The final keynote of the day was by the CEO of TopRank marketing, Lee Odden. The title was The Strategic Role of Content, Social & SEO in Integrated Marketing, which really boiled down to “being the best answer” for your customers, wherever they’re asking questions.
He said it’s important to know why they search in the first place, and how you can use that knowledge to make a difference.
Why “Integrated Marketing”?
The amount of data available today can make the customer journey overly complex, and right now, Odden said, there’s a big lie about the journey. We think there’s a linear path from awareness to purchase, but it isn’t like that at all. Or at least not all the time.
So if you’re optimizing for straight-line journey, you’re only targeting 20 or 25% of your potential audience.
He also spoke about how things are changing, and how important digital marketing is becoming. CMOs predict that digital will account for more than 75% of their marketing budget over the next five years. Interestingly, 79% don’t believe they’re ready yet. In other words, there’s a huge opportunity for people with search skills.
Effective digital marketing, then, means being the best answer wherever and wherever customers are looking. If you integrate a range of marketing channels, you can catch them at any point in that non-linear journey.
Points of Influence on the Path to Purpose
A multichannel customer is worth twice as much as a single channel. Most customers are multichannel in their solutions research so marketers need to be multichannel in their offerings to match that behavior.
In other words, you need to know what questions you can answer at different points of influence on the path to purpose.
Content should answer a range of buyer questions in order to deliver a larger ROI, and to illustrate this he used an example from LinkedIn.
LinkedIn used an integrated campaign to answer the question: How can I use LinkedIn for marketing. The results were huge, and they’re still pushing this campaign a year later through several mediums to catch people at different stages. (It’s almost like they’re trying to make the experience last longer, like David suggested.)
It was a way of using content to generate interest and clearly answer questions and invite influencers to be part of the answer.
The thing to remember is that the answer you provide have to be about the customer, not the search.
Customers have dynamic way to find answers, so you need to provide answers in dynamic way.
Being the best answer means you have to deserve their attention by providing useful content, and you have to be findable. Just because you can publish through a wide range of channels, doesn’t mean you should. You need to know where and when to be effective.
Some Professional Opinions
Lee shared some polls that his company conducted to discover what people from some major companies (mostly Fortune 500 types) thought about the future of digital marketing.
Poll #1: Where are your digital marketing priorities?
Leveraging data to inform compelling storytelling
Create a unified integrated digital experience
Cross-platform content that is useful
Poll #2: How important is SEO to Digital
SEO is Marketing, not separate from marketing
SEO is a foundational element of digital marketing and must be integrated
As long as there is a Google, SEO will be a staple in the marketing mix
SEO is important to these big execs, but it has to be part of the whole
SEO is the responsibility of everyone in the organization, not just the SEO person
The Future of Digital Marketing
You can no longer be good at just one or two things to be effective at digital marketing. Aim for 10.
Some of the skills you’ll need include:
Buy cycle stories
Multi-channel content planning
Create, curate, amplify, and activate
Measure and optimize
These skills must be unified in strategy, goals, and resources, and they’re the kind of things that will be effective and usable no matter what the trending name for the strategies are.
He also talked about how, right now, mobile has to be a focus. It’s mobile first, but remember the holistic approach. The website or asset has to work on everything: phones, tablets, and desktops.
To Sum Up, Integrated Marketing Is:
To get the most out of an integrated marketing approach you need to start with strategy and then move through the implementation, program management, and performance optimization steps before starting all over again at implementation.
These steps should be integrated with all the SEO, PPC, email, social, content, and everything else that you might be using in the digital realm.
As a final though, he reminded us all that the opportunities with a strategic view of digital marketing and search are endless. You just have to increase your skills for this new business environment and make sure you integrate multiple marketing channels.