How To Design An Omnichannel Marketing Planning

Change is a constant in life – and therefore in business too. The digital marketing world changes especially fast, and every year something new and big promises a steady stream of customers or of event attendees. But if you want to meet KPIs and see consistent results, it makes sense to invest in a bullet-proof digital strategy instead of dabbling with whatever happens to be trendy at any given point. 

To be effective, such a strategy must be based on omnichannel marketing: the use of multiple channels that complement each other and create a consistent user experience. The idea is simple: don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and go where your clients already are. Let’s take a detailed look at how cross channel marketing can benefit you, and at the best ways of implementing this type of marketing campaign.

RELATED: Developing Social Media Strategies for Conferences and Events

The Benefits Of Omni-Channel Marketing Plans

An omni-channel marketing plan allows you to reach customers wherever they are. And because you can deliver your message using their preferred medium or platforms, your chances of achieving organic customer engagement are higher.

Omnichannel marketing allows the integration of several digital marketing strategies and takes the pressure off operational tasks. Email marketing, customer acquisition and retention, content marketing, or social media campaigns are no longer stand-alone tasks, but instead, form an integrated marketing strategy that is aligned with your business objectives.

Image Source: SmartInsights

RELATED: Event Marketing Strategies to Avoid

If correctly implemented, a cross channel strategy is easier to manage. It can also be easier to monitor the audience response – for example, email unsubscribe link rates. This data facilitates making data-informed adjustments to continuously expand your reach. 

Also, omnichannel marketing works for businesses of all sizes, because the focus isn’t so much on resources or marketing budget, but on knowing your audience inside out and on delivering an impactful message. 

How To Design An Omnichannel Marketing Planning

Omnichannel marketing relies on diversifying marketing communications across multiple channels. And to communicate with potential customers, first, you need to know where to find them and go there yourself.

  • Start by researching the most-used channel’s platforms by your target audience. This could be a mix of email, web-based advertising, social media content, TV ads, blog posts, mobile apps, etc. Whichever you plan to target, remember to do it ensuring your strategy is not redundant, but complementary. 
  • The platform you use may vary, but your message must stay consistent. Find the overlap between your brand identity and goals, and the needs of your audience. Then, make information available at different places where the audience may come across it, either accidentally or because they’re looking for it. 
  • Of course, this means you must have a very granular idea of who is your audience, what they want/need, and where they shop or look for information. A customer persona is a great starting point to determine the ideal engagement model to target.
  • Next, identify the touchpoints. These are every interaction your potential customer has with your brand or message. Identifying them involves seeing the entire process as a journey or an experience –  a holistic view of customer acquisition that takes into account obstacles, needs, and opportunities. Here you can see an example that applies to the MICE industry, but of course, this varies from sector to sector.

Touchpoints meeting industry

Image Source: Weemss

  • Remember that omnichannel marketing can be implemented both online and offline. For example, you can combine digital advertising with ads in a physical location. At events, this could mean using both physical banners and event apps. The right mix is different for each industry, so testing is key. 
  • Irrespective of your industry, never underestimate the importance of social and mobile. The most visited sites in the world are social media sites including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. These are not only used for leisure, but also as a source of information and so they are useful tools to reach a targeted audience. As for mobile use, more than 51% of online traffic comes from mobile devices -surely a channel that no business owner wants to miss!
  • On that note, a landing page will direct users from mobile and social platforms to your website. Landing pages play a crucial role in lead generation and conversion. Research suggests they can increase conversion by 300%, and the figures are even better if your landing page features video content.
  • Lastly, take advantage of technology. Digital technology can improve the efficiency of your omni-channel marketing strategy. For example, marketing automation can save precious time so you can focus on analysing results and tweaking your campaign, and their implementation is feasible even for SMEs. If you can pair marketing automation and CRM tools, so much the better!

RELATED: Nine Ninja Tips To Stand Out At Conferences And Business Events

Conclusion

Omnichannel marketing is a profitable strategy that every business owner or event organiser should know about. This type of strategy relies on personalised and targeted communications that capture your audience’s attention wherever they happen to be. The benefits are many: they can boost awareness, create a strong positive impression, generate leads, and streamline your operations. 

If you’d like to establish a strong presence in multiple platforms so you can deliver the best possible customer experience, creating an Omnichannel marketing campaign is the next step. Get in touch and we’ll start planning the most effective strategy for your business straight away.

Getting Started With The Digitalization Of Associations

This article about the digitalization of associations was first published on Boardroom, provided by IAPCO, author Frank M. Waechter, Founder and CEO of fmwaechter.com | Digital Marketing.

