• tamera

Engaging your audience & building awareness

Steve Rubel has a piece up that illustrates the basic principles I’ve been evangelising about for some time now: Using media & mediums to complement each other and recognize the unique strengths and weaknesses of each to build and target the most successful campaign.

Basically you leverage the mainstream media world for what it’s best for – big reach. And you use new media to develop a deep level of engagement by conversing with a very narrow slice of your audience.

Sounds pretty simple, I know, but it’s surprising how often it’s not implemented correctly. And I think Steve over-simplifies what the web and new media can deliver in terms of mass awareness if utilized correctly. We can and should target narrow slices of the audience, or the influencers, within our pre-determined demo, however, that engagement should happen prior to the mass media campaigns if it is to be truly effective. The engagement that Steve talks about in his example (see below) can happen at an even deeper level and one that maximizes the use of each channel & reaches the largest possible audience at key moments.


There are huge opportunities to truly use each medium to build and heighten the next, with the ultimate goal being purchase, or interaction, or action depending on the objectives. I’ll use Steve’s example of the “talking cat food” (why he picked that, I have no clue) and expand on it a bit.

So to garner big reach you would naturally… {Steve lists all the mass media/ marketing plan standards: TV, print, PR, etc.} So now everyone knows there’s a food that gets cats talking. Now, to build a deeper level of engagement with their owners you might…. * Develop a podcast where customers and their cats share their stories about how they are finally able to understand each other thanks to this whizbang new food * Monitor RSS feeds for mentions of your product and reach out to selective evangelists. Here you would invite them in to participate in an online consumer feedback panel. You can share ideas and generate discussions about how to improve the product, the marketing and more * Launch a special contest on YouTube in search of the best Shakespearean oration by a cat that eats your food

I agree that this would probably be a pretty good campaign. The message would get out and who doesn’t want to talk to their cat anyway? But what if it wasn’t as extraordinary as talking cat food and was instead a hybrid vehicle, or a save the whales campaign? This is where social media and networking can have an early impact. You need to reach the influencers first to get them excited about your product and engage in feedback as to what the product means to them: it may not be what you thought it was, and in order to reach the mass audience, you may need to make some adjustments.


Here’s a version of a Hybrid engine car campaign:


Soft launch

  • Engage key bloggers & specialized journalists in the environmental/ corporate responsibility movement to provide advance notice of the product launch – invite them for a test drive, etc. if they are so interested: no strings attached.

  • Microsite up with advance information, an interactive piece & any posts or articles related to the product

  • Search campaign for product driving to microsite

  • Develop podcast or invite evangelists to submit their own

  • Engaging with the targeted audience to generate feedback on the product and refine the messaging/ brand – monitor RSS, comments & tags, etc.


Hard launch

  • TV & print campaign with driver to website, YouTube piece, etc.

  • DM and email campaign driving to dealership for test drive

  • Search campaign driving to website or YouTube, etc.Monitoring and engaging with community (tags, RSS, etc.)Events & product sampling, etc.


The engagement happens at key points and serves a distinct purpose. I believe it’s a bit naive at this point to believe we can still launch products with a mass driver first and then try to reach the influencers… by that time they were already talking about it… without you.

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