Sell More! 17 Integrated Marketing NEW Best Practices to Test

A maze of escalators intertwined left to right

In our last post, we dove deep into describing integrated marketing.  We follow today with a powerful list of mashup tests to run, many of which yield tasty marketing fruit. “Integrated marketing” means melding most any aspect of marketing into a cohesive, strategic whole.  To get in the integrated mindset, we challenge you to let go of siloed perceptions.

Be channel agnostic. Free yourself of a mindset of being solely SEO or a search PPC, PR pro, CRO, paid, organic, social, programmatic, brick, creative, or data unicorn 🦄.  YOU are an integrated marketer, fluently drawing upon any channel, discipline, tactic, etc. to support a unified strategy, each component fused to a desired financial outcome.

How many channels does it take for a campaign to be integrated?
The short answer is more than one and enough to win the marketing assignment. Not every bullseye campaign uses all available arrows in the quiver.  Integrated means some combination of marketing channels – in other words, being more than one thing.

Integrate creative to form homogenous, multi-node pathways to conversion and consider yourself an integrated marketer: Most integrated marketing campaigns we craft at our agency include a healthy measure of thoughtfully sequenced creative across all campaign nodes. Segmentation often doesn’t matter when there’s no vertical creative to make the data sing.

Are there integrated marketing best practices? Yes! In fact, there are integrated marketing best practices, methods that usually work to score more conversion.  We’ve been running some of the multi-channel, multi-discipline mashups (below) for years. Others have been facilitated more recently by advances in MarTech and data tools available to more marketers.

We’ve prioritized the following test ideas to first try for lower-friction wins.  Each requires some level of coordination between disciplines, which means search and social teams need to work with PR and/or content teams – working with paid search and social retargeting. All require sequenced creative. If you are a one-stop-shop-marketer handling everything, being “integrated” can sometimes be easier.

    1. Retarget Big Money Keywords Separately with Vertical Creative. It’s common for more expensive keywords and/or tight AdGroups to generate a high percentage of revenue. Such keywords ooze with intent, meaning the searcher seeks conversion. Single out these individual keywords and clusters for special retargeting treatment. Tender the next message driving the user in creative sequence. (Paid search, retargeting, creative)
    2. RLSA to Segmented Site Visitors, Integrated Creative & Retargeting: This is one of the first tactics I personally reach for. Dial in more retargeting segmentation to organic site visitors, contingent on the website experience.  Retarget return traffic as its own bucket. As always, go vertical with integrated creative with the next message in sequence.
    3. Reduce $, Increase Scale by Causing New Brand Search: New brand search is like lakefront property (it’s freaking VALUABLE).  The more brand search created, assuming worthy wares, the larger a business can be scaled with marketing. Brand IP, marks, etc. can be protected as ®, ™ , © , etc. Competitors can trigger search PPC but not use the IP in ads. Control creative in tandem with organic search (SEO) for brand. Such a practice does cannibalize organic, but usually contributes more overall due to the advantages of paid site links versus organic. Brand search is usually the least expensive keyword inventory, and higher conversion lowers costs while raising scale of the entire marketing system. Direct traffic that stems from brand awareness also lifts scale & lowers cost. More conversion, lower cost, more brand search means growth.
    4. Grade the Effects of PR on Performance Marketing: Because brand search is that lakefront property in the marketing system, integrated marketers measure the effects or PR on the performance marketing stack. By banging the integrated marketing drum through PR efforts, you generate brand searches and the associated spoils.
    5. Imprint Keywords & Brand in Display/Retargeting Creative: Just do this all the time, in every tactic. To the integrated marketer, coupling brand growth to those “money” keywords is a most powerful integration. Stamp actual keywords you want users to search for prominently ON display imagery, including social. We condition potential customers via saturated, keyword-laced messaging to embed semantics on users’ psyches. One of the best proofs of branding is when users we’ve conditioned with specific keywords, head to search engines and levy the query we’ve installed in their minds. Yes, this happens all the time and we have crafted new analytics to measure new search created via saturation.
    6. Map Real World Objects to Targeting/Creative Strategies: The Ely, MN Blueberry/Art Festival happens July 26th.  The 37th annual Wilton, ME Blueberry Festival is August 2.  In fact, there are more than a dozen blueberry festivals in America. So, when people search from cities far enough away to require a hotel room: customize an ad, sell being host hotel for the festival, customize the ads for the event, and create organic content for SEO. Mapping marketing editorial calendars to real world events is a venerable tactic that often works. Go vertical and customize creative, focused on how your product or services fit. Such an approach works for conferences, concerts, sports, festivals, graduations, ecotourism, races, nearly anything surrounding scheduled activities people attend and consume.
    7. RLSA to Paid Social Audience Pools, Integrated Retargeting & Creative: Sometimes search is not enough to qualify potential customers. An example is “Blog Hosting.” If you sell more expensive, enterprise level blog hosting, then most paid search inventory is worthless, packed with people shopping for sub $20 a month blog hosting.

