HOW TO: Sync Your Online and Offline Marketing Campaigns

Here are some tips on how to sync your marketing campaign in the digital and real worlds.

Build Your Foundation and Make Sure Everyone Stands On It
A mixed media campaign can be powerful, effective and even beautiful, and it ideally engages the consumer in multiple ways. To this end, creativity and collaboration are key, but there is some critical work to do before you go there. Grant Powell, CEO of creative marketing agency Pomegranate, says that it’s all about a unified message. Without a strong foundation, you can be as creative as you want and even spend as much money as you want, but your campaign cocktail may come across as choppy and disjointed. Grant suggests creating a single, concise set of guidelines and making sure they are clearly communicated across all parties and mediums involved. Whether it’s a style guide, a branding document or a handful of rules, these are the building blocks of your integrated campaign.

Make Sure Digital Shows Up Early
The days, weeks and months leading up to an offline experience are just as much a part of the game as the experience itself. Antler, an experiential and digital market agency, recently worked with Magners Irish Cider to produce the Magners Comedy Festival in Boston. The event itself took place in January, but Antler kicked things off on Facebook in October with a call for amateur comedians across the U.S. to compete in the festival. People could view and vote for the competitors through a custom Facebook app, and more than 40,000 people voted within three weeks. The online engagement and voting not only built enough buzz for a successful turnout, but also determined the make-up of the event itself.

There’s an extended, social audience that is just waiting to share its opinion on everything you’re doing, and it’s much bigger than the one that’s going to show up to anything offline. Let that audience build your buzz for you.

Sharing Is Caring
We are perpetual sharers. We broadcast the things we do across the social web, and we engage with people and things we love in real time. During any real world experience, there will inevitably be a constant line of communication between the people who are lucky enough to be there and those who aren’t. They are going to share anyway, so be sure to tell them how. Determine the digital channels that you want your audience to use to talk to each other from the many realms of your integrated campaign, and make them aware of these channels in advance. Antler President and CEO Terry Lozoff recommends considering the mobile mediums that can connect people around an experience: live photo submissions, checkins, QR codes and Text-to-Like on Facebook are a good place to start. Lozoff also reminds us not to overlook the basics — advertise Twitter handles and hashtags, Facebook Pages and other digital opportunities on non-digital materials, like flyers, signs, the stage and anywhere else that holds the attention of your audience.

Don’t Be Afraid to Flip It Around
In August 2010, digital services and creative company Barbarian Group worked with GE to launch The GE Show, an online, episodic web experience made up of video, games and data visualization, designed to tell the story of GE’s innovation in myriad aspects of daily life. The newest episode, The GE Show: Solar, launched, and in order to build buzz around the digital property in advance, Barbarian Group went offline. This past March at SXSW, it debuted The GE Show’s first ever offline event, in the form of an original 1920’s carousel that had been renovated, decked out with modern LEDs and graced with 100 GE solar panels. Two thousand people per day showed up for rides, which ran 10 hours per for day for five days, relying 100% on GE’s ability to harness the power of the sun. Plus, people could charge their phones using solar powered charging stations while they waited in line.

The digital elements of many integrated campaigns are seen as an extension of the real world experience, but in the case of The GE Show, the standard equation got flipped around. There are times that the bigger story is being told digitally, and the real world serves as a powerful, emotionally charged jumping-off point for inspiring deeper engagement with a digital presence — not the other way around.

The online and offline worlds play off of each other in multiple ways, and the approach we take to weave them together depends entirely on the story we are trying to tell. It is the job of companies and brands to make sure that their fans walk into any experience fully aware of all the ways to extend the reach of the spot they’re standing in, and leave the experience without really leaving at all.

Original content found HERE

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