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Holistic marketing: digital and the real world

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Written by: Matt Rogers
Holistic marketing isn’t just about considering all aspects of the marketing stack. It’s about understanding how those pieces form interdependent relationships, and how you can leverage them simultaneously for exponential growth.

As a digital agency working with various clients in London and beyond, we’ve often found that making connections between various channels can be challenging for companies. This is especially true when we break out of the digital world into the real.

The power of medium bias

Different people like to interact in different ways. This is one of the central drivers of a holistic channel approach; some people hate Twitter, others love Youtube, other’s still just want to meet you face-to-face over a pint. Providing a platform for these preferred interaction types is your job as a holistic marketer.

However, to really get the very best out of a holistic marketing strategy you’re going to need to break down the barriers between channels. After all, your Twitter following are great candidates to join your email list, and attendees to your event might get a real kick out of your Facebook content. The big question is, how do you bend an audience’s medium bias to facilitate cross-channel exposure and exponentially drive sharing behaviour? Never is this question more prevalent than when working with events.

Gamification and the role of incentive

One of the best events I ever attended was a global content marketing conference run by a private brand. What amazed me was how effortlessly the event managers weaved in digital channel interaction with real-world activities, creating a buzz online that reflected the atmosphere in the room.

An example of this was the ongoing competition that ran throughout the event. The organisers used a collection of great prices ranging from bottles of wine to books on marketing. The audience could win a prize by posting great pictures of the event to Twitter using the event hashtag. Every hour, a new winner was chosen in front of the room and everyone got to see what prize they chose. The reaction online was massive.

Sharing gateways

Gamification shows that incentive is a clear driver for cross-channel interaction. However, incentives will always fall flat if sharing is not built into the system. Offer a free ebook at your event and you might get lots of downloads, but all you’re doing is moving attention from one channel to another. What we really want to do is leverage the sharing power of digital through a real-world audience.

Sharing gateways are a key component of this, and are all the more effective when delivered to a real-life audience that has already invested in your brand. Whenever you incentivize, be sure to lock your content behind a sharing action that promotes exponential growth. SumoMe ( has some great tools for doing this.

Parallel spaces and going public

Buzz is what we’re looking for when we host an event – buzz in the room and buzz online. The more we can get people talking to each other the better. And that’s the great thing about events – people need to talk! From planning their day to meeting co-workers for lunch, your audience is desperate to vocalise their thoughts.

In order to create buzz, we need to capture these conversations and make them public (with consent, of course). Your job is to provide a platform for people to engage with each other online whilst keeping it open to public notice. Twitter chats are a great way to do this, and a universal event hashtag helps people bring their conversations together. You might also want to consider pre and post event platforms. People love to make connections before an event and debrief afterwards. If you can continue gamification after the end of your event, even better.

Remember, if event marketing isn’t in your stack, then you can’t say you have a holistic marketing strategy in place. Real world and experiential marketing is an essential piece of the puzzle and helps to bring everyone under the same flag – your brand. If you’re able to make your event resonate in digital spaces too, well, you’ve got a true talent and a lot of growth potential.