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Multimedia Integration

With 50 to 65 percent of all cable pay-per-view purchases triggered by seeing "barker" channels (those that scroll what's playing on the system) and other cross-channel promotions, it's evident that multimedia integration can be powerful. United Artists owns radio stations, movie theaters, and cable systems. In areas where all three operate, they integrate promotion. Each medium sells the others. They cross-market radio and theater and cable. Via cable, on radio, and on the theater screen, they sell cable subscriptions. Radio commercials sell listeners to watch UA cable and see movies at UA theaters. And UA cable salespeople go to UA theaters and to listen to UA radio.

Michael Horne, another multimedia operator, offers advertisers this integrated package:

  1. Commercials on his Cable Radio Network

  2. Use of cents-off coupons

  3. Coupon mailing to cable homes, with cable program

  4. Hourly commercial mentions on cable

Hearst offers integrated media packages, custom-designed for the products of each advertiser. For an advertiser's campaign in Hearst shelter magazines, Hearst included an in-store custom-decorating video, using editorial material and talent from the magazines. Marketers now routinely ask for and get such deals from various types of media.


Enhanced, Integrated PR

More kinds of public relations are available via electronic media than via print. Don't overlook any, and integrate each into your plan. Big companies use PR very effectively to introduce products. Often, PR produces more inquiries than all advertising combined and then increases the response from advertising. PR can pull phone calls, fax, and modem requests. When a CEO speaks to stockholders, the message can often be repackaged to be appropriate and powerful persuasion to your sales force, dealer network, or to the world. A little PR for a small company can help it start to become big.

Texas Instruments' Voice Chip.
Texas Instruments ran a four-page insert in BusinessWeek (BW) to tell the story of its voice chip. To demonstrate it, TI affixed a talking chip module just a little larger than a credit card to selected copies of BW's corporate elite edition of 140,000 subscribers. Over each module was a sticker labeled "Lift and Listen." Anyone who did heard a digitized male voice say in 15 seconds these 41 words:

I am the talking chip, one of Texas Instruments' MegaChip technologies which is changing the way the world lives, works, and plays. Through such innovations, TI can help creative companies like yours win the race to market with products that excel.

Ed Morett, then director of communications of TI, says:

Development, production, and distribution of the talking ad had to be both cost- and expertise-driven, which meant that we went to several parts of the world in order to execute the project.

The 41 words were recorded in Los Angeles, software was enhanced in Dallas, and the semiconductor wafer was fabricated in Lubbock, TX. The wafers were tested and separated into individual chips in the Philippines. Assembly of the speech module took place in The People's Republic of China, while printing of the insert occurred simultaneously in Los Angeles.

The assembly of the module into the 6-panel insert took place in Tijuana, Mexico, after which the inserts were shipped to binderies in Arkansas and Virginia. 140,000 copies of BusinessWeek with inserts bound-in were delivered to selected readers in the Northeast and Western U.S. and 76,000 copies to Europe and Asia.

The completed insert cost about $4 and increased the CPM for the four pages from about $200 to about $4000, or about 20 times. Out of TI's total cost of over $900,000, about $864,000 was for the chip. But the difference in impact changed the usual rules of reach and frequency.

Integration of TI's Entire Campaign
. While this ad appeared only once, it was not a "one-shot" promotion but part of TI's four-year MegaChip Technologies campaign that appeared in BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, and Electronic Business. TI's target audience included corporate officers and policy-level executives within original equipment manufacturing firms. TI had three objectives:

  1. Develop a demonstration for TI's new threshold in speech synthesis technology. This featured a 50-percent lower chip cost than previous designs; a flat dimensional form; high-quality speech, music, and sound effects; and durability to survive magazine insertion.

  2. Create a new market development opportunity for TI's solid-state speech synthesis business.

  3. Broaden awareness of TI's MegaChip Technologies to help customers get to market faster with more competitive products.


A Major Media Event

Ed Morett tells the story:

PR about the ad far surpassed the reach that we achieved with the ad itself. Major newspaper features included Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Newsday, USA Today, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and The Christian Science Monitor.

An AP newswire story was picked up in 27 major US dailies. There was extensive radio coverage, with the chip itself put on the air. Feature stories appeared in 8 electronic publications. Features appeared in Ad Age, AdWeek and Publishing and Production Executive.

All this happened although the talking ad appeared on the day of the San Francisco earthquake–which did lose us most of the TV coverage we expected. International media exposure in Europe and the Far East was equally successful. I would put the global value of the publicity the project received in excess of $2 million.

A Starch Reader Impression study indicated a positive overall response by more than 7 of 10 readers. Verbatim comments included "great idea" and "amazed to hear the ad talk." TI was regarded as an "innovative company" and a "leader in its field."

We received well over 2000 phone inquiries from the ad, about 30 percent from advertisers and 70 percent for other applications. AT&T was the first advertiser to complete a project–a talking direct mail piece promoting their WATS line services. And we are currently negotiating contracts for millions of chips over the next couple of years. Since the project, talking chip sales have multiplied several times until production has hit top capacity.


Judging EM Enhancement

What should you consider in judging any electronic media enhancement? A TI chip seems a natural for a toy marketer with a cartoon character. But in a mass circulation magazine, a chip enhancement multiplies the cost of a page ad over 400 times and even more for a smaller ad. At current prices, it's very unlikely to produce enough extra sales. However, via a 900 number, one $4 chip might be used for thousands or hundreds of thousands of calls. A minute and a half of speech can be put on one chip. The offer might attract calls at a profit, with free advertising thrown in. While cost prohibits its use on a package, it could be highly profitable added to an in-store display.

