Most people in communications and marketing are already performing simple linked tactics. The idea is to become conscious of these tactics and to try to accelerate performance by adjusting and tweaking the timing of them. For my dermatologist clients, for example, I know if I send an email to patients and follow up about a week later with information on the monitors in the offices, I get a pretty strong result. I also know that although the monitor information is there, I also need signage in the office to appear at about the same time. I’ve examined and tested the timing of email, monitor and posters to understand how I can achieve the best result with the least effort and money.
As I mentioned in the previous post on linked tactics, posting earned placements on social media is something communications people do every day. If you haven’t already, start looking at the timing of your social media posts to determine engagement. Now see if you can add something to boost your results. I’ve begun to get really serious about Pinterest and Reddit when I’ve seen the boost they can give to website traffic. I also know the timing to use – how soon after the initial post, time of day and day – that gives me the best results.
Direct marketers have been using landing pages for a long time. QR codes were a great hope, but haven’t really worked much however other promotional codes seem to still work well. I like those that are branded and include a bit of messaging as well. (As a side note, you can include a bit of branding with unique bit.ly shorteners, another micro tactic that works well for me.)
Don’t ever underestimate the power of traditional and online tactics combined. They provide some of the best results I’ve gotten for my clients. Another example of this are combining print ads with online channels. Print ads have become more of a “boost” mechanism for me and less of a direct draw. In fact, we’ve reduced the spend on print ads by half for one of my clients, and still increased our results. That’s because the print ads are now supporting many of the content marketing and digital tactics we’re using. The lesson there is that for this client, traditional tactics have become the “boost.” Not the primary vehicle for messaging. (Don’t forget, we do a recap of a great IMC campaign every month. This is a great place to find examples of linked tactics. The BJP Party campaign, for example, linked a lot of bleeding edge stuff with traditional media. )
Finally, we need to measure our objectives at the end of the campaign of course, but there are many ways to measure how your tactics are responding on an iterative basis. I measure some things monthly, some weekly and some even daily. It really depends on the scope of the project and the channels I’m working in. The idea is the shorter the project, the more frequently you need to measure your tactics. You also should measure more frequently if you’re newer to IMC. You should also measure more frequently when you’re newer to the brand or industry, and you’re not sure what works. Eventually you’ll start to build the “tried and true” combinations of linked tactics that become part of your toolkit.
Social media engagement is a great way to practice. Remember that we’re always measuring linked tactics. Take time this week to look at 2 or 3 social media accounts. Change up the times that you post, or even add a third social media account to your normal sharing schedule (again, try Reddit and Pinterest.) Then measure the engagement by number of comments, post views, or anything that you’re working on at the moment. Make a goal of perhaps doing this kind of review once a week. You want to find the linked tactics that are best for your brand, and improve them so you can have your own IMC toolkit. You can boost results this way, quite easily.
One last thing I always look for are unplanned messages. These are the messages that are echoed by our audience without prodding. You begin to see unplanned messages in earned media (maybe an influencer acting as an expert echoes a talking point, for example) when IMC is working well. You also see it in spades in social media. “Crush it” the term promoted by Gary Vaynerchuk is a great example of that. One of my clients created a video last week, in which they mentioned using linked tactics. In a recent presentation for them on IMC I mentioned linked tactics – still a relatively new term – so I’m taking credit for this unplanned message. Yay me.
The main thing is to have fun. Build a list of possible tactics, both traditional and online. Play around with linking tactics. Try some outrageous things that you “know” will never work, just to practice measurement. Be conscious of what you’re doing. You’ll find your results are growing. It’s impossible for them not to.