Research Says Add New Media, But Don’t Drop The Old: Study Of Over 400 Successful Marketing Campaigns.

Last fall my colleagues and I published research in the International Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications. Our study “IMC and The Effies” analyzed integrated marketing communications touchpoints used in 421 Effie Award-winning campaigns from 1998-2010 – campaigns awarded for marketing effectiveness.

In case you are not familiar with them, Effie Award-winners are proven success stories. Each campaign has supported its effectiveness with verifiable data that demonstrates it has met its marketing and advertising objectives. As indicated below, what we saw was an increased use in the number of marketing touchpoints from roughly two (such as TV and print) to six (such as TV, print, radio, PR, Interactive, Consumer Involvement).

The Number of Touchpoints for a Successful Effie Campaign has Increased
The number of consumer touchpoints for a Successful Effie Campaign has Increased

Of those communications touchpoints, public relations, interactive marketing, guerilla marketing and consumer involvement showed noteworthy increases over time. Over the last 13 years, marketing has changed dramatically and the practice of IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications) has increased greatly. Successful Effie Award marketing has increasingly used more multimedia communications campaigns and less single-media touchpoint campaigns.

Effie Awards
Traditional media used to rule, but now new media is a key ingredient to marketing success.

What can we learn from this? 

First, marketing campaigns should be built on multimedia touchpoints. I talk a lot about the power of social media, but what you will notice here is that interactive (social media) alone is not the key ingredient to success. Traditional media such as TV is no longer the dominate medium, yet it has not gone away. Integrated multimedia efforts are needed today to break through the media clutter and reach an increasingly fragmented audience. Have you been so caught up in the social media hype that you have forgotten traditional advertising media?

Second, public relations and interactive media play an increasingly important role in effective campaigns and should be considered as a part of an integrated multimedia marketing campaign. It’s hard to ignore digital efforts, but are you leveraging PR to its full extent? Public relations is especially important for Startups. Can you hold an event around your product or campaign? How can you turn your marketing into a news story? I saw Alex Bogusky speak at an AWEEK Creativity conference years ago and he said CP&B always tried to create PR-able Advertising. The result was viral successes such as BK Subservient Chicken to their Mini campaign.

Finally, our study over 400 successful campaigns gave another insight. In addition to public relations and interactive media, marketers should also consider direct email, design, cinema, sponsorships, guerrilla, and consumer involvement media. Any surprises here? You’re probably using email, but what about sponsorships? Sponsoring local activities ties into PR and event tactics. Sponsoring non-profit / charity events that your target cares about taps into the increasing influence of cause marketing. Consumer involvement is word-of-mouth, consumer generated media and viral, which should be the fuel adding to your integrated flame.

The Super Bowl is a prime example of these changes – watch the TV ad hype leading up to the game in the next couple of weeks. Even though the Super Bowl is one of the last remaining mass media outlets, advertisers now depend on pre- and post-game public relations and digital media tactics to generate buzz outside the actual broadcast. Successful marketers who have won Effie Awards are adding more communication touchpoints over the years, but not dropping traditional outlets. So as we continue to hype up new media, don’t forget the old.

Mom’s Don’t Tweet But They Do Watch The Voice And #VoiceSave Through Their Teens

The other night I was watching The Voice and admiring their innovative use of social media to engage their audience. With a Web staff of 10 constantly updating 110 Web pages about the hosts and contestants, the Hollywood Reporter said in 2011 that the NBC hit was already closing in on “Glee” with user engagement. The Voice provides engagement by: fans tweeting their favorite finalists and coaches (often responding), the stars rally viewers for votes; finalists solicit their followers for advice, and producers mine the scroll of memes for comments on song selection, lighting, or Carson Daly’s hair.

This year fans got another social media treat. As explained by Entertainment Weekly – Voting via Twitter, fans can prevent one of the bottom three singers from going home when Carson gives a signal to start casting votes. For five minutes, you can save your artists by tweeting their first name with hashtag #VoiceSave. Retweeting is a vote, but only one tweet per ID. The singer with the most tweet-votes remains, and the other two go home.

I put this live Twitter voting to the test with one of my local favorites James Wolpert. While tweeting and retweeting #VoiceSaveJames I noticed something strange. A lot of people kept saying they were “tweeting this for their mom.” A look at some of the tweets I collected in the image to the right will show you what I mean.

My theory was that moms watch The Voice, but are not on Twitter and want their teens to save their favorite singer. This thought does seem to pan out when you look at the latest eMarketer report on Twitter use. Between 2010 and 2013, the percent of internet users on Twitter more than doubled for every adult age group except over 65. But as you can see in the chart on the left, 30% of Twitter users are in the 18-29 age group compared to only 17% for 30-49 year olds and 13% for 50-64 year olds.

And who watches The Voice? Recent Neilson numbers reveal that the show continues to win the ratings war among the key 18-49 year old TV demographic – beating out the other networks. And it seems moms are watching with their teens.

HubShout, a SEO reseller and online marketing firm, noticed all this social media activity on The Voice as well. In fact, they developed a SMAP (Social Media Average Points) score that is reported as having predicted the winners for season three and four. A couple of weeks ago HubShout used the SMAP system, to evaluate the remaining season five contestants and predicted the winners to be: Caroline Pennell, Matthew Schuler, and Jacquie Lee.

I guess hind sight is 20/20 and social media monitoring isn’t perfect, but you don’t have to be on Twitter to engage with Twitter and your favorite TV program. How can marketers leverage these social insights during commercial breaks or via product placement? Package goods marketers may have been staying away from Twitter because most of their prime target of middle age moms are not on Twitter, but perhaps we should follow the producers of The Voice’s lead and not let that stop us. Could a food brand consumed by teens, but bought by moms leverage a Voice sponsorship and Twitter campaign?