Key Takeaway from Election 2012: Integrated Marketing Works

It was a long night waiting for the election results. But one result was clear, integrated marketing works. The Obama and Romney campaigns both used targeted, integrated approaches to reach their audiences.

The 2008 election was touted as the social media election. In 2012, it was about weaving a cohesive digital strategy across social, web, mobile and ecommerce.

Small businesses and startups looking to gain visibility for their businesses often chase the latest technology trend. They’re on Facebook and Twitter and now are trying to be more mobile. While experimenting with digital media is a good idea, it’s important to seek out resources for tips on best practices (and there is plenty of free info online). Customers are savvy and they want businesses to engage with them on multiple platforms, as long as the content is useful and relevant.

So, if you have a small marketing budget where should your dollars go? For the best return on your investment, take a lesson from the presidential campaigns and think about an integrated approach blending social, mobile, content and traditional marketing tactics.

A recent study by local media and marketing research firm BIA/Kelsey found small businesses, on average, are using 5.8 different types of media to promote their businesses–from a Facebook page (used by 51.7%) and Twitter (22%), to email marketing (25.3%) and online deals (8%).

Of course, you don’t need to use all these media. And you don’t need to spend a lot of money if you know your customers and how to reach them. Often times when businesses approach a new channel, such as social, they employ the same tactics they would on another medium. Mobile users interact with the technology differently than your website visitors, who respond differently than those in your social networks.

You must target your message to each audience segment and each channel to reach people in the right way. Today’s consumers want you to understand them and know how they want to be engaged and what information and products and services will appeal to them.

It may sound like a tall order, but it comes down to research and taking the time to listen. Your current customers are your best resource for helping you to reach out to new customers. So interact with them, listen to them and learn from them. Today’s business communication needs to be a conversation and not a megaphone.

So, regardless of your political leanings, understand that if you take an integrated approach to your marketing and offer customers consistent, relevant information, through the communication channel they want to receive it, your business can win too.

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