At BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL: Embrace the Omni-Channel Mindset

Karen Traversi Kovalesi, President & CEO, Geary LSF, a San Francisco integrated digital marketing agency, told BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL that marketers and brands must think across media and organizational boundaries to bring customers to a transaction decision.

“You get business results, not just business tactics,” she said. “Omni-Channel is a mindset, not just a business practice.” Geary LSF must work to create unique combinations of digital messaging and engagements to bridge he national/local marketing challenge, Taversi Kovaleski told the audience, sharing examples from three industries, professional placement, healthcare and consumer products.

“Local reigns supreme,” she said. “Brands get people to the door, but once they are engaged they are looking for something personal about the purchase — these are local decisions.” Even in B2B purchases, which many believe are fairly cut-and-dried standardized decisions, the individual wants to be informed very early in the process, which requires multiple messaging options to address the lead. In the consumer space, too, there are many touchpoint along the way rather than a single monolithic campaign “But many of our clients, we find, are not doing that,” she said.

She pointed to three clients: Kelly Services; MedStar Washington Hospital Center, BumbleBee, the seafood company.

Kelly is a global leader in workforce solutions. Over the past few years, the workforce Kelly supports has changed to emphasize skills over location — work can now be performed anywhere. Hiring companies no longer need to see Kelly reps. It allows Kelly to reach more potential business partner/customers through digital, which opens an engagement process that can be fulfilled largely online. Individuals doing the work, however, do like to talk to someone, to get the personal touch, so Kelly must balance its hiring company-facing messaging with local opportunities for business talent to connect and learn about the opportunities with Kelly.

“The question is ‘How do you fill that pipeline when you don’t have as many local offices?'” The Kelly offices used to define the for workers who may now interact with the company first and primarily through digital channels. But when there is a physical engagement, it must align with and reinforce the online message.

The Kelly Services brand has evolved and they need to harmonize that message in marketing channels as the markets continues to morph based on new technology. The change cuts both ways. For example, Kelly now fills senior positions. It’s not just about the typing pool of its early years.

“Are the right level of people thinking of me in terms of finding their [employment] opportunity?” Traversi Kovaleski asked. The answer as “no” too often, she said.

When Kelly Services wanted to enter the IT talent market, they partnered with Geary LSF. Rather than doing traditional recruitment messaging, they launched a thought leadership content marketing program targeted at the people they want to place, senior level IT managers. Using thought leadership content across channels was critical to showing Kelly understood the IT market. The outcome was that IT pros did start to reach out to Kelley and they filled their pipeline, giving them the human resources to succeed in the IT placement market.

“Content marketing did work — now we can leverage across to other areas,” she said, including native advertising and mobile, as well as SEO aimed at recruiting talent to the IT space.

“It’s about measurement. We start to layer the insights using geo-targeting, feedback and attribution to understand how they work together to achieve brand goals,” Traversi Kovaleski said. The campaign continued to develop and now includes video on LinkedIn aimed at recruitment and brand awareness for Kelly in the IT market.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a Washington D.C. specialty hospital that is nationally known, with a have a regional marketing footprint.

The question, “How can they draw patients from other regions?” defined the project. Because MedStar provides services to a network of hospitals, the campaign had to succeed without cannibalizing partner hospitals in the region. Ultimately, the campaign aimed at reaching potential customers two or three states away, as well as globally.

The Geary LSF plan targeted patients based on condition, using SEO to connect with people with specific illnesses. Starting with that paid search, it delivers urgent patient engagement. Next, “we need to get them to make an appointment,” even across state lines. Here, Traversi Kovaleski said, video and social come into play. Patients find common cause in social environments, where doctor recommendations are shared based on actual experience with MedStar.

“People want to understand the doctor and the tools they’ll use.” At this point in the funnel, Geary LSF introduced video stories. “They are small and consumable and can be displayed with localized slugs to deliver relevant messages.” How do I engage an individual to take action, she asked and provided the answer: Video and social.

“Facebook can play a more integral part in the final step [to a transaction],” she added. In healthcare, the sharing of experience can trigger the final outcome. In reviews, Facebook isn’t a last-click experience, but it’s an important step that must be augmented by marketing tools. The human touch is essential to the healthcare market, she concluded. (See BIA/Kelsey’s Healthcare Vertical Industry report, released last week.)

With BumbleBee, Geary LSF had a different problem. BumbleBee is a product brand competing in retail environments with other products.

BumbleBee is in the midst of the rollout of its new “SuperFresh” frozen seafood currently in select cities and stores across the U.S. They select key stores in markets, so ZIP Code targeting is not appropriate, because a store could be very remote to many people in a postal code region.

MaxPoint, a Geary LSF partner, allowed BumbleBee to use intent targeting within a ZIP Code, providing more granularity in the message and targeting customers of specific stores. At the point of engagement online, typically a coupon offer, video was effective to point consumers to the stores.

This push model will eventually give way to opt-in coupons delivered on the phone or an in-store kiosk, Traversi Kovaleski said. These “pull offers are more humane and engaging. “We not doing anything ‘too crazy,’ she explained, but the brand must think in terms of a series of steps that marketers need to exectue on to deliver the client’s desired results by moving customers efficiently from initial brand awareness to a buying decision.

When asked how BumbleBee use beacons, Traversi Kovaleski said the use of MaxPoint data to identify specific geo-targets will make the engagement more personal. Early geo-fencing efforts by the brand were “a little creepy,” so she is urging clients to use opt-in couponing. She said the move to pull versus push will demand very personalized offers.

It’s notable that in each case she cited, video played a critical role. It puts a face and voice on a product or service, and is a vital complement to social, where largely anonymous interactions can be converted to personal engagement.

The mindset of omni-channel is to think across boundaries within your organization, to segment markets and address customers individually, Traversi Kovaleski said. She added that it is critical to think of supplementing organic search with paid search which moves consumers toward individually meaningful experience. Personal touches in user experience are critical. It must be combined with measurement, which can be “less specific than we currently like,” to support an omni-channel marketing process.

Asked by BIA/Kelsey’s Charles Laughlin about the toughest part of the national/local process, she said “Consistency when going to the field.”

With BumbleBee it is message alignment is easier because it is a corporate message defined by product, she explained. A Kelly, on the other hand, may have locations battling with one another locally, which needs to be curbed to ensure consistent messaging to the market. This echoed a key message from yesterday’s sessions about franchise marketing: Messages must be focused on the customer instead of the “local battles” franchisees or different teams within a business may think they are fighting.

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