A great media campaign, like a perfectly balanced wheel, is most powerful when the individual elements come together in perfect harmony. Unfortunately, too many marketing professionals or “hip” executives think that building up one digital media element will make their campaign successful.
Like a perfectly tuned bicycle wheel, the spokes of a well crafted digital media campaign need to be in balance and connect to the central campaign hub. Digital media brings in a new set of opportunities to connect with consumers and more accurate technologies to measure reach and impact. To find out how to effectively manage the digital media channels and tools, I interviewed co-founders and digital media experts Mike Whitmore and Jeff Dance from Fresh Consulting.
We talked about the fact that digital marketing evolves and changes quickly and popular platforms emerge to importance and then can become quickly abandoned by the digital crowd (e.g., MySpace).
Mike explained that it can be really hard for companies to figure out which platforms to engage with and that “once a firm dives into digital media having a meaningful presence on multiple sites can seem like boiling the ocean.”
He also shared that firms can avoid getting caught up in this often overwhelming challenge “by approaching the task using an organized and proven methodology based on a hub & spoke approach.” Jeff outlined the model on a napkin for me, represented in the graphic below.
Jeff explained that the company’s website (their hub or “core” website) becomes the focus of attention. All of their external media assets (the spokes) point towards, drive traffic to or create measureable and, hopefully, meaningful interactions with their core website. These efforts are all part of the overall marketing, brand-messaging and lead-generation efforts.
Mike indicated that “most people get the model since it is easy to conceptualize, but the implementation and execution is more complex.” Understanding the types of content for the hub and spokes and how they interrelate and support brand messaging takes discipline and expertise. “Firms must be aware that each one of these new channels reaches audiences differently and the content at the spokes becomes as vital as the messaging and call-to-action at the hub. Each spoke also presents some level of inherent risk to the brand and must be managed with care,” he said.
As with racing wheels, the number of spokes or channels for an effective media campaign can vary. Mike illustrated the point by reviewing seven spokes they used in a recent case study:
- BRAND: Link your brand to creative content, campaigns, and social engagement to communicate the key messages to consumers.
- CONTENT: Produce and re-purpose creative content that will excite sales teams, motivate resellers or interest the end consumer to check it out.
- CHANNELS: Create an integrated presence in new general and niche social media channels and engage the sales team to listen to their customers and build community.
- CAMPAIGNS: Include creative new campaigns that will acquaint customers with the new hot product or service, its growth and relevance to them
- TEAM: Include training materials and responsibilities for the leadership and employees involved to lay the groundwork for building a social media team.
- TOOLS: Include new tools that will support channel engagement, measurement, and listening.
- MEASUREMENT: Address what key metrics are important to the client and how to tie metrics to financial measurement.
Well that certainly looks good, but will it work? We will put it to the test with some startup companies and brands right here at the University of Washington. For example, how does the MCDM program levereage the model? What can the Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GSEC) do differently to create a balanced digital media strategy? Expect a monthly post this year on the hub and spoke model. We will share best practices for developing and managing content within the spokes.
If you would like your product or company to be considered for one of the posts, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or @rosenbalm