According to the World Economic Forum, digitalization is one of the key disruptors of the 21st-century. This process has caused profound changes in the way we interact and go about our lives. And has also transformed the nature of work and organizations. Ernst & Young suggests that the digital transformation is here to stay, and so it’s essential for associations to jump on board, embrace the digital mindset, and bring added value to their members – especially to new generations who are digital natives.

Digitalization, and thus digitalization of associations, is already underway, so embracing it is not a matter of if, but instead of when and how. In this post, we take a look at the most effective strategies and solutions that associations can use to achieve this.

Related: Digital Transformation in the Meetings and Events Industry

Should Your Association Go “All Digital”?

The first step is to kick-start a digital transformation strategy is deciding what to implement, how to do it, and on which time frame. Although it might be tempting to go “all-in” on digital, this isn’t always practical or necessary. Implementation success rates seem to be rather low – under 30% according to this McKinsey survey. On the other hand, those who are successful take an incremental approach to digitalization. Digital organizations don’t become so overnight, but they work and rework their strategy. Until they’re able to create new and stronger forms of engagement with their members. Therefore, it’s wise to make gradual changes strategically, using carefully chosen digital tools to enhance existing and more traditional operational models.

Low-Cost, High Impact Solutions

Mindset is as important as tools when it comes to the digitalization of associations. The process starts with building digital skills into the association’s culture, bringing key stakeholders on board, and breaking down silos before going all out. You can achieve this with limited financial resources – it all starts with the right mindset and with the disposition to make small-scale changes that have a significant impact.

Free content analytics tools are an excellent place to start. These tools enable data-driven decision making, which forms the basis for digital strategy. With this anticipatory intelligence, you can discover which content drives interaction best and which digital technologies your members are already using. The information can be used to predict what your members need. Also to formulate digital marketing campaigns using the format and channels your members prefer. For example, setting up an online community on a social media platform allows members to share and network 24/7 using tools they’re already familiar with. Some organizations, like the Association for Clinical Research Professionals, have created their online community platforms. Whereas others (like Trades Union Congress) offer their members online training in a webinar format, all through their website.

Related: Marketing for Associations: 4 Reasons to Use Google Analytics

Automation and Digital Tools

Another cost-effective tool is marketing automation. While not free, these software packages can save on labour costs. At the same time, deliver highly targeted communications that reach the right person with the right message at the right time. Also, consider the products or services your association already offers and how can they be digitalized. With marketing automation, it’s possible to segment members based on their interests and goals. And offer them tailored content.

Digital tools like machine learning or artificial intelligence have enormous potential for success, and they don’t need to be costly. Chatbots can be quickly built on social media platforms and drive a conversational approach to member interaction. And since they can learn autonomously and become more accurate over time, they are a sound investment.

Related: Does Your Associations’ Website Meet 2019 Standards?

Conferences and events are other areas of opportunity. Event apps are replacing printed conference guides, making them more portable and user-friendly. 

Examples of Digitalization of Associations

Organisations like the National Association of College and University Business Officers are building membership value into their events using year-round, multi-event apps that not only deliver smooth registration, networking and personalized content but also engagement, interaction and intelligence.

Another example of how digitalization can strengthen the reach of events: BILD, a Toronto-based land management association went paperless for its annual awards event. To do so, they implemented a CSP (content services platform), which bridges the gap between digital experience management (DxM) and content management. For the annual event, this move allowed members to submit and manage applications on a self-serve basis. Also reducing greatly time-related inefficiencies and risks of human error. Content management systems can be pricey, but there are affordable options too. In the beginning, association leaders may want to explore basic packages and solutions. Thus making sure their features target the most important goals for a particular event.

Related: 4 Concepts To Understand Digital Transformation in the Event Industry

Conclusion

The digitalization of associations is complex and multi-faceted, but its benefits outweigh the challenges. Taking a gradual approach to digital transformation can help your association remain competitive, future-focused, and member-oriented. Start taking steps now to give your association a strategic advantage and establish it as a trusted leader in your field. It’s never too late to become digitally aware and lead transformation successfully. If you are looking to give your association a digital strategy, get in touch with me. We offer digital solutions specifically tailored to multiple sectors in the MICE Industry.

Digital Transformation in the Meetings and Events Industry

I wrote a piece in 2017 about the foundations of the digital transformation in the events industry. At that time, the mice industry was trailing behind and had a lot of work to do. Two years on, and technology has advanced rapidly. So, does the events industry stand now? Technology is transforming the way we live and do business. Most industries have adopted it, changing many aspects of their design and makeup in the process. Digital tools are now a crucial part of strategic event management due to their proven ability to bring in substantial benefits. These benefits include significant cost and time savings, higher attendee satisfaction, and better exposure and image building.