Any electronic media enhancement can only work if the use fits, the presentation is perfected, and the price is right. Even then, if the electronic promotion is done on its own, the benefit to your company will be far more limited than if it is integrated throughout the entire marketing campaign. However, none of the new electronic media discussed in this book should be embraced by your marketing team without ample investigation and stand-alone testing and measurement of its sales results.


Which EM Enhancement Fits

Your type of business, its organization and distribution network, plus your marketing and creative objectives will dictate which electronic media warrant your attention. Other considerations include your product, product line, or service; your marketing plan and strategy; your target audience; your offer, copy, and presentation; and where are the best electronic links in your selling chain. This takes a comprehensive knowledge of your business.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of your firm and product line? What is its history, and the history of your competition? Past focus group summaries and other research and statistical analysis reports may give you many answers. What is the concept behind your marketing and your present campaign theme? What media are most successful for you? What are the limitations of each? What EM enhancement can best overcome these constraints?

The ability to integrate media starts with making the right selection–the right marriage of media capabilities to marketing needs. You also must keep up with the newest EM forms and their successes and failures, especially involving companies similar to yours.

Let's review what electronic media can do best:


The Spectrum of EM Forms

Some new forms of electronic media are potentially universal. Others act as electronic "magnet" media–by attracting specialized groups from broad segments into narrow niches. Instant-action electronic media close sales for dealers, salespeople, or the company itself. "Forward pass" electronic media qualify and pass on prospects to the next selling step. Some electronic media combine a number of these features. Although the "eye and ear" appeal of TV is usually more effective than radio's sole ear appeal, radio can offer more frequency for the same money than TV. Print, radio, or TV can tell the beginning of your story and produce inquiries for more detailed information. This can be followed up by letter or phone; by an audio- or videotape, a floppy disk, or CD-ROM disc; or by a salesperson.

There is an electronic medium with the capability to remedy almost any of your marketing problems. And many of these electronic media can and will become important tools in the increasingly difficult task of reaching your marketing objectives. But keeping up with the proliferation of EM is not easy.

EM is more personal than print. Electronic friend-making, via a spokesperson, can be more personal and warmer than via print. It can start a relationship between seller and prospect. The same spokesperson can give a short message by TV or radio and deliver a far longer appeal in a video. Different spokespeople can talk on different audiocassettes, even in different languages, each in his or her own way.

Electronic service information help is more personal, faster, and lower-cost for you. With a 900 number, service can become a profit center. Electronic testimonials, from real people, can be more compelling than their print counterparts. Entirely new uses for a product, new benefits, and new reasons for using it come across on EM as news, in a very personal way.

Each EM form must earn its keep. As in all media buying, in order to know if EM works, you must track results. EM often has built-in self measurements such as computerized running totals of inquiries, percentage of sales conversion from inquiries, dollars of sales, and ad cost per dollar of sales. Telemarketing, audiotext, kiosks, and many electronic media forms usually have software capable of keeping track. For certain ways of using many of these media forms, cooperation by people is needed but often lacking. Dealers can measure, but often don't. The national marketer often can trace local sales from those inquiries produced nationally but often doesn't. In this way, smaller marketers usually can watch more closely and react more quickly than the big marketers.

Does your sales force or dealer network follow up on the leads you send them? Do you know your sales versus lead cost? Be scientific. Set up tests to determine what inquiry and sales action your electronic media marketing can produce at what cost. Compile results of exactly what your EM does for you. Calculate the effectiveness of any EM enhancement you use and study the results. If they don't measure up, either modify your approach or drop the medium.


Integrating EM Most Profitably

The following are some guides for how to integrate EM most profitably:

  1. Research ways EM integrates with other media.

  2. Find out how media integration increases marketing effectiveness.

  3. Study how companies like yours integrate EM.

Keep investigating the Help Guide sources listed while you keep up with EM's rich variety. Take notes on EM media by listing what each can do. On your own or with a team, compare and select the best EM for your purpose. Then select the EM enhancement that's right for you. Test only the most logical and lowest cost forms first. Be sure to orient your sales force, your distributors, your dealers, and your dealer sales force as to how you are using it. And whatever EM you use, integrate it with your other marketing.


Help Source Guide

  1. Applied Telematics Inc. provides a service to connect an inquiry to your office or 800 number to nearest dealer and offers a free information kit: 487 Devon Park Dr., Wayne, PA 19087. (215) 687-3701.

  2. Richard L. Bencin & Associates offers a free article, "Team Selling: A Successful Synergy of Direct Marketing, Telemarketing and Field Sales": 8553 Timber Trail, Brecksville, OH 44141. (216) 526-6726.

  3. Ernan Roman's Integrated Direct Marketing: Techniques and Strategies for Success, McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1988, provides case studies from AT&T and IBM–how to integrate the mix, media and field sales and is a much-praised work: 13311 Monterey Ave., Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17904. (800) 722-4726.

  4. "Strategies in Interactive Video" (and how best to integrate it with all media) is a free report by John J. Pollack: 207 Bridge St., Dedham, MA 02026. (617) 329-5273.