Choosing the best channels to serve your purpose and engage your audience.
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Choosing the best channels to serve your purpose and engage your audience.

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A handy process to make sure your online marketing supports business goals and meets audience needs.

A handy process to make sure your online marketing supports business goals and meets audience needs.

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  • That’s probably why finding the right distribution channel -- making effective use of all sorts for media -- is one of the Top 5 challenges facing PR and communications pros today, according to a PR Newswire survey from June. \n
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  • Corporate websites, newsletters and blogs. Press releases for trade, business, consumer, broadcast media. Email and direct mail. Social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Search. Whitepapers. And that’s just a few of them. \n\n
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  • Here’s what I mean, way back in the day, the only “media” was cave walls. So you had to pick the right cave so the right people would get the right message. Otherwise, your tribesmen could become the main ingredient in a sabertooth tiger’s lunch. This medium has morphed into what we today call infographics.\n
  • Once we developed language, “word of mouth” came into being. So now you could tell people which cave had the best information and which ones didn’t, or share the information with your tribe directly. Social media has made word-of-mouth marketing cool again in the form of personal referrals and “likes”.\n
  • Writing came along and a limited number of people were in control of the message. But, like the caves, you still had to post your information in the right place if you wanted to reach people. Text is still the dominant communications tool.\n\n
  • The first huge technological huge leap forward in media was the printing press. Newspapers, magazines, brochures, broadsheets, flyers could now be mass produced – and made to address a broad or targeted audience. Contrary to popular belief, print is not dead.\n\n
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  • Now let’s not forget the original “wireless”: radio. Yet another way to spread the word nearby or far-and-wide. We now had more options for reaching more people than ever before. Today, we’ve got satellite radio and HD radio so that there’s a place on the dial for almost any interest.\n
  • After World War II, TV spread across households in the US and Canada, creating yet another medium for reaching an audience. As we all learned from MadMen, this dramatically changed the advertising and marketing landscape, not to mention the newsroom. Later, the proliferation of cable channels blew it wide open. Like radio, today there’s a TV channel for every interest from finance to football.\n\nSo by the mid-1960s, PR and marketing were feeling more challenged to figure out the best mix of TV, radio, print (and all the subsets of it). We already had our hands full! Little did we know.\n\n\n
  • In 1969, the Internet was born and the world of media was about to change enormously. It was just for government types early on, so it took a while to catch on with the general public. In the late 80s/early 90s, the worldwide web was created and email and websites were the “new” media. That was just the beginning. \n\n
  • \nBy the turn of this century, the web was bringing us more channels (with more coming and going every day) -- websites, blogs, podcasts, webcasts, video- and slide-sharing, social media, social networking and I’ve probably even forgotten something.\n\nSome media have probably been launched and killed in the time I’ve been talking.\n\n\n\n\n
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  • And while we’re not in danger of being eaten by a saber tooth tiger if we don’t get the right media mix, the pressure to choose the right channels can make you feel a little like a crazy person.\n\nWe’re all under budget and personnel pressure every day to do more with fewer resources and in less time than ever. Everyone’s telling us we need to be on Facebook or GooglePlus, but it feels too new, too unproven, too something. And with downsizing still going on in this crappy economy, who wants to screw up in such a public way? \n
  • We’re all under budget and personnel pressure every day to do more with fewer resources and in less time than ever. Everyone’s telling us we need to be on Facebook or GooglePlus, but it feels too new, too unproven, too something. And with downsizing still going on in this crappy economy, who wants to screw up in such a public way? \n
  • Let’s look at our list of challenges. \n\nFinding time \nAligning with marketing & sales \nChoosing the right media channels\nBudgeting/cost-effectiveness\nGetting results\n\nAll this stuff stresses us out, doesn’t it? \n\n
  • How can we know which media are the “right” media? Here’s the truth: we can’t until we’ve chosen. We need a strategy for sorting through all the media options and picking the ones that allow us to support business goals. \n
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  • Might make things easier, huh?\n\nHere’s a story from a highly-regulated industry like yours: pharmaceuticals. Though your products and services are very different, the legal and regulatory hurdles around conveying information are very similar.\n\nHere’s how: \n\nBrainstorm all reasonable media options \nFilter them through our purpose\nFilter the remaining meida through our target audience(s)\nChallenge selections\nSelect a media mix that meets goals and audiences’ needs\n\nMight make things easier, huh?\n