The growth of the web is making many changes in all sectors. But, what influence is the digital transformation movement having on the meetings and event industry now that we have embraced it?

What exactly is digital transformation?

“Digital transformation is the process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to create a robust new digital business model.” – Gartner

Digital transformation allows people to solve their traditional business problems in new ways. It offers new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhancing and supporting our traditional methods.

Digital transformation in the events industry

The events industry is embracing digital transformation with all the latest tech on display at conferences and meetings. But, the new technologies available are assisting conference organisers with creating an immersive experience, making the registration process seamless. Those are the two basic, but major changes we are seeing. We are now in the Age of Experience. This means that every event, no matter how small now needs to become an immersive experience. The modern generation will settle for nothing less.

Technologies like 3D, VR, and AR can blend the digital and physical aspects of an event. They help create authentic conversations between delegates, attendees and speakers. This technology gives events the potential to become content marketing engines. As organisers in the events industry, we are now able to turn attendees into participants by adding an experiential dimension to our events, making a conference or any other event a collaborative occurrence as opposed to a function that people attend just for the purpose of consuming knowledge.

So, what can we expect in 2019 and thereafter?  

Digital transformation will have an ever-evolving effect on the events industry, with these four tech-trends at the forefront.

1.   Facial recognition

This exciting technology will permanently eliminate paper from the registration and entry process. It will also optimise the security at conferences, streamlining access.

2.   Virtual Reality

A technology that is constantly evolving has now merged with social media. Oculus venues is a virtual reality platform that enables live events to be seen with Live Nation, Ticketmaster, and through an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. The obvious point being that attendees don’t have to physically be there to experience your event.

3.   Augmented reality

Perhaps more effective than virtual reality, augmented reality is having a massive impact on the events industry. Engagement for events is crucial and can be very challenging given the demands of the modern consumer. Augmented Reality will boost engagement levels and create hype on social media by encouraging attendees to interact with your content and, in turn, share it with their following.

4.    Artificial intelligence

Smart technology is influencing the events industry in a big way too. By utilising chatbots in a wide range of scenarios, event planners can automate several tasks, better serving their attendees.  

Conclusion

So, as you can see, technology has been implemented and used to great effect already in the events industry. Associations are taking great interest in investing in new technologies, but this means a total overhaul of existing systems and practices. All for the betterment of the industry of course. The events industry is changing, and progressing in order to adapt to current trends, but these trends are forever changing. It never stops. It is a perpetual investigation and evolution of science. As players in this industry, we should continue to embrace it and view it as a thrilling time, full of opportunity and potential. We must, however, constantly seek ways in which we can be at the forefront instead of continually playing catch-up.

To learn about ways in which your association can truly embrace digital transformation in the meetings and events industry, get in touch with me. I specialise in delivering results for stakeholders within the Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Event Industry as well as for Associations and SMBs.

Why Millennials Aren’t Joining Your Association

Marketing for associations can be tricky especially when your target audience is made up of Millennials. Are you struggling to attract millennials to your association? You’re not alone. With millennials coming of age, and now comprising a third of the world’s workforce, it’s important to try and understand how they operate. They’ve completely eclipsed baby boomers and are also gradually succeeding generation X.

This is making them the cardinal drivers of growth in business and, of course, highly influential in terms of modern connection and communication as they are the largest living generation on earth.

So, how exactly do you attract millennials to your association or organisation? The issue lies in the fact that previous generations are the ones trying to recruit new members. This, quite frankly, isn’t possible if you don’t try to get inside the mind of a millennial. It’s the age-old struggle of one generation trying to relate to the next.

By understanding why millennials aren’t joining your association you will gain insight on how to attract them. To achieve this, you need to understand what they want.

You don’t understand what they want

Millennials value their personal time. More so than their predecessors. Work/life balance is the most important thing to this generation. Putting work before family and friends is simply not an option and when it comes to personal fulfilment, they’ll even change career paths to obtain it. They are purpose-driven individuals.

What has this got to do with how they buy into any workforce or associations? Well, millennials won’t simply sign up to an organisation for its benefits. They will only buy into an association if it is mission-driven. They want to know if your association is aligned with a cause.

They will only give the time of day to an association that is actively contributing to a cause that resonates with them, so, pick a cause that empowers your members to work together to accomplish shared goals.

You aren’t telling an emotive story

This ties into our first point. Marketing for associations in the modern era needs to be emotionally driven. It needs to tell a story. It’s probably time you reassess your marketing strategy entirely. A change in messaging can work wonders for connecting with millennials.

