Mister Three Sixty

Non-denominational opinion on Marketing + Communications

Integration: Meat & 2 Veg or a sumptuous dining experience

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I want to tell you a story. A story about a recent buying experience and how it shone a light on the way the marketing industry treats integration.

*First, the story*

We’re going on holiday soon and since we don’t know the area we were thinking of buying a SatNav. Great for tinkering down country lanes.

On Saturday morning we were in a car accessories retailer. So I picked-up a SatNav box, had a rough look and a quick glance at the prices. This normalised the idea of actually buying one. But it also kicked-off a my desire to do due diligence and have a look online.

Sunday night and I borrowed my wife’s login to the Which? Online reviews site. This was both reassuring and frustrating in equal measure. I read the buying guide, compared the products, specs and prices and got sucked into the miserable paradox of choice.

I needed to reduce my options. Garmin had a good review (so did various Tomtoms etc) but within 5 minutes I ended-up on the Garmin site. Why Garmin? I don’t really have a strong view of their brand, I certainly don’t actively remember any of their advertising, but I was at least aware of the name. And of course I’ve seen their kit in cabs.

The Garmin site experience wasn’t brilliant (dodgy search function which underwhelmed me) but at least I begin to feel I was closing-in on a decision. At this point I began to worry about whether my chosen shortlist of models was missing the Traffic Update feature…

So back again to the Which? site. This time I saw the light. Or rather a video, on buying a SatNav which was far more instructive than anything I read.

After that I wanted to watch TV. So the decision was made, couple of final checks. And off to Amazon (Which? said they offered the second best price). Second best? That’s right. The best price was about £3 cheaper but I just had no idea who they were, or whether if I paid for it online it would ever arrive.

The deal was sealed by a review from a user. Simple, well-written, one of us, a peer, a punter, a consumer of consumables. Thanks Mr P James, you sorted me out.

*So what does this story tell us about ‘Integration’?*

First the industry goes on about how paths to purchase are complex these days. Then we bang out a big TV ad, backed-up with press and banners in the hope to drive someone instore or online. In my case it almost went the other way round. If the store experience had been compelling enough or a staff member had leapt on me I might have bought it then and there. The complex thing about integartion is making it so simple you just find it easy to buy!

Second, branding did play a role in my decision. In fact three brands played a key role in my decision (Which?, Garmin and Amazon). But it was less of a role than we sometimes allow ourselves to believe. I’d love to say that a deep-seated set of emotional associations, built panstakinlgy over years, kicked-in for Garmin. But if they did, I wasn’t feeling it. I actually wanted a TomTom at the outset. Why? Because my taxi driver on Saturday night recommended it. So once again both he and Mr. P. James ended-up being the strongest direct influences on my purchase. Bring on the Social Meejah.

Third, moving images really *are* a powerful way to communicate. The combination of faces, words, sounds, music they really get inside your head. The art of film craft will only become more important. But you know that already.

Fourth, successful integration of your marketing channels and brand touchpoints is more like cooking a meal than doing a jigsaw puzzle. You need a blend of several ingredients that will really complement each other. None of the flavours should overwhelm the dish. And of course you really need to prepare the dish carefully, selecting just the right ingredients because each meal is different. Too often I think our industry is working on a ‘meat and two veg’ basis when they should be preparing a sumptuous dining experience.

Pass the salt?

(… And thanks for reading this far)

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Written by misterthreesixty

August 10, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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