      Here’s a better approach: Drive the right users directly to focused content via intensive business psychographic targeting, limiting the spend to highly focused prospects. Cookie these users on your site and run search retargeting (RLSA) ads. Now you know WHO is asking the questions. After the unconverted return to your website for the second time, create a special retargeting bucket to follow THESE users for step three.  As always, go vertical with integrated creative with the next message in sequence.
    8. Non-Commercial Informational Keyword RLSA to $$ Keywords/Ad Groups Audience Pools: Run search retargeting for money keywords with RLSA to informational keywords. This is the “big keyword/little keyword” RLSA hack that tends to work quite well. The money keyword might be “Nikon binoculars deal.” The remarketing (informational) keyword can be “Grand Canyon trailhead water.” We know this user already searched for the money keyword, which is attached to the informational search. Customize the creative based on the knowledge of the potential customers’ thirst for both new binoculars and water.
    9. Low Dollar Geek Tail Keywords Functions as Psychographic Content Amplification/Display: This somewhat obscure tactic is actually really hip, and we’ve seen it work in various quarters. Searching geeky keywords can function like a low-cost psychographic targeting element, embodied in a search keyword. For example, “rhinorrhea” means heavily runny nose. Ask yourself who would search for rhinorrhea. To even know the word rhinorrhea signals something geeky about the user. What is it? What about “Data type mismatch criteria,” an off-the-beaten-path MS Access error. It’s reasonable to assume a person searching “data type mismatch criteria” is an Access user, which gives us a psychographic attribute gleaned from search.
    10. Use Paid Keyword & Social Targeting Tools to Advise SEO & Community Management: Since the beginning of digital marketing, we’ve used paid keyword research tools to determine organic (SEO) keywords for content. The same technique works well for determining creative slant and social voice. Use Facebook Ads’ paid psychographic research tools to research organic social and content creation.
    11. Pull Display Targeting Lists from PR Databases, Emails, Twitter, Publications, & More: We are blessed to exist in a marketing world in which email lists, Twitter handles, and other data can be used to target in channels including Facebook, Twitter, and Google. So, scraping Twitter handles and assembling email lists is a deadeye targeting tactic. Use any legal email list. Be careful not to violate GDPR in Europe and emergent US privacy restrictions. Get creative and start scraping 😊.
    12. Include Data Team in Creative Hackathons, Scrums, & Kickoffs: We LOVE our martech and data crews at AIMCLEAR and often include them in marketing hackathons and scrums. Our technical buddies often have the most creative ideas in the room. If not for data teams, how would we think to dynamically drive budget and bids for nasal decongestant by scraping predictive pollen count in an algorithm with historical consumption by region? For a good time, invite the data team into creative sessions as marketers. Integrated? Yep!
    13. Pre-Promote Upcoming Email Blast Targeted Via Custom Audiences. Measure Success in Email Conversion Lift: We can target users in social via email lists, so it only makes sense to soften up email targets with keyword-stamped display campaigns, especially for big ticket sales, such as annual software re-up retention. Measure the outcome from email metrics to average lifetime customer values and other metrics. We’ve seen case studies that prove smart branding to setup email blasts win by jacking conversion and other financial implications.
    14. Crawl Social Sites & Leave Badge Behind. Measure Viewbacks & Connection Requests Accepted: We’ve written about this tactic extensively. It’s particularly powerful today using LinkedIn.
    15. Reverse Engineer Success Traffic via Third-Party Audience Data via Digital Marketing Platforms: Simple on its face, studying psychographic characteristics of visitors to certain website pages or page clusters takes some doing, but is well worthwhile. Set an audience pixel for your DMP of choice and study site visitors sliced by third-party audience data available in that DMP. Study success traffic, meaning they touched the “thank you” page or other web pages that indicate success along the pathway to purchase. Output is a list of representative targeting attributes, sorted by percentage of audience descending. This methodology makes absolute the notion of personas.
    16. Social Amplification to Influencers for Earned Media: It’s been marketing pay dirt for years to target columnists, editors, news anchors, morning show hosts, journalists, correspondents, bloggers, reporters, and other media roles using paid social media. Hell, AIMCLEAR was once cited in a WSJ article about targeting journalists – get this…from a reporter we’d been targeting with paid content about targeting journalists with social ads! (How very meta.)

LinkedIn and Sales Navigator have great paid and organic segmentation. Twitter works well also, given the ability to scrape lists of individuals. Hint: Most media outlets publish Twitter lists of their teams or the lists can be grabbed from mainstream media databases. The riddle is, “If the Facebook Ad earns an authoritative link in the newspaper, was the FB ad actually SEO?  How about if a sponsored Tweet scores an interview on XM radio and a link from a story. Were the FB and Twitter Ads SEO and PR? Yep, sure were.

  1. Boolean GAP on Integrated Public Content Grid. Reverse Engineer Competitive Wins/Losses by Channels, Users, Authority, KWs, & Conversations: Use to construct key messages for PR and content plan. Source every public channel divided by semantics, influence, virality, etc.  Discover human and automated networks which makes the news world go BANG.  Insert your content for the ultimate news jack data surfing.

In cases where these tests may be more expensive, first run sandboxed tests to prove tactics in smaller audience space. Then scale to the sustainable side of larger. For smaller dataset tactics, such as organic site retargeting, you’ll need the volume of running wider open.

Get into an integrated marketing mindset and focus on how the right campaign components can work together. Think of yourself as a marketer first, not a digital or any other kind of marketer. Be channel agnostic, break convention, and invent new mashups.  Make up new best practices. Once you start thinking integrated the floodgates might open. It’s a wonderful time to be a marketer!   

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