Marketing as a whole is a vast industry, full of various platforms and communication channels that connect a company’s messaging with their targeted audience. Whether it is email, paid advertising, social media, or a website design these channels are capable of performing well independently, however for most brands to foster significant results both online and offline, the use of integrated marketing channels is key.
Integrated marketing campaigns include a combination of marketing channels being utilized and supporting one another to reach a common, shared goal. For most businesses to achieve their outlined business objective there needs to be cross-channel collaboration with consistent messaging that is reinforced through each platform initiative, expanding the reach and resonation with the targeted users.
Client Needs & Goals
PEX Card is the leading prepaid business debit card service that helps companies save time and money by providing real-time control over employee spending. PEX Card is a powerful alternative to petty cash, business credit cards, and reimbursement because it provides a better way for employees to make company purchases with controls to ensure funds are spent correctly, and only when necessary. Account holders can fund their team’s PEX Cards with the amount each individual needs, and restrict purchasing to specific merchant categories. Dollar amounts on each card and spending categories can be easily changed in real-time, 24/7.
PEX Card came to Blue Fountain Media to create an integratedmarketing campaign, with both online and offline elements, in preparation for an annual training conference with QuickBooks ProAdvisors, a major group within PEX Card’s target audience. They wanted to generate awareness that PEX Card was present at the conference in partnership with Tallie, an expense report software company, and create brand awareness for PEX Card + Tallie as the ultimate expense management solution for QuickBooks ProAdvisors. Lastly, the company wanted to collect email addresses from attendees at the conference for application to PEX Card’s ProAdvisor Ambassador Program.
Certain challenges existed throughout the campaign that needed to be addressed in order to achieve the outlined goals. There needed to be promotion of two brands simultaneously, while clearly communicating the benefits of how they work together in a compelling way. Multiple campaign phases existed, and as in best practices for event marketing, the campaign was broken down into three distinct phases, requiring there be different assets and promotion for each. Lastly, a tight timeline for Blue Fountain Media meant that there were only 5 weeks to execute on the full strategy once it was defined.
To achieve the objectives outlined by PEX Card, Blue Fountain Media developed a three phase strategy that was broken down with tactics to implement before the conference, during the conference, and after the conference.
Building Pre-Conference Awareness
The initial strategy created was built around the idea of generating pre-conference awareness among the Quickbooks ProAdvisors about PEX Card + Tallie’s joint offering, and that they would be participating at the “Scaling New Heights” conference.
To achieve this, messaging was developed that would speak to the audience’s pain points, along with the campaign tagline “Your Paperless Pals” and headline “Don’t Get Buried in a Pile of Receipts.” A cohesive landing page was created that included central campaign messaging as well as relevant conference details. Our social media experts identified LinkedIn as a viable option for pre-conference social media advertising and created a series of LinkedIn advertisements that would be targeted to Quickbooks ProAdvisor groups on the platform, familiarizing potential customers with the service and how it could work for their organizations.
A media buy was activated with Intuitive Accountant, a news source that targets accountants and bookkeepers. Email banner ads were disseminated through their newsletter to recipients that were likely to be attending the conference, fostering some brand recognition before the event even began.
Conference Activities and Branded Collateral
During the conference, a memorable experience with user incentive had to be created so that potential customers would not only want to visit the PEX Card + Tallie booth, but so that they would want to submit their email address and learn more about the Ambassador Program. Blue Fountain Media developed the idea to create a jointly branded PEX Card + Tallie cash cube, where ProAdvisors could win up to $250. This idea was a fun link to the brands’ association with money and led to a long line of excited participants.
To complete the integrated marketing campaign and help round out the progress that had been made before and during the conference, we created an email marketing series that followed up with conference attendees to keep the brand top of mind and further drive sign-ups for the ProAdvisor Ambassador Program.
The email series was implemented for booth visitors, driving traffic to the PDF explaining the program in detail, and the landing page where users could sign up. Furthermore, a separate nurturing series was sent to non-booth visitors encouraging their participation as well. Our design team updated the Tallie landing page to remove the conference messaging and make it timely and relevant to users now that the event was over. Lastly, a post-conference LinkedIn campaign was activated to once again support the other marketing efforts our team was implementing, and build branding that would be seamlessly consistent as users went from one platform to another.
Within a one month timeframe, the results of this integrated marketing campaign were positive across all channels and provided growth opportunities for PEX Card. Traffic to the landing page was 283% higher than the overall site average. The LinkedIn campaign click-through-rate hit 0.36%, higher than the goal click-through rate initially required for the campaign to be considered a success. The post-conference email nurturing series yielded over 32% open rate and over 5% click through rate. Ambassador sign-ups and client referrals also started strong in month one, which is of course the ultimate goal of the integrated marketing campaign.
To garner the highest ROI when implementing both online and offline initiatives, PEX Card + Tallie’s integrated marketing campaign needed to reinforce central messaging in order to maximize the collaborative performance of all channels. Brand awareness and having each marketing channel play a greater role in their presence before, during, and after the conference directly contributed to the growth of PEX Card’s client and referral base.