'Integrate,' says DMA

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The Direct Marketing Association's annual June conference has been rapidly evolving of late, morphing in 2010 to the online-focused Digital Marketing Days from an earlier, direct mail-focused incarnation as DM Days. This year, the conference and expo was yet again rebranded. All for One: The Integrated Marketing Summit featured several sessions examining how to link on- and offline channels. “At the end of the day, very few of us are marketing only through one channel; the question is, how to bring all those channels together,” said Larry Kimmel, DMA CEO, in kicking off the June 20-21 event in New York. “The challenge is, in many organizations marketing is "dimensioned,' with different people owning social, mobile, email, search and the like,” Kimmel said. “What data do you ignore, and what data do you collect, and store and leverage to cost- effectively drive business?” DMA is a case in point, he said. After being named DMA's administrative head last July, Kimmel invited email feedback on what the association—facing economic turmoil, an unsettled membership and leadership turnover—could do better to meet its members' needs. Not many emails came in. “We were far too promotional in our messaging,” he said. “We decided to go old-school and started calling 300 to 400 members each day, saying, "These things are available to you, and they may interest you.' “Direct marketing is not a channelcentric strategy,” Kimmel said. “It's whatever works best.” All for One conference sessions reinforced that message, with mobile marketing and the rapid emergence of 2-D barcodes in support of other channels prominent on the agenda. From the increasingly familiar black-and-white Quick Response or Datamatrix barcodes to emerging forms, such as the colorful Microsoft Tag, 2-D barcodes can be employed to link to video, photo galleries, offers, opt-in forms, landing pages—anything available on the Web—to provide richer information than print, outdoor and point of purchase. “More than 1 billion people currently are using smartphones, and we estimate there'll be a crossover between mobile and PC usage by the year 2015,” said Karen Howe, marketing director-Microsoft Tag. “With this technology, marketers can take advantage of pre-existing behavior that people are very comfortable with and deliver compelling experiences.” Mitsubishi Electric Cooling and Heating, the North American distributor of the Japanese company's HVAC equipment, uses 2-D barcodes in product literature sent to vendors. The scanned codes connect smartphones to the company's YouTube videos, which show customer testimonials. “The videos not only help the ultimate consumer know about our HVAC technology but also allow our contractors to showcase themselves as technological experts, since they'll be installing the systems,” said Gabriel Weiss, interactive marketing supervisor at Mitsubishi Electric. IBM Corp. presented an integrated b-to-b campaign on behalf of its new data analytics engine, which may be rolled out to the financial services, traffic control or call center arenas. At the heart of the campaign was giving the machine a persona, “Watson,” and arranging for “him” to challenge human contestants on the TV game show “Jeopardy!” The episodes were heavily promoted in advance, with TV spots on the NFL playoffs, print ads, YouTube videos and plenty of social media outreach. The broadcast took place in February (Watson won), garnering 34.5 million viewers and 1.3 billion impressions. The integrated Watson campaign produced $260 million in pipeline business and $37 million in business closed to date, said Jim Gargan, VP-demand programs at IBM. “Even though the event took place on a game show, it was motivated by business and strategic issues first,” said Brian Fetherstonhaugh, chairman-CEO of OgilvyOne Worldwide, New York, the agency behind the campaign. “IBM wanted to capture the world's imagination with this invention and drive relevancy by demonstrating how IBM is making the world work better. “And lastly, they wanted to sell stuff, things you can buy from IBM, like data analytics,” Fetherstonhaugh said.
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