  • Purpose is why you’re doing this in the first place, right? What’s the desired response you want after someone has consumed the content? What do you want them to think or do? \n\nDon’t do anything else if you can’t answer this!\n
  • Same for audience. If you can’t visualize the person/people you’re addressing, don’t pass go. Beyond thinking about *who* you’re addressing, think about where the get information.\n
  • Here’s a story from a highly-regulated industry like yours: pharmaceuticals. Though your products and services are very different, the legal and regulatory hurdles around conveying information are very similar.\n\nMy client was doing a webinar designed to educate emergency room personnel on treating potential rabies exposures. The secondary goal was to encourage selection of the company’s post-exposure medication. The event would be aired twice. Great. But we needed a way to promote the live webcast and drive people to the content afterward.\n\n
  • Might make things easier, huh?\n\nHere’s a story from a highly-regulated industry like yours: pharmaceuticals. Though your products and services are very different, the legal and regulatory hurdles around conveying information are very similar.\n\nSo I got a cross-functional team together:\n\nProduct Director\nMarketing Manager\nPR Manager\nSales Lead \nLMR Rep\nVideo Producer\n\n
  • Might make things easier, huh?\n\nHere’s a story from a highly-regulated industry like yours: pharmaceuticals. Though your products and services are very different, the legal and regulatory hurdles around conveying information are very similar.\n\n\n
  • Together, we brainstormed all the ways we could spread the word.\n\nVideo & Slide-sharing\nProfessional Groups\nTrade & Traditional Media\nSocial Media\nAffiliate & Partner Sites\nMarketing & Sales Materials\nPresentations \nDirect Mail & Email\nWord of Mouth\nPosters\nCorporate Web\n\n
  • Not all were relevant. So we culled the list to find the best media distribution possible by evaluating each one against our two primary criteria: Our purpose and our audience.\n\nFirst, we thought about which media were most appropriate for our purpose: educating medical personnel about rabies treatments. That took sales and marketing materials off the list. \n
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  • Next, we focused on our audience and where they go to get information about educational opportunities. \n\nThe PR manager suggested taking traditional media off the list. \n\nThe marketing manager said there wasn’t enough evidence that our target audience looked for reliable information on public slide-sharing sites like SlideShare, so we deleted that one. \n\nAnd the product director didn’t believe there was any value in using social sharing since the company had no social media presence of its own, so we axed that, too.\n
  • We could have stopped there. After all, we had a rationale for choosing each of those channels because we had vetted it ensure it served our purpose and was appropriate for our audience. But we added a final gut-check just to be sure: We questioned our assumptions:\n\n1.Are there any channels we “should” use (because of existing relationships, expectations or policy)?2.What channels should we avoid because of real or potential legal and regulatory issues? 3.Does our audience actually seek information via these channels?Those three questions work for any project. I also asked an additional one in this case: 4.Is there a way to encourage social sharing without using a client-side account?\n\nExploring these changed the mix. We had existing relationships with state health departments who could distribute materials for us and we knew that healthcare providers were more likely to trust information coming from this kind of source. We also decided that social sharing by associations, state groups, speakers and attendees would be a source of trusted referrals. That put social media back on the list.The client felt uncomfortable putting the clips on public videosharing sites, so that option was jettisoned. The sales team said that posters were great, but there are usually so many that nobody really sees them. And it’s unlikely that in an emergency, medical professionals are going to consult them. So they were deleted. \n
  • That left us with professional groups, affiliate and partner sites, corporate web, video-sharing, posters and word of mouth.\n
  • We could have stopped there. After all, we had a rationale for choosing each of those channels because we had vetted it ensure it served our purpose and was appropriate for our audience. But I added a final gut-check just to be sure: We questioned our assumptions:\n\nWhat channels should we avoid because of real or potential legal and regulatory issues? \n\nDoes our audience actually seek information via these channels?\n\nThose three questions work for any project. Take a second to write them down. \n\nI also asked an additional one in this case: \n\nIs there a way to encourage social sharing without needing the client to dive into social media?\n\nExploring these questions changed the mix. \n
