May 30, 2012 / by Chris Pilbeam

Guest Post by Geoff Livingston and Gini Dietrich.


This word scares most practitioners of social media, haunting their online existence.  Even for those with traditional PR or advertising backgrounds, delivering ROI and business outcomes via social escapes most professionals.

We believe that 80% of these social media campaigns could benefit from two things: 1) a community conversation approach as opposed to a broadcasted, and 2) integration into the larger marketing campaigns.

Integrating social into the mix allows conversations and customer interaction to work within the context of real business goals. It’s one of the primary reasons we wrote Marketing in the Round. The challenge becomes how to weave social and every other marketing tactic into a larger whole.

Good timing and sequencing blends old-fashioned marketing skills with communications savoir-faire, and building an initiative requires advance work to ensure maximum impact.

This is particularly true of time-limited initiatives—short marketing campaigns to drive holiday sales, or new product launches.

Sequencing and weaving tactics together acknowledges that while you are relying on a primary tactic to promote a new product—say, public relations—other tactics will ease market adoption of the product.

Example: launching a PR campaign

In a hypothetical situation, say you use a public relations lead. You may want to galvanize and prepare your core team and most ardent supporters before you launch that PR campaign. Prelaunch buzz can only make a product more interesting and newsworthy.

You definitely want to prepare your friendly online influencers and select media outlets, if possible, before the launch. Online advocates in your social network-based branded communities may enjoy being a part of the effort and see their roles as contributing to a larger initiative (and, hopefully, a successful one) for a brand they like.

Further, multichannel communications involves more than one tactic to achieve an objective. Maximum success is contingent upon working together to achieve larger objective. So in our hypothetical PR-led campaign, it also makes sense to consider direct marketing—mail or email— to inform loyal customers about a product as soon as it becomes available. Giving them the first opportunity to purchase the product is a way to strengthen your existing customer base.

In the movie Up in the Air, Ryan Bingham says, “There’s nothing cheap about loyalty.” But new initiatives to reward your customers are well worth the effort.

Keep on ‘weaving’

Your marketing round is supporting the main PR effort with social media and direct marketing. But this is an important launch; there will be significant media stories and online conversations. Knowing that, it may make sense to support that buzz with some targeted advertising.


Consider how online advertising can bolster corporate social media efforts. A 2011 TNS Digital Life report showed that more than six in ten social media users admitted they are driven to engage with brands online by a promotion or special offer.

You can see how weaving comes into play, as well as sequencing the launch. Though PR is the lead, the effort starts with social, then moves into PR—which coincides with a short advertising burst and a direct marketing program to loyal customers. The multichannel effort, if executed well, is designed for maximum impact.

We believe it’s this type of sequencing that delivers the measurable results online communicators need.  To succeed, social, PR, advertising, and interactive marketers alike need to work together in a larger context, which we like to call the Marketing Round.



Geoff Livingston is an author and marketing strategist, and serves as VP, Strategic Partnerships for Razoo. A former journalist, Livingston continues to write, and most recently he co-authored Marketing in the Round, and authored the social media primer Welcome to the Fifth Estate.

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm. She also is the founder of the professional development site for PR and marketing pros, Spin Sucks Pro and co-author of Marketing in the Round.

Their new book “Marketing in the Round” shows you how to get more value by integrating your marketing and communications channels, and is one of Vocus’ top five recommended marketing reads for summer.


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