An operative integration of social media and email marketing through specific measures should always be proceeded by a strategic integration. The strategies of both tools will thus be combined in a channel-wide dialogue strategy.
This strategy for email marketing and social media requires common goals. You should pay attention that these common goals contribute to the fulfilment of superior company objectives. The possible common goals generally result from the possible goals of each individual tool. Targets, such as increasing awareness or the acquisition of new customers can be followed with both tools. However, it is necessary to define, how each tool should or can contribute to this common goal. In the case of an integrated communication, the boundaries might not be clear, when users are influenced through both tools. For example, if a user receives a newsletter containing information on a new brand, then accesses the facebook profile of the brand and reads more about it there, both tools will potentially have contributed to the brand awareness. Instead of having both tools follow the same common goal, different goals can also build on each other. In marketing literature, there are different – disputed – hierarchy models, which assume that each targeted person passes through a process in marketing communication prior to carrying out the action desired by the marketing, e.g. a purchase. Each process step, e.g. the perception of a marketing message or its understanding, is linked to a possible goal.
Use Performance Figures to Operationalise
Goals must be operationalised through performance figures. To make both tools comparable, we must identify the relationships between the relevant measured values. While, for example, a click on a link in a newsletter can generally be compared with a click on the same link in social media, the effect of an open in email marketing and accessing a social media profile is not the same.
The common strategy determines, which relationship the tools email marketing and social media marketing have with each other. You must define functional, chronological and hierarchical relationships. There are different attributes for each relationship type.
The functional relationship determines, how both tools perform related to content. Five functional relationships between email marketing and social media marketing are possible.
- Complementary Relationship: In the case of a complementary relationship, both tools complement and strengthen each other. This would be the case, for example, when a product is promoted via email as well as social media. Both tools communicate the same message. But the tools do not necessarily need to be used to the same extent. You can focus on one tool. The other tool would be supporting.
- Conditional Relationship: In the case of a conditional relationship, the use of one tool presupposes the use of the other tool. Conditional relationships consist when goals are structured in a hierarchical sequence and each tool follows another goal.
- Substitutional Relationship: A substitutional relationship exists, when goals can be achieved with both tools. Email marketing, as well as social media marketing, can be used to generate brand awareness. In this case, you could analyse, which tool is more efficient to reach the goal and whether the less efficient tool could perhaps be supportive in a complementary relationship.
- Indifferent Relationship: An indifferent relationship exists when there is no functional relationship between the tools. In this case, email marketing and social media would not be integrated, at all, not even unknowingly (for example, when a complementary relationship existed without being intended). Each tool would follow a completely autonomous strategy.
- Competitive Relationship: A competitive relationship exists, when the effects of the tools negatively influence each other, e.g. when the communicated marketing images differ. As this relationship would work against the set goals, establishing a competitive relationship would not be a relevant strategy. On the contrary, avoiding a competitive relationship, is part of every strategy.
The scheduled relationship defines at which time, both tools are employed. There are four possible relationship types.
- Parallel Relationship: In the case of a parallel relationship, both tools are used simultaneously. This could be useful, for example, when only a few clashes of users for both tools exist. An example would be a sports brand, which has positioned itself in the sports as well as in the fashion market.
- Successive Relationship: With a successive relationship, tools are used time-delayed. This does not rule out that the tools may also have a parallel relationship from the point in time when the second tool is used. A successive use would make sense with a conditional relationship. For example, when a new brand is to be introduced, it would make sense to first create brand awareness via email marketing and subsequently promote it in social media via concrete sales campaigns.
- Intermittent Relationship In the case of an intermittent relationship, one tool is continuously employed, while the other one is used parallel during fixed time periods. If the achievement of the desired brand awareness through email marketing was questionably in the example above, the campaign could spontaneously be boosted through social media.
The hierarchical relationship defines the ranking of the used tools. It may, for example, determine, how much each tool should contribute to achieve the goal or how much budget should be used for each tool. It depends on the functional and chronological relationships. Especially with conditional and successive relationships, in which tools build on each other, hierarchical structuring will be necessary.
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