It surprises me how many companies still seem to segment their marketing plans into a print campaign here, an online campaign there, and social media as a hastily scrambled together afterthought.

When weighing up the various marketing channels available – print, web, direct email and social media to name just a few – it’s worth thinking about where your customers really are and what they’re doing.

Chances are your customers don’t confine themselves to just one form of media, so neither should you. This means that often there is substantial crossover in the audiences you can reach via print, online and social. It’s the same people, consuming different media at different times of the day and in different ways.

In order to make the most out of this, marketers should;

  1. Aim for a consistent message and brand across all media, but also
  2. Make the most of the different ways your audience behaves with different media.

In other words, you need to integrate your marketing. If you’re working with a trade publisher to reach a particular niche, they should be able to help you develop an integrated campaign to communicate to that audience through a wide range of channels.

So once you’ve got your consistent message, how do you use each channel to get the most out of it?

Print

Print is best for branding, and as it becomes more rare and information online becomes ever more omnipresent, print represents an opportunity to catch your audience when they slow down, take a breath, and absorb the information they’re accessing more deeply. See here for tips on increasing your ROI on print advertising.

Print can also be a very effective way to get in front of leaders and other senior decision makers. Being in a magazine they read is an easier way of getting in front of this audience than pushing information towards them online.

Web

The web is great for searching. If you are advertising on third party sites, make sure you get some quality content on there so you catch customers looking for information. Web banners have got a bad rap in recent times, and while it’s true that click rates for banners are pretty low across the board, effective banners on a high traffic and relevant niche site can still be great for branding as well.

Email direct marketing/newsletters

If you’re looking for clicks, this is the way to go. Newsletters can drive an immediate and measurable response, as long as you give customers a reason to click. And make sure if you are getting the clicks you’re doing something to capture the details at the other end. See here for tips on email newsletter best practice.

Social media

Social media is best used for sharing short, interesting content, ideally something that your connections and followers will actually want to pass on and share with their connections.

Getting useful content onto social media can be a great way to demonstrate thought leadership and attract customers to you rather than you chasing them. Make sure you remember the point of social media.

Ultimately, all these channels are strengthened by having quality content. There is no point trying to attract eyeballs if you’ve got nothing to say when they get there.

The most effective marketing campaigns will integrate as many channels as possible. Be wary of a publisher than cannot offer this.