Sage Tips for Applying Integrated Marketing Campaign (IMC) within Your Business

In today’s interview with Zineb Amrani – Marketing Manager for BMS (Business Management Solutions) – Enterprise Market at Sage we will be mainly talking about IMCs – integrated marketing campaigns and successfully  applying it within your business.

As a highly engaged individual and solutions-oriented team player, Zineb loves new challenges that give her the opportunity to experiment new ways to work and meet revenue goals. Zineb has a proven B2B marketing expertise in managing large projects, leading Pan-European acquisition campaigns for mid-market businesses and interacting effectively within a multi-function business.

1. Why Sage? What excites you in your day to day marketing role at Sage?

 

My role consists in driving marketing activities for our core mid-market product Sage X3 with complete focus on lead generation. This includes building a consistent marketing plan and engaging an effective mix-marketing strategy while leveraging the marketing acquisition campaigns. A new dimension has been added to that context through the high usage of digital and social selling activities. Having to combine innovative marketing tactics with the traditional ones, deciding on the appropriate combination of media sources for my target audience, challenging my counterparts/external providers and being challenged, it’s all part of what I consider an exciting situation.

2. How important is including integrated marketing campaigns for a SME and what does this type of marketing campaign involve?

 

We heard a lot about the IMC – integrated marketing campaign- as a new approach to achieve the objectives of a marketing campaign today.  What does it really mean?

 

The IMC at its most basic level means using two or more lead-generation tactics or integrating all the promotional tools, so that they work together rather than in isolation.

This holistic approach has 4 major benefits: speaking consistently with one voice, coordinating your efforts around common themes and goals, ensuring the mutualization of costs, and creating brand awareness. These are the ingredients of a more impactful, cost-effective, higher response rates and leads acceleration campaign.

The interest in such an approach and the strong trend to adopt it is explained by the fact that we moved from a mass marketing approach to a one-to-one targeted approach or niche marketing. And this transition brings companies to increasingly used IMC to deliver consumer value.

Concretely, rather than talking and pushing a unique message to customers, today we’ll aim to interact, dialogue and engage the audience. We’ll not only focus on winning new customers but also guarantee an extraordinary customer experience. And finally, we’ll not rely solely on ad/promotions activities to attract customers, but we’ll also decide on the appropriate combination for our target audience in order to build a strong brand-consumer relationship.

3. What are the best marketing strategies for B2B tech start-ups?

 

Think Customers First. Define your plan and tactics around the customer’s buying process. Identify the stages they go through before, during and after a purchase. Select communication tools which are right for each stage.

The B2B customer experience evolved and become highly digitalized journey, customers control the purchasing process, start-ups have not choice and have to embrace more than ever digital marketing (more visible on social media and engaged on paid media).

Finally, as budget is a critical aspect especially for start-ups, you don’t necessarily have to spend equal budget, time and energy on each, when using a series of tactics. You can concentrate on the primary tactics that are more likely to succeed for your business, while devoting less to secondary tactics. Allocate then a small budget to test new tactics or complementary ones to measure their efficiency, you may find some interesting approaches to explore.

4. What’s the best integrated marketing campaign that you’ve used for Sage purposes?

 

The V7 launch of Sage X3 is definitely the best integrated and collaborative marketing campaign driven at a Global level. The launch campaign included a broad range of lead generation tactics both comprehensive and innovative, supported by a huge resonance. An interactive & creative website, a huge event for the announcement, a centralized paid media plan, a European social selling program and a high-impact social media plan, were the key success factors.

5. What is the maximum number of channels you have used in a single integrated marketing campaign and what were those channels?

 

Here’s a real challenge: combine multiple media sources to create an integrated marketing campaign.

 

If all tactics can fit your audience, keep the overall mix. If only few of them are appropriate, go with those only. It’s not about the number of tactics you’ll leverage, it’s about the cohesive effect the combination of those marketing tactics will create that will impact positively your results. Each element of the campaign reinforces the others and moves prospects toward a purchasing decision.

6. How do you measure integrated marketing campaigns and how do you know you are performing good?

 

Choosing effective goals and objectives will make it possible to measure the reach of your successful marketing campaign. Opt for measurable and timely KPIs.

 

To evaluate the impact of each of my IMCs, I rely on a conversion funnel including the overall mix marketing tactics. This gave me a clear view of the activities I’ve engaged, the breakdown contribution per tactic and the associated timelines. In that way you can ensure covering all the stages of the funnel.

For each campaign you need to conduct, I highly recommend to do such exercise so that you can evaluate your expected results and adjust when needed (budget allocation/ tactics). There you can show/indicate the tactics/activities that you’ll coordinate to reach your objectives in terms of MQLs (Marketing Qualified leads) and QSO (Qualified Sales opportunities), put hypothesis of leads.

7. What type of marketing challenges are you facing in your role at Sage?

 

Providing and measuring ROI remains one of the most challenges as a marketer, especially when it comes to new marketing and digital activities. How to measure effectively the impact of social media and make sure of its contribution to the lead generation?

 

Finding the right tactics combination to address specific topic/target, keeping up with the new marketing/trends and adopting personalised addressing to match our Mid-market audience’s expectation, is a continuous reflection.

I would point out the sales alignment as well which is critical. Hence the need to work closely with sales teams on common business objectives and lead generation metrics, making as much as possible visible the connections between the marketing activities leveraged and revenue. And communication is a key point to succeed on that.

Last but not the least, data is our best ally. It could be highly frustrating if quality and data freshness are not guaranteed. So keeping it frequently updated, enriched and reliable is vital for our activities.

8. What are key success factors of an IMC?

 

A couple of learnings to take away when driving an IMC:

 

Decide on the appropriate combination of traditional & digital activities based on your target/budget/objectives. Nowadays, digital activities are for sure the “must to have” in each IMC, however the contribution of traditional activities is as valuable as digital ones. So keep them among your tactics. Ie: Email and PR are all primary ways to drives traffic back to your website.

Define a clear RACI, to be able to involve effectively all the stakeholder (internal teams & external providers) and assign clear roles, accountabilities.

Prefer long lasting campaign than one shot: avoid pushing 1 message, offer consistency and engage your audience through long lasting campaigns. Continue the story, test several scenarios to maximize nurturing and lead generation.

Opt for test periods (1 month per example) rather than long period activities to drive a cost-effective campaign and be keen to feed your plan with new tactics so think to a dedicated budget for testing.

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