Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Online and offline

In my classes I preach the importance of integrating online and offline strategies. In working to increase the profile of our interactive marketing area of study here at Northern Illinois University. I see continued evidence that the internet is not enough in all cases. We recently launched a new web site at http://www.interactivemarketing.niu.edu/. In the process we again search engine optimized the site to see how we could get employers to the site to look for grads and post resumes. Our analysis indicated that it seems job and intership seekers were searching for us, but not employers. We are tracking some keywords that we think will help drive employers to our site to learn about our talented grads that are trained in web design, SEO, internet marketing and direct marketing. However, one of the main ways I still get the word out about the program is by attending meetings of our local direct and interactive marketing associations like CADM, AMA, BMA and CIMA. I take the contacts I meet there and put them in a database and contact them via Exact Target and regular emails to build the relationship. We are currently in the midst of a permission-based email campaign to fill some openings on the advisory board. Response has been good with the online media but without that personal touch and connection beforehand, the program would not work as well. Internet and new media are important but face-to-face and other traditional media are not going away. The challenge of the internet is going to be for the forseeable future figuring out how to make all channels work together effectively. This result reminds me that the more things change the more they stay the same. I was involved at MCI with developing programs that integrated the sales force with direct programs that had a great deal of success. It's not just one channel, never has been, and everything needs to be integrated.
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