By Mark Kersteen - September 24th, 2014

Jason West, former CMO of H. J. Heinz and Sam Diamond, Head of Brand for Gumtree joined us for our monthly webinar. They each shared one of their multichannel campaigns, and offered advice on how they pick, use, and measure their channels. Here are five pearls of wisdom, wit, and common sense from their conversation.

Keep Your Messages Simple and Strong

In both campaigns, Heinz and Gumtree stuck to basic, powerful brand propositions. This helped them reinforce the same message across each channel.

For Heinz, they tried something more emotional: “Historically, Heinz was focused on more functional prospects, ‘thick and rich ketchup’, that sort of thing. This time, we were trying to communicate a higher-order emotional benefit. We called it, ‘life is happier with Heinz’.”

Heinz logo

Gumtree encapsulated their brand in a single word: “We tried to find a message we could use across all channels, and we came up with one that can be defined by the word, ‘Success’. Our goal was to demonstrate how easy the classifieds process could be to bring people together, and how it can offer everyone a win-win situation.”

Both saw their brand metrics shoot up after associating their name with something clear and recognizable. Pushing their message to more channels amplified their message, rather than diminishing it.

Marketers are Divided Over Multichannel

During our webinar, we polled our attendees. We asked them: What’s your highest priority when managing multiple marketing channels: Delivering a consistent message, delivering a message that takes full advantage of each individual channel, or using your channels to hit the widest and best audience possible?

The results were:

Delivering a consistent message: 37%
Effective use of channels: 28%
Reaching the best possible audience: 35%

So clearly, marketers are almost evenly split between these priorities. All three are vital, but how do you decide which to focus on first?

Lead with Strategy

Jason shared his approach to prioritizing channels at Heinz—let your strategy decide for you: “I think first you have to decide on your objectives and strategy. Once you’ve done that, then you can pick your channels.”

“If you pick a default set of channels, you might find some of them don’t work as well for your objective. However, if you decide on your strategy before you pick your channels, you have to think about who your target consumer is, what you do well, and what your assets are. Then you’re going to pick the channels that will work best.”

You Don’t Need to Be Everywhere

Sam explained how, as an online-only company with a specific service, Gumtree focuses on only doing what it does best:

GT_FINAL_LOGO_040210“It’s about quality and quantity. You don’t need to be everywhere, because to be everywhere is expensive, takes a lot of time, and may not be right for your brand. It doesn’t make sense for Gumtree to be some places. We’re not on all social networks. We aren’t on Pinterest, for example. But I’m fine ignoring them, and focusing on the ones that work.”

Build an Audience Before Shooting for Social Success

During the Super Bowl, Heinz had their own “Dunk in the Dark” moment at halftime, when they tweeted a picture of a hamburger with “22-0” written in ketchup and the caption, “Catch Up!”. Industry insiders were saying Heinz had won the social media Super Bowl, but the tweet only reached two million.

“Now, with a stronger base in place, if Heinz was going to do something successful for the Super Bowl next year, we’d probably go to fifty million instead of two million. In a social space, you have to build a presence to amplify from.”

Not Everything Needs to be Measured

Or, at least, not constrained by measurement. Sam explains how Gumtree is flexible with its social spend:

“We’re really lucky that we aren’t measured on PR and social media. That’s something I’ve been swinging for in the business quite frankly. We don’t spend a ton of money on it, but it can make a big difference to the business. However, it’s really difficult to measure that difference. For PR and social, you need to be active, and it isn’t the sort of thing you can plan 12 months out, or decide in January what you’ll be doing in December next year. You need to be nimble. You need to be quick. You need to throw a bit of money at it from time to time, and not worry too much about the ROI."

Keep an eye out, because next month we'll be running our webinar on mobile marketing!

You can listen to other conversations on multichannel with top brand marketers at Incite On Demand.

Cool headline image by Fotolia


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