  • The PR director mentioned that the company had existing relationships with state health departments who could distribute materials for us. \n\nThe marketing director added that healthcare providers were more likely to trust information coming from this kind of source, along with the associations. \n\nThat led me to suggest that social sharing by associations, state groups, speakers and attendees would be a source of trusted referrals. That put social media back on the list. \n\nThe LMR rep felt uncomfortable putting the clips on public videosharing sites, so that option was jettisoned. \n\nThe sales lead said that posters were great, but there are usually so many that nobody really sees them. And it was unlikely that in an emergency, medical professionals are going to consult them. So they were deleted. \n\nThe end result was a media matrix that we felt really good about – and that would enable us to use the best media most effectively. \n
  • The end result was a media matrix that we felt really good about – and that would enable us to use the best media most effectively. Here’s what it looked like. \n\n•Corporate Web: Dedicated page for viewing video content and requesting additional information, along with a FAQ•State Agencies & Professional Groups: Webinar announcement, social sharing guidance and links to corporate mini site•Affiliate/Partner Sites: Videos posted on WebMD, World Rabies Day website and association and agency websites•WOM/Social Media: Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook updates (for professional associations, speakers and webinar attendees)\nHere’s what it looked like: \n\nCorporate Web: Dedicated page for viewing video content and requesting additional information, along with a FAQ\n\nState Agencies & Professional Groups: Webinar announcement, social sharing guidance and links to corporate mini site\n\nAffiliate/Partner Sites: Videos posted on WebMD, World Rabies Day website and association and agency websites\n\nWord of Mouth/Social Media: Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook updates (for professional associations, speakers and webinar attendees)\n
  • Because we invested time at the start of the process to vet media distribution, our efficiency and effectiveness were improved. \n\nWe recorded the webinar so we could easily make clips of the most important information and slides for use on partner sites and the corporate website. \n\nWe created a set of social media status updates for use by professional associations, attendees and event speakers to link to the live webinar and to static assets.\n\n
  • The results have been great so far: More than half (about 120) of the agencies and associations we reached out to promoted the webinar and the mini-site via newsletters, blog posts and social media. We had a record number of people view the live webinar. The clips will debut on affiliate sites later this month.\n
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  • So what can we learn from this example? \n\nCreating a multidisciplinary team of people to use a systematic approach to media selection will save time and money by being more purpose-driven and effective. \n\nThe process works for a specific activity, as in our example, or an entire PR program.\n\nWe have a clear rationale for choosing the channels, so it’s easier to make a strong case and measure the results. And if we miss the mark a bit, we can absorb and implement new data faster and better. So the next time through the process, we’ll have more information for even better decision-making. \n\nI also like this approach because it allows us to get input from key stakeholders early in the process. For instance, in the pharma model, we pulled in a sales rep, the marketing director and someone from legal to help us with the process. Their input was critical in helping us choose media that would support marketing activities (or help identify opportunities for that), add value for the sales team and keep us from creating legal and regulatory problems. That’s a huge time-saver, not to mention relationship-builder!\n
  • This more strategic approach has additional benefits. The most problematic issues facing communicators are also eased, if not solved, with a system.\n\nAllocating time to manage content\n\nCreating content that leads to desired behaviors \nAligning content strategy and marketing goals \n
  • We can use the process to ease the pain of these challenges.\n
  • 1. Allocating time to manage content: A good process will save you time on the front end with better planning, and on the back end because you’ll have less retooling to do because of a miscue. 2.Creating content that leads to desired behaviors: You can’t get your target audience to act if you’re not putting purpose-driven content where they can find it. 3. Aligning content strategy and marketing goals: Involving a marketing/sales person in the selection process helps identify conflicts and synergies ahead of time so activities are more in sync. Bottom line: You can avoid time-wasting miscues and streamline the production process with by using the media matrix.\n
  • Remember to: \n\nInvolve representatives from marketing, legal, sales and others (maybe even CRM)\n\nThink big and wide at the beginning\n\nUse purpose and audience to narrow your choices\n\nGut check options\n\nUse this process for big ideas or specific pieces of content\n\nHave fun\n
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Choosing the best channels to serve your purpose and engage your audience. Choosing the best channels to serve your purpose and engage your audience. Presentation Transcript

  • Your Media MatrixChoosing the best channels to serve your purpose and engage your audience. Margot Carmichael Lester Content Tycoon © 2011 The Word Factory/TTMS
  • There’s no shortage of info to share about our companies. The trick is to find the mosteffective and efficient media for the job. That can be a challenge.
