How to Make Your Multi-Channel Digital Campaign the Perfect Fit

In 2005, AdWeek reported Gap’s plans for a multi-channel marketing campaign referred to as “Find Your Favorite Fit.” The campaign suggested that a pair of jeans should suit a person’s tastes as uniquely as a favorite song. Gap partnered with iTunes, which was relatively new at the time, to offer potential customers a free download in exchange for trying on a new style. Along with print advertisements in a number of popular magazines, the campaign included TV ads featuring musicians including Jason Mraz, Joss Stone, Alanis Morrisette, and John Legend, who all recorded songs for a CD that Gap sold in stores.

It was an ambitious multi-channel campaign suited to its time. And yet Gap wasn’t done experimenting with its tone, with how it represented itself to potential customers. The same year, the company produced a TV ad that announced the stores plans to reconfigure the layout of its stores. Although that ad, directed by filmmaker Spike Jonze, had a relatively short run in 2005, it has since enjoyed a greater legacy online:

Every channel has a unique audience. In a comprehensive report on multichannel digital marketing, Digital Doughnut and Episerver found that nearly every marketer “agree[s] that a multi-channel strategy that allows them to target customers is important for their organization.” The same report found that fewer than half of surveyed businesses don’t think they have the skills to use multiple channels effectively, and fewer than one-third feel “highly confident” that they can meet the goals of their own multi-channel campaigns.

“With a multi-channel strategy, you can be where your targeted customers are—whatever channel, platform, or device they may be using at that particular time,” according to the bright minds behind this infographic.

Which is just another way of saying what Gap said a decade ago: Fit matters. With every new channel you add to your digital marketing campaign, you need to know how to fit your message to your audience. As we rev up for our upcoming digital advertising campaign workshop, we thought we’d revisit three of the most popular marketing channels and offer a few tips to help you fit your message to the audience on the other end.

In the stream

Your audience on Twitter—one of every four people online, typically college-educated and almost certainly between the ages of 16 and 50—is in the stream with you. “Because Twitter is an open, real-time network, you can tap into the behaviors, demographics, interests and more of your audience,” writes Lauren Dugan for AdWeek.

To use Twitter effectively, then, you need to keep up with your intended audience. Let’s get literal: If the stream is actually a stream, and everyone in your audience is linking hands to float down the river together, you want to join them.

Companies depend on their own relevance, and Twitter is the ultimate proving ground. As your audience shares in real-time, seek out those demographic cues—those hashtags and keywords—that will grant you access to their circle. That way, you can target your audience with precision.

Or, invite people to your circle. “Your audience probably has multiple touchpoints with your brand, in addition to Twitter,” says Dugan. “So if you are running a contest of any type, promote it across all of your marketing channels—social media as well as your blog, website and wherever else it makes sense. This will ensure that your audience sees the contest wherever they are online.” The same goes for live events, where Dugan suggests using Twitter the same way that many people do when they live-tweet their favorite TV shows. Offer a second glimpse at your organization in real-time.

In the flow

Audience demographics on YouTube are more evenly distributed; for instance, your average YouTube viewer is more likely to be in the 45-54 age range than 18-24. And it pays to know niche demographics: Digiday has a few handy charts that underscore huge differences in audience gender for a number of eclectic subjects, from “soccer” to “East Asian music” to “beauty and style.”

As with Twitter—really, with any channel—knowing where your goals dovetail with your audience’s interests is essential. What is specific to each channel in your digital campaign is how you appeal to those interests. And YouTube’s audience is perhaps the most particular about how they receive advertisements.

YouTube, itself, refers to video’s “emotional power,” and real emotional power requires an audience’s engagement. That first show of time and interest is key, and YouTube is designed to enable marketers to make good on an audience’s investment. Organizations that use TrueView ads can attract only those audience members with an authentic interest (YouTube says “all of the top 100 global brands” have done just that) and use AdWords to remarket videos to a growing, engaged audience.

Once your audience has shown their investment—once they’ve jumped into the flow of your video—then you can adjust the flow accordingly, and sustain your emotional power. Remember Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad? Here’s how Wieden + Kennedy followed it:

Shortly after the debut of this spot, W+K developed an interactive digital campaign capitalising on the popularity of the “Old Spice Guy.” The result was the Old Spice Response Campaign—an experiment in real-time branding featuring the Old Spice Guy posting personal video responses to fans online.
In the end, 186 personal video messages responding to fans’ comments on social sites Facebook, Twitter and others were scripted, filmed and then posted online in just over two and a half days of production, with many of the videos churned out from start to finish in just 10 to 15 minutes. The work went on to record more than 65 million views, making it one of the fastest-growing and most popular online interactive advertising campaigns in history.

In the company of friends

As Facebook approaches demographical ubiquity—as it goes everywhere, for everyone—users feel no less personal about their connections. According to Pew, “91% [of users] say they are Facebook friends with current friends.” Facebook users connect with friends across generations and along neighborhood lines; the channel offers an increasingly accurate window into a version of each user’s real-world social networks.

Accordingly, Facebook users want to trust others, and want their social network to be as personalized and as orderly as their own lives, if not more so. HubSpot runs down a long list of Facebook marketing tips here, but we’ve boiled them down to: Be personal, be organized, and be studious.

“Being recognizable is important to getting found and Liked,” writes Ginny Soskey. Facebook users want to identify you—by your picture and your “About” section and your pinned post. Once an audience recognizes you, then they want to feel recognized by you. The channel, writes Soskey, “has a number of targeting tools that enable you to segment your organic posts by age, gender, education, etc.” But don’t overdo the posts, and don’t forget to use multimedia; if you do, then your audience will think of you as the boring chatterbox at the next neighborhood party.

As for being studious, Soskey says that tracking URLs and Facebook insights should provide you with plenty of data about how and when people respond favorably to your posts. After all, good friends pay attention.