Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It’s Not (Only) What You Say, It’s How You Say It

I recently read an interesting post by Marc Munier of Pure360 on Econsultancy detailing social media tactics and incorporating them into marketing channels – mainly email (Pure360, FYI, is an email marketing service). A couple of specific nuggets he suggested:

Encourage response: Part of the allure of Blogging is its interactivity – the potential to engage, post comments and participate in discussions. Munier suggests including this invitation to respond in email communications –and not to expect flood of response, but because including this feature of two-way communication increases the value to the reader.
Unsubscribe comments positioning: Moving the unsubscribe to the top of the email, while this it would make some marketers nervous, would show you are a “legitimate Marketer, and that you don’t want to email people who don’t want to receive your emails,” Munier notes.

While I won’t reiterate the entire blog here, the post raises a good point: social media, aside from being a different platform/channel (which underlies part of the “buzz”), uses a different communication/tone (which is the unspoken part of said buzz). And it is time to take a look at the voice used in traditional channels.

For example, printed collateral (a.k.a. those direct mail pieces that are just not delivering ROI) has not changed its core components in ages: intro letter, session descriptions, sponsors, registration/hotel info. All of which speak to the recipient, not with the recipient. The same scenario frequently exists with Event-specific emails; although there have been advances in weaving more content into promotional marketing e-mail communications, the overall message remains ‘register for my Event!’

In the face of challenged clicks, opens, and ROI on traditional channels in an integrated Event Marketing campaign, we are not (yet) at the point of cutting these channels from a campaign. Event Marketing leaders are, however, certainly at the point of needing to think through (and test) incorporating key elements driving Social Media, specifically:

Making it a conversation: Include informational elements to brochures – for example, I’ve done brochure with one page (in a 12-page brochure) dedicated to results and discussion around a pre-event survey on topics, issues and solutions. This could be done in conjunction with a drive-to-Web link to a discussion board or further information on the site.
Pull, don’t push: intersperse content, insight from White papers, statistics, etc., from the organization that the prospect would find helpful.
Allow prospects to interact with the event: include speaker Twitter IDs and LinkedIn URLs (easier done in email unless customized); also, share your event Twitter ID, Facebook fan page, and/or LinkedIn Event page at every available opportunity. (Make it easy to communicate and be transparent in how they can find you!)
Share the organization’s expertise: if you have a free e-newsletter, whitepaper, podcasts, Webinars, etc. let it be known – make mention of it and provide links in your print and email.
Truncate it!: As Munier suggests, part of the success of Twitter is its brevity. The same can be applied to emails and print: put the 75-100 word session descriptions on the Web. Aside from being green, this will produce a more visually palatable piece.

In regards to print, incorporating the above will and should go hand-in-hand with thinking about covers – moving away from traditional Event/Location/Key Reason to Attend messaging to content points – drawing people to specific pages in the brochure.

And again, these are suggestions and elements to test – I welcome comments from anybody with examples and results of any initiatives taken along these lines to date.

Good luck!


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