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Engage users where they are with omnichannel marketing

How a user-centered, multimedia, B2C marketing strategy doubled the number of new leads and increased existing engagement ten-fold.

 

Challenge: A B2C education and research lab is innovating on their market product offerings without a comprehensive marketing and communications strategy.

The client business unit provides education products, learning resources, and publications directly to customers. They target all levels of logistics, supply chain, and manufacturing professionals. Technology and industry changes drive increased demand for actionable, immediate education and learning products. Building on brand reputation with timely online and in-person product offerings, the group sought to engage with new learners and consumers across disciplines. They aimed to reach new audiences using as many organic channels as possible along with paid search and social.

 Website interactions were unorganized and spread across various websites and social media channels. Each product owner produced their own social media accounts, often resulting in low or no interaction and upkeep with lagging utility for users. The business unit had seven YouTube channels, 11 Twitter accounts, and an ever-growing list of social accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, WhatsApp, et al. Paid channels were incorporated without oversight. Product owners haphazardly launched and stopped campaigns with little unifying brand standards or content curation.

Stakeholders: potential, current, and alumni customers, the client business unit, the brand, and the marketing team.

Role: marketing director

The Solution: Establish a guiding brand strategy using 70/20/10 engagement principles. Consolidate and depreciate social media channels to leave only the most effective and manageable ones. Mine and funnel business stakeholders’ enthusiasm and contributions to amplify content. Streamline paid channels.

Results

Hours of video watched on YouTube

Number of downloads for newly launched podcast

Learners enrolled in online courses

Number of publication downloads/year

%

Annual increase in website traffic

%

Percent increase in online sales over two years

The wealth of content created by our unit stakeholders served as the inspiration for our strategy journey. We interviewed staff to understand their areas of expertise, passion for subject material, and aspirations for their audiences. Next, we analyzed LinkedIn, YouTube, blog, web, and social traffic histories to understand target audiences for all unit accounts. Beyond traffic, we took a deep dive into content consumed to create personas for three of our primary target audiences: college-age and young professionals seeking instant knowledge (the StackOverflow crowd); mid-career professionals facing new management and leadership challenges (the online professional development crowd); and domain educators, both competitors, and collaborators (the secret shopper crowd.)

With staff needs as a guide, we created a brand style guide and workshops for unit contributors on writing for the public and speaking to the media. With target audience consumption habits as a guide, we consolidated multi-media channels. We moved the unit blog from a stand-alone site to Medium, tightly branding it with all other channels (YT, LI, podcast). Through email and social, we sounded a regular drumbeat, giving individual unit leaders ownership of the voice of their channel. We communicated in the first person, not the third. We became an ad hoc production company driving multimedia content to social, video, and podcasts. We created a graphic-led press kit, unified contact email, and regularly issued press releases and briefs to tease out news media.

Overall, media inquiries increased from one per month to more than one per week. Content downloads, requests for collaboration, and inquiries about custom products continue to multiply.

Design Principles

For the unit contributor, the solution should only minimally alter existing processes and place unit contributors in front of the media. The marketing team became the editorial team for the unit. Our content principle followed the 70/20/10 guideline. Content should be: seventy percent useful, actionable content in the form of articles, multi-media, FAQ, etc.; twenty percent “look what we’ve accomplished” and “I was honored to join the panel” styled content, and 10% promotions and sales. For the end user, the solution should illustrate the brand’s quality, provide immediate access to learning, provide a sense of familiarity with the people behind the content, and allow the user to appear knowledgeable in front of their peers.

Software

Adobe Creative Suite, Google Analytics, InVision, WordPress, Zoom Webinars

Channels

Cross-platform podcasts, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter, websites, YouTube

Methods & Frameworks

  • Competitive analysis
  • User interviews
  • Personas
  • Data mining
  • User training
  • A/B testing

Strategy Overview

(click the image to download 84 KB pdf.)

strategy overview cover

Selected News Placements (2022)

Selections from Brand Guide

(click the image to download a 6.4 MB pdf.)

samples from brand guide

Branding across platforms

podcast cover art brand strategy
podcast cover art brand strategy
podcast cover art brand strategy

YouTube Growth and Engagement

youtube growth pattern
youtube growth pattern