  • Biggest Challenges for PR/Comms Folks
  • 40%of us find it challenging to identify efficient and cost effective media distribution.
  • 35% of us are flummoxed trying to identifythe “right” mix of media.
  • The media might be new, but the problem of findingthe right one for our message is not.
  • We went nearly 100,000 years withonly a few ways to communicate.
  • CaveDrawings
  • Wordof Mouth
  • Text
  • Printing
  • Up till now, developments happened at glacial speed. All that was about to change.
  • In the late 19th and early 20thcenturies, new media developments began happening really fast.
  • Radio
  • TV
  • TheInternet
  • SocialChannels
  • In the matter of a few decades, the numbers of channels increaseddramatically. And so did the ways to use them.
  • We now have more ways tocommunicate than ever, making it harder than ever to choose.
  • This person is clearly nuts.
  • We’re all underpressure to do morewith less and do itfaster.New channels areunproven.And with pink slipsflying, who wants toscrew up?
  • Challenges that Stress Us Out• Finding time• Aligning with marketing & sales• Choosing the right media channels• Budgeting/cost-effectiveness• Getting results
  • How can we know which media are the “right” media? (Here’s the truth:we can’t until we choose and use.)
  • By focusing on the purpose – the desired result –and the needs of the audience, we’re more likely to choose the most effective media.
  • Here’s how:• Form a cross-functional team• Brainstorm reasonable media options• Filter them through our purpose• Filter through our target audience(s)• Challenge our assumptions• Select the final media mix
  • So let’s talk a second about “purpose”.
  • And about audience, while we’re at it.
  • Story TimeA tale from another heavily regulated industry
  • Form• Product Director• Marketing Lead• PR Lead• Sales Rep• Legal/Medical Review Rep• Outside Consultant (me)
  • Here’s how:• Form a cross-functional team• Brainstorm reasonable media options• Filter them through our purpose• Filter through our target audience(s)• Challenge our assumptions• Select the final media mix
  • Brainstorm
  • Filter
  • What Didn’t Make the Cut• Sales Materials• Marketing Materials• Presentations
  • Filter
  • What Didn’t Make the Cut• Social Media• Traditional Media• Trade Media• Slide-sharing• Direct Mail/Email
  • What’s Left?
  • Question Assumptions• What channels “should” we use?• Do any media create legal or regulatory issues?• What outlets does our audience expect to use?
  • Question Assumptions• Strong relationships with state health agencies• LMR issues with public video-sharing• Posters impractical for EDs• Social sharing/WOM via associations, state orgs, speakers and sales team
  • The Final Media Matrix
  • Efficiency and effectiveness wereimproved because we invested time to vet our media options.
  • Results• 120 associations and agencies promoted the webinar and site• A record number of people “attended” the webinar• The clips will debut on WebMD and WorldRabiesDay.com this month
  • The End(of Story Time)
  • A cross-functional team using this purpose-driven process will:• Choose more effective media.• Save time and money.• Increase buy-in.• Ensure goal/activity integration.• Get better results by reaching the right people through the right media.
  • Biggest Challenges for PR/Comms Folks
  • This process offers bonus “savings”• Form a cross-functional team• Brainstorm reasonable media options• Filter them through our purpose• Filter through our target audience(s)• Challenge our assumptions• Select the final media mix
  • Bonus Items• 59% Time to manage content. Better planning = less retooling.• 58% Content that leads to desired behaviors. Purpose-driven content where audience can find it.• 38% Aligned media and marketing goals: Fewer conflicts, more synergy
  • Final Thoughts• Use for big ideas or specific content• Involve diverse stakeholders• Think big and wide at the beginning• Narrow choices with purpose and audience• Question assumptions• Have some fun
  • The Bottom Line This purpose-driven approachlets us work faster, choose smarter and get better results.
  • Thanks for your time. Let’s stay in touch. Margot Carmichael Lester Content Tycoon margot@thewordfactory.com @margot_lester