the channel. We work with clients to develop a strategy to capture the interest of their desired segment using existing content or original content. Channel selection then becomes a matter of aligning the content to the channels where it will have the greatest impact and will garner maximum value for its stage in the campaign lifecycle.
Educators spend a significant amount of their time researching products and services. If you want to be where they are at the moment they are considering a product like yours, or to be top of mind when they do, then MDR’s experience shows that you’ll need to create a seamless, integrated campaign that delivers multiple touches across multiple channels: The right message to the right audience in the right place at the right time.
Bringing Email Back to Life
Email best practices are a big topic, and every aspect of email marketing needs to be addressed to achieve the reinvigoration today’s marketers are looking for. Look to these related posts for deep dives into improving campaign performance with:
- Audience Segmentation
- Persuasive Copy
- Smart Email Design
- Good Email Citizenship
- A/B Testing
Want to dive even deeper? Take a minute to review our Email Best Practices webinar which has tons of tips for getting better email results!