Author, Janet Litherland puts it superbly:

“Stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, challenge. They help us understand. They imprint a picture on our minds. Want to make a point or raise an issue? Tell a story.”

This is exactly the kind of content that millennials look out for. You could go so far as saying it’s what defines them. They look for the meaning in everything. So we suggest you find the meaning in what you do, what your association represents and incorporate your purpose into you marketing efforts.

You probably haven’t given them much responsibility

Once you’ve attracted some younger members, we suggest you empower them. Millennials cherish transparency and can be quite sceptical of leaders. They want to be taken seriously, so why not add someone younger than 40 years old to your board? This way, you’ll not only get the respect and attention of a younger generation, but you’ll also be able to hear directly from them. It shows them that you value their voice. Give them responsibility and allow them to be a part of crucial decision making.

You’ll find that they too want to make your association better, more accessible and more relatable so listen to them, allow them to offer feedback. This creates an environment of true collaboration and you’ll most likely find that their input will improve your association.

Millennials are a tech savvy generation and often have their finger on the pulse, offering refreshing, and incredibly current insight. The world is advancing by the minute, so why not have someone who has grown up during the information age help guide the direction of your organisation?

Are you using social media?

It’s imperative for your association to make an impression through social media, as this is where millennials spend a lot of their time. Around 88% of 18-29-year olds use social media. Further to this and according to Fortune, millennials spend roughly 27 hours a week consuming media online.

The important aspect to recognise here, is that millennials are using this time to inform themselves on the world around them. This means that you should tie our first two points together and turn them into engaging and aesthetically pleasing content for posting online.

These are some of the ways that you can aim to connect with millennials online and attract them to your association. Pair the above with a targeted digital marketing strategy and millennials will be far more likely to join your association. For more insight on marketing for associations, get in touch with us today.

 

Marketing for Associations: 4 Reasons to Use Google Analytics

You may be wondering what the purpose of Google Analytics is. Well, when it comes to marketing for associations, it is a highly effective tool for collecting and tracking important data connected to your website. When interpreted, this data is an indication of who is interested in your association, and whether your digital marketing efforts are working.

Let us delve deeper, here are 4 reasons as to why you should be utilising Google Analytics, especially when it comes to marketing for associations.

1.  Website tracking

The analytics tracking features on Google Analytics are an effective and accurate way to pull data from your digital marketing efforts. One of them being the website tracking tool, which is how your association can accumulate and analyse even more specific results. Want to learn how to set up analytics for your association’s website? It is not as difficult as you may think.

Thanks to Google’s usability, you can track your association’s website, and any other relevant websites quite simply. By using website tracking, you will get excellent results, enabling your association to grow efficiently through informed business decisions based on the demographics of your website visitors.

2.  Real-time reporting

Google Analytics offers real-time reports so you can see exactly is on your site at any given time.

This is very useful when it comes to marketing for associations because it gives you the opportunity to look deeper into your association’s audience. Why would you want to do this? To gain a deeper understanding of your audience’s demographics. This way, you will know who to target in future. It gives you all this information, enabling you to build even stronger digital marketing strategies for forthcoming events.

It also allows you to view the most visited pages on your website, giving you a clear picture of what your audience is interested in – identifying what resonates with them.

When I speak of demographics, I am referring to where your audience lives in the world, what their age group is, their education level, income level, as well as their gender. This is valuable information that every association needs to know. You should be building everything around this.

Furthermore, these real-time reports show you what attracts your audience, from keywords to referrals.

3.  Placing data into categories

Analytics can be confusingly expansive. That is why placing this data into categories will make the process of translating it much simpler.  Google analytics has the solution for this.

By using the Google Analytics’ URL Builder you will be able to create UTM parameters easily. By doing this, you can gather information on behalf of your association about the overall efficiency of your marketing campaigns, while understanding where they are most effective.

With this tool, you can add parameters to any of your website links.

Additionally, it gives you options on how to track your links. From your campaign sources, such as the social platforms you are using or even based on the format you are using to host your links such as a banner or email.

4.  Mobile friendly

The best part of it all? Google Analytics is mobile friendly – perfect for the travelling professional.

80% of internet users have migrated to mobile and of course, Google has adapted to this extraordinarily well. Google Analytics for mobile allows us to measure and optimize their collected data on-the-go. This is beneficial because it means you do not have to stress about finding a desktop or even carrying a laptop with you while travelling.

There are two ways to utilize Google Analytics on a mobile device. To start, simply download the app for iOS or Android. Yes, there is an app – could it get any more convenient?

