Getting consumers’ attention today means earning their attention. You can’t buy it. Your marketing has to be something they want to pay attention to. Designing marketing to meet this goal means always asking, “What’s in it for them?”

Recognize the relative strengths of different media to meet different needs

What’s in it for consumers has a lot to do with the medium you choose. IKEA’s previous digital catalogs were essentially PDFs of the print version – no more engaging than their ink and paper counterparts. But the home furnishings retailer’s new digital holiday catalog realizes the many opportunities to digital allows for creating a much more interactive and engaging experience than print.

As consumers flip through the digital pages, they’re invited to watch videos featuring different products or switch out and compare certain furniture and other items in interactive pictures. The retailer integrates its Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts to embed social content, and equips pages with simple social sharing buttons encouraging consumers to spread the catalog to their own networks.

IKEA’s digital catalog illustrates an important lesson in omnichannel marketing: Recognize the consumers’ differing needs in every channel, and the different strengths media in each channel can use to meet those needs. Your mobile site shouldn’t be a smaller version of your website. Your online catalog shouldn’t be a static version of your print catalog. Different channels have different opportunities and use cases, so take them into account.

What’s more, the digital catalog allows IKEA to track how users interact with the various elements, and look for trends to determine what’s working and what isn’t – knowledge a print catalog could never deliver. Use every marketing execution to learn as much about your consumers as possible, then use that knowledge to power more effective and helpful future campaigns.

Blend channels to combine their strengths

Recognizing that different media are helpful in different ways, create omnichannel experiences that combine those strengths. Where IKEA brought its offline marketing online to deepen engagement, fashion retailer Forever 21 is bringing online marketing elements offline to complement its print catalogs and brick-and-mortar storefronts. I’m not sure I’d call what Forever 21 is doing “augmented reality” as the title suggests, but that doesn’t make their mobile efforts any less impressive.

Using its new F21POP mobile app, Forever 21 animates its motionless storefronts. Forget lifeless mannequins; shoppers who view the storefront with the app get access to view exclusive video of real women modeling the clothing. Says Yuli Ziv, founder and CEO of Style Coalition,

“Video is a great medium for fashion brands because it allows them to bring their creations to life.”

The videos give a truer sense of what the clothing looks like when worn, inviting shoppers to come inside and try the items on themselves. Over half (51%) of consumers have more confidence in the purchases they make after they watch a related video on retail sites.

The app similarly interacts with Forever 21’s print catalog. Several pages of the catalog encourage readers to view the clothing through the F21POP app, which brings up video and online ordering options. Using these videos in apparel marketing – both brand-created and consumer-generated video – is a quickly growing trend, as video gives print and online clothing shoppers a sense of “touch and feel” they can’t otherwise get when they aren’t in a store. In the last six months, 36% of online apparel shoppers have watched a consumer-created video review, and 29% watched an email marketing video.

Build an emotional connection by meeting needs they already have

We preach attracting consumers to your marketing by being helpful and educational – say, a CPG brand providing recipes, or the retailer examples above. These examples start with marketing and make it helpful: “When potentially shopping our brand, what consumer needs will arise that we can meet?” Battery brand Duracell, on the other hand, started by helping – aiding those affected by Hurricane Sandy – and marketing is just a side effect.

Following natural disasters like Sandy, Duracell’s Power Forward Community Center sets up camp in high-need central locations, while the Rapid Response 4×4 truck makes rounds in areas that can’t easily access the Center. Both allow people to charge their mobile devices and use free wifi so that they can stay up on weather and news, and let friends and family know they are safe. Duracell representatives pass out free batteries so people can power their flashlights and radios.

The brand thus provides an honest, helpful service to people suffering in disaster areas in a way that authentically relates to the brand – creating a lasting, authentic emotional connection. Says Duracell spokesman Win Sakdinan,

“This is what the brand is about – empowering people through devices; connecting their families.”

In every marketing action, ask yourself, “How does this help my consumer? What will make them want to use, watch, read, play with, or pay attention to this?” If you can’t find an answer, it’s time for something different.

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