Jul 15 2010

Unifying Your Digital Content and Marketing Properties

Published by at 1:41 pm under internet,Online marketing

Thinking about the myriad of Internet tools available to digital marketers, brand managers, content publishers and community professionals is enough to make many professionals want to hide under their desk and quiver in fear. I see weekly requests for advice and ‘what tools are out there for…” questions through my social and professional circles, and there’s no doubt that managing all these assets is a daunting task.

Thankfully, there is a strategy that digital professionals can use to wrangle all the madness: Unification.

With more than one audience to contend with it’s imperative that you go where your fans, followers and users are. There’s the corporate website, company blog (or blogs), Facbook and Linkedin pages, Twitter account, YouTube channel, Foursquare presence, the list goes on. The hazard is that it can also dilute your brand and overextend your resources. This is where unification comes in.

Associate Editor Jennifer Van Grove, from Mashable, has a great article on managing company brands on the Web and touches on unification as one of her five main tips. She points out a great use case, Director of Interactive Marketing for the Chicago Bulls, Jeremy Thum. Jeremy and the Chicago Bulls Interactive Marketing Department is redesigning Bulls.com and focusing on pulling all of its online initiatives together with BullsConnect to provide a consistent brand experience across all fronts.

BullsConnect creates

a singular login and commenting experience across their online properties. In the future, they’ll be incentivizing fan activity with a Chicago Bulls points-based loyalty system to draw attention to this unification initiative. Moving forward the team will also work to bring a “Lite” version of BullsTV to their Facebook Page, as well as use it to spruce up their “dormant YouTube channel.

Thum explains that they have and will continue to re-build or build digital marketing components that are unified while still allowing unique opportunities to engage fans on the Web.

David Churbuck, the VP of Global Marketing at Lenovo also has interesting thoughts on this topic, though he refers to it as “recentralization” and focuses on digital marketing.

He describes how, in 2005 and subsequent years, IDG merged customer databases with the creation of IDG Connect. This database and lead generation consolidation assisted with providing a unified customer experience.

I had the opportunity to work on part of the IDGConnect project through the redevelopment and launch of CXO Media’s (part of the IDG family) e-newsletter program. Two of the challenges we had to overcome were sharing and combining CXO’s subscriber database with the other business units and implementing an email service provider (ESP) solution that allowed subscribers from all IDG properties to have one account management experience. My team led the way by choosing and testing a powerful ESP (Lyris) that was customizable and easy enough to distribute and teach to the other units.

Churbuck also touches on the challenges of managing far-flung social networking assets. He aptly points out:

Brands are falling over themselves to establish a presence on the highest populated social networks and sharing services. First: you can’t be everywhere, second, this is where the real chaos is occurring.

This has presented a real challenge for content and marketing teams worldwide. Global brands especially face a tough road. As Churbuck shares, “digital brands don’t have national boundaries.”

Why try to unify? You can’t control what others do and where they do it, but you can at least work toward ensuring a consistent message and experience.

No responses yet

Leave a Reply