Not so long ago, discussions about business-to-business “integrated marketing” focused on how print, digital, events and, for some, broadcast, worked together. Today, the marketing opportunities have become so varied, the idea of “integrated marketing” can be applied to how just one channel, the Web for example, can be used for a wide variety of marketing opportunities.
Just think how many ways business customers can experience the same content delivered via the Web.
Anything posted on YouTube can be displayed on a massive HDTV or a customer’s 7″ smartphone screen. And if a short clip from the video is sent via a text message, a recipient wearing an Apple Watch can even see it on a screen less than an inch in size.
The need for a consistent message and experience across each of those screens is revealed in BNP Media’s study, “Benefits of Integrated Media Campaigns.” In it, customers reveal they move from screen to screen depending on where they are in decision-making, choosing one product to purchase over another or, if already an owner of the product, how to use it in a specific situation.
Today, the content created for customers using screens to access it must work in an endless number of formats. But for a simplistic way to think about it, here are seven:
- The Giant Screen: From webinars to videos posted on YouTube and embedded on a websites, the format and quality of video that can be created and posted today can be presented with crystal clarity of high definition. Devices like the Apple TV, Google Chrome and Amazon Video make such content available in nearly any conference room (or, for that matter, living room) anywhere.
- The Desktop: While percentages of workers accessing your marketing content via desktop computers are falling, the users often are those making orders or who need the kinds of specification information that will keep work-related use of the desktop skew higher than consumer usage.
- The Laptop: This is the workhorse of the business user, especially those on the road or whose jobs requires them to be constantly moving around the plant or property.
- The Tablet: Products like the Microsoft Surface and Apple’s iPad Pro are establishing a working-tool screen that is broadening users’ understanding of how a computing device can be used. Example: Seeing an NFL assistant coach drawing play adjustments on a Surface screen on the sidelines in the pouring rain redefines to corporate CEOs how their executives and front-line managers can use a tablet.
- The Phablet: While not the best nickname (phone + tablet), these “mini” tablets or big smartphones are finding a niche in companies where cellular access is required but the big screen of an iPad Pro or similar large format tablets aren’t.
- The Smartphone: With the laptop, the smartphone—especially the larger-screened phones like the Samsung Galaxy and the Apple iPhone 6+—are the workhorses of business users. The mobility of a smartphone and the efficiency of the laptop make it hard to find a senior executive who doesn’t have these two screen sizes at arm’s distance, day or night.
- The Smartwatch: While still too early to show up in our research, the work-related benefits of the Apple Watch is beginning to realize in the early-adopting, leading edge of business users. For example, a short video clip sent via text can be viewed on every size screen listed, including the Apple Watch.
Here are some key lessons for marketers who must serve customers using seven (and soon more) screens to access information about their products and services.
The most practical and popular approach to making sure business customers can access content across various sizes of screens is by providing the content through a Web browser using responsive design techniques. With this approach (which is used by all BNP Media websites), the coding of pages recognizes the size of the device being used and whether the user is holding a mobile device in a portrait or landscape format. (Currently, the Apple Watch requires apps.)
Web Design vs. Readability
As more and more sites have adopted responsive design, the development of a websites become more focused on the ease of use a customer discovers when reaching your site with various devices. While in the past, Web design was judged by its appearance in a wide screen, now it must additionally be judged in a hand-held horizontal format.
Continuity of Branding, Voice and Message
Responsive design and cloud computing make it easier and easier for users to move between various screens. Apple even has a feature called “Continuity” that stresses how important it is to provide users with the means to start a sentence on a smartphone and finish it on a laptop. Marketers must think like users in the same way: Make it easy for customers to follow your message and service from one device to another.