Today’s circumstances require companies to market their products or services in ways that are entirely different than a few years ago. Consumers are not only smarter than ever, but they have more power than ever—even over the marketing messages to which they are exposed. Print has changed, and television viewing has shifted with the prevalence of DVRs and Web-based viewing. Add to that the rapid ascent of smartphones and tablets, and you have a multiplatform marketing soup that can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to go with it. Before talking about the best way to produce collateral for multiple platforms, one needs to know the best ways to think about multiple platforms.
Although it may be tempting to try to take advantage of all of these available platforms in an effort to achieve as much exposure as possible, staying true to yourself will be a more effective strategy (an idea that’s as true in life as it is in marketing). That means that certain platforms may be more suitable for your business and its target market than others.
If your target market is young and your business is a highly passionate brand that lends itself to impulse purchases, you should definitely be on all devices—especially mobile devices. If, on the other hand, your target market is older or your business provides content-intensive functionality, mobile devices may not be as critical. So forget all of the hype and buzz, and give some honest thought to what your business provides, and who your target market really is.
Psychographics vs. Demographics
After getting a sense of your business’ positioning, the next thing to think about is how to target its market. Advances in marketing research have made it possible to reach a very select group of individuals, regardless of the platform they are utilizing. With that in mind, marketing messages need to be tailored for different psychographic profiles. Psychographic data provides multiple decision-making criteria, buying behaviors, consumption patterns, and income criteria; when combined, it creates a clear and unique profile of those you want to target.
Psychographic profiles can then help you determine the various tools to use across different platforms and devices. This intelligence will help you avoid the white-noise effect, which is the risk of consumers becoming increasingly adept at ignoring marketing efforts such as banner ads, pop-ups and paid advertising. Hitting the select groups of people most likely to complete desired conversion is ultimately more valuable than throwing a message at everyone and hoping that someone latches on.
Mind the Details in Mobile
Thinking specifically about smartphones and tablets, there are best practices, tips, and tricks to keep in mind. Design considerations need to include not only pretty pictures that engage your target market, but also a consistent look and feel across multiple devices. This helps to orient the user immediately, even if they only experience the campaign for a few moments. Content considerations need to take into account subject lines, brand copy, and detailed body content.
It has become somewhat of a best practice and a mindless trend to engage in social marketing efforts. Still, it’s an always-relevant topic. Social marketing is perhaps the most device-agnostic medium in today’s environment. However, social marketing requires a thorough understanding of the desired customer demographic/psychographic, as well as an understanding of what kind of information adds value for them. One of the golden rules of social marketing is to be genuine: reinforce your own sense of self.
How and Why to Go Multiplatform
Our company only engages in social marketing efforts that make sense for our client base. Rather than promoting Irish Titan, we share posts relating to corporate culture, client successes, leadership, and business best practices that provide value to our company’s social community. Using tools like HootSuite and smartphone apps, we’ve been able to do this in a way that works on multiple platforms. And more importantly, it is a multiplatform exercise for the company (in how we produce social marketing content) and our audience (in how they access it).
In essence, multiplatform marketing has changed what companies do to engage with customers, but it hasn’t changed how or why they engage. It is still as important as ever to understand your consumer, perhaps more deeply than ever before. However, multiplatform marketing offers unprecedented opportunities to engage with your target market that can help you truly build your business.
Through multiplatform marketing, you can reach 1,000 people who have a strong likelihood of engaging with your brand, instead of 10,000 who will probably never engage. The key is consistency. By presenting cohesive messaging, visual design, and content in your marketing collateral in all your efforts, you will help your audience key into your marketing efforts quickly and contribute to your brand loyalty and recognition.