Conclusion

In summary, Google Analytics gives you a clear picture of where to focus your digital marketing efforts in order to maximise your association’s success.

It is imperative you integrate it into your futures strategies as it allows you to see how many visitors your website gets, but more importantly, how many of those visitors bounced. This is incredibly useful because it shows you how many of your visitors started your customer journey but failed to find what they were looking for.

Why is this important?

Sometimes, all it takes for a visitor to bounce is the usability, navigation or design of your website.

Google Analytics gives your association the opportunity to alter a few things such as:

  • Mobile optimization
  • Design
  • Content length and value

In short, it arms you with the tools to earn new members and retain the members you already have. If you are looking to give your association a complete digital transformation, get in touch with me.

Tips For Encouraging User-Generated Content At Your Conference

As the age of technology progresses expeditiously, embracing it, and integrating it into every facet of our daily lives becomes more and more essential.

As a result, social media for conferences is now fundamental to their success. Furthermore, encouraging user-generated content at your conferences is even more crucial.

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content is any form of content created and posted by an unpaid user. Whether it be testimonials, tweets, pictures, videos or blog posts, it is essentially the act of users promoting a brand rather than the brand promoting itself.

Now that you understand what it is, why should you encourage user-generated content (UGC) at your conference?

  • It can supplement branded content
  • UGC shows that your brand is open to conversation with your audience and listens
  • It is a great way to stand out amongst your competition
  • UGC puts your audience front and centre
  • It provides social proof
  • It is more trustworthy, therefore unbiased content

Conferences are perfect for user-generated content as they are interactive and experiential.

Regarding social media for conferences, as you can see, the benefits are tremendous, with no choice but to start applying these tips for encouraging user-generated content immediately.

Plan your goals

What is it exactly that you want to achieve with this user-generated content? Is it to promote the experience from a delegate’s perspective? Is it to promote your keynote speakers? Do you want to gain repeat attendees? Whatever your goal, it needs to be pre-planned.  Once you have established this, you can then begin to accumulate this content. You should base your goals on your target audience and where they live online.

This will then determine the information you request, and the conversations attempt to get started. If you’re unsure of your target audience, it is imperative to find this out before you plan your goals.

Giveaways

A tried-and-tested technique that always produces results. The truth is that people love competitions because we all love giveaways. If you are looking to encourage user-generated content at your conference, then make it known to your audience.

The most effective way of achieving this is through competitions. This is because you indirectly determine their tone of voice and therefore generate the content around your event.

How? By setting clear instructions. If you set guidelines, attendees will feel more confident when talking about their experiences. Through setting up a competition, you will also be incentivising them to do so.

Ensure that the requirements of the competition are clear and simple to follow.

Social Media for conferences: Integrate technology

Integrating technology into your conference is an effective way to get your attendees engaging on the day.

There are many ways to do this, but the three most efficient methods are as follows:

·         An interactive photo booth

Set up a mobile photo booth at the entrance of the venue, so, once attendees have registered, they get a photograph taken of their team.

These can easily be branded then uploaded on to your event page, and as a result, you will have people tagging themselves in the images.

·         A social media wall

A social media wall is a live feed of social posts from platforms displayed on a digital screen. This is an incredible way of encouraging user-generated content because many people resonate with this form of engagement.  

Why? Because they will get to see their posts on a big screen for in front of everyone that is there.

Posts using specific hashtags or handles are filtered through to the display, which constantly rotates new content automatically, displaying the social media interaction and engagement from your conference in real time.

·         A quick questionnaire

If your delegates register electronically on a tablet upon arrival, then why not include a quick questionnaire?  It can be made up of two questions such as, “What are you most looking forward to at the conference?” and “How do you feel attending this conference will benefit your association/business?”.  

Create awareness around your conference

Having an in-depth digital marketing strategy is still very much a necessity. Aspects such as branding, promoting your event page and a frequent, well-curated social presence is essential to creating awareness around your conference.

Effective social media for conferences is what will fill your seats. User-generated content is supposed to maximise the presence you have already established. The foundation of this is built through the creation of an authentic hashtag for your event as this is what users will use when sharing their content online.

If you are looking for a digital marketing transformation, and more specifically social media for conferences, get in touch with me. With over 20 years’ experience in the MICE industry, my solutions are specifically tailored to our industry’s needs.

Frank M. Waechter | fmwaechter.com
Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Growth Marketing, Data Analytics for the Meetings Industry, Events Industry and Associations. Conference and Event Activation, Live Marketing, Onsite Engagement.
Carrer del Mestre Joan Corrales 107-109 08950 Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 691 328 572

© 2015-2019 fmwaechter.com

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