If you’ve ever owned, built or worked on a house, you know that the proverbial whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Each part of a house—the bricks, wood, carpet, plumbing and floors—has its own value. It’s only when we combine each part to form a cohesive dwelling does the house’s value increase dramatically.
The same can be said for creating and implementing an integrated, cross-channel marketing plan. While promoting your association’s products or services through one channel can create awareness and drives conversions, marketing your brand and products through multiple channels increases awareness and conversions exponentially. According to a July 2013 survey of business-to-business (B2B) marketers and media users by American Business Media, professionals are primarily going online for industry information, then they turn to primary sources (company-produced info), before looking at print sources and events. Publishing the same or related information in multiple ways is standard.
How marketing integration works
Shifting from a narrow, singular marketing focus to an integrated approach can benefit your association in many ways:
- By increasing demand for more content, which results in more robust online and print publications, greater reader enjoyment and more advertising space.
- By increasing the number of advertising pieces through which your industry supporters can promote themselves. (According to ABM, the average B2B marketing team allocates 50 percent of its budget to integrated programs. Just 4 percent of B2B marketers rely only on one channel).
- By multiplying the opportunities for your association to earn non-dues revenue.
- By allowing your association to reach members through the devices and platforms they prefer using.
- By enhancing your membership value proposition through improved and expanded content.
Tracy Tompkins and Alex DeBarr talk more about integrated communications.
How two associations are succeeding
Two great examples of integrated marketing come from the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Both associations maintain an integrated marketing strategy that combines a healthy mix of new media channels, including websites, social media, video and email marketing, with more traditional platforms, such as print, direct mail and event marketing, to reach members with industry information and to encourage association involvement.
One particularly effective example of integrated marketing from AGC was an infographic that presented information from a 2012 association survey about membership composition, an intriguing topic to AGC members. Infographics have become increasingly popular for online marketing world because of their SEO benefits (but that’s for another article).
The plan to promote the information within the survey started with creating a print and online infographic that would be pushed out through multiple channels and all link back to a more detailed article about the survey on the association’s magazine website, constructormagazine.com and on news.agc.org. The goal of this campaign was three-fold:
1. To provide relevant and interesting information to readers,
2. To increase traffic to the Constructor Magazine website, and
3. To increase overall awareness of the Constructor brand.
When the 2012 July/August issue of Constructor shipped and the digital edition went live, the electronic version of the infographic was immediately pushed out through website ads, AGC eNewsletters, social media and other AGC emails. Not only were readers engaged and interested in the infographic’s and website article’s content, but they could find the information in multiple places. ConstructorMagazine.com saw a nearly 40 percent increase in traffic, and the “member makeup” article was the most-visited article on the site for July and August 2012. The campaign was successful for two primary reasons: great content, and thoughtful timing and coordination.
MHEDA also enjoyed integrated marketing success by promoting a series of speakers from its 57th Annual Convention. MHEDA wanted members who could not attend the event to benefit from the knowledge presented in person. After the conference, a coordinated series of five emails was sent to all MHEDA members. The first announced the launch of the online MHEDA TV channel. The remaining four contained one video from a convention keynote speaker and a link to MHEDA TV. Beginning one month after the convention, the emails were sent one week apart—frequently enough to sustain interest in convention content, but not so often as to be annoying. Once on the MHEDA TV site, members could easily click to MHEDA’s main website and to other publications that also recapped the convention and the topics discussed there.
From June 6, when the first email was delivered, to the last email five weeks later, the individual convention videos were viewed more than 700 times. Visits to MHEDA TV increased 134 percent over the previous period. About 64 percent of visitors were new to the site. Today, MHEDA TV enjoys a 39 percent return visitor rate.
All convention videos (from all years) are permanently available on MHEDA’s video channel for on-demand viewing, which allows convention attendees to watch and absorb speakers’ topics again, and new viewers can learn from the content for the first time. Four of the 57th annual conference videos hold the top spots for most-viewed videos on MHEDA TV, and the multiple pushes of video content have resulted in more than 19,500 visits to videos.mheda.org from more than 12,000 individuals since July 2012.
MHEDA continues to publish and promote its convention videos yearly through email and social media because the feedback from members about the availability of this content is positive.
Consistent brand awareness and thoughtful messaging across multiple platforms keeps association information top of mind for members and industry professionals. As a result, associations have the potential to enjoy more advertising dollars and increase their non-dues revenue.
So the next time you’re in a meeting to discuss marketing efforts, think about what will really make an impact on your bottom line and try an integrated approach. Chances are, the results will drive the success of your association more than you think.
Brianna Martin is a senior marketing account specialist with Naylor.