Media fragmentation has forced marketers to find new ways to reach their target audience. For many consumer packaged goods marketers, integrated promotions are the answer.
"It used to be that you could run a television ad, and everyone saw it. That's no longer the case," said Mickey Jardon, chief executive officer and board chairman, Promotion Marketing Association, New York, a trade organization representing the promotion marketing industry.
Thanks to devices like TiVo digital video recorders, people are no longer watching television -- and commercials -- the way they used to. So marketers are now delivering their marketing messages through multiple marketing tools, including sampling, radio, television, event, trade and interactive.
London-based Unilever is one of them. Both its U.S. food and its home and personal care divisions have made integrated promotions a priority.
"We take this very seriously," said Marc Shaw, director of integrated marketing capability, Unilever Bestfoods North America (UBF-NA), Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
UBF-NA is so committed to the effort that last year it formally created an entire department to integrated marketing capability. The 30-person department is headed by Lisa Klauser, vice president, integrated marketing capability, who will speak at PMA's annual conference this month in Chicago.
Shaw cited UBF-NA's Carb Options low-carbohydrate food line as an example of integrated promotions in action. Multiple marketing tools -- including television advertising, print media, a money-back guarantee, online advertising, relationship marketing and customized retailer programs -- are supporting the rollout.
"We never know where we'll make the connection, so we have to be everywhere and let the consumer decide when they'll interact with our brands," Shaw said.
Individual UBF-NA brands put their own spin on integrated promotions. For instance, the Knorr brand is in the midst of an ethnic program targeting second- and third-generation Latinos.
While first-generation Hispanic immigrants continue to be Knorr's core market nationally, Knorr believes the time is right also to begin pursuing second- and third-generation Latinos more aggressively, said Lindley, because more acculturated Latinos have grown up in Hispanic households and are familiar with Knorr products.
The program ties in to Artisan Picture's "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights," and includes radio tags, magazine ads and in-store material signage. The Internet is also involved, as consumers can get free discount certificates to the movie by visiting www.saborknorr.com, a bilingual Web site created exclusively for the promotion.
"One message is not enough to communicate with the consumer," said Eddie Lindley, brand manager, U.S. Hispanic market, Knorr. "The message can get lost."
By using print advertising, the Internet and other tools, Knorr is confident its brand message will reach the right consumer at the right time, said Lindley. "We want our marketing message to wrap around the consumer."
The Suave brand from Unilever's U.S. home and personal care division, Trumbull, Conn., has also made integrated promotions a top priority, according to Marta Fearon, promotions director, Suave.
The reason: "The more integrated we are, the further our dollars go," Fearon said.
Suave has launched a comprehensive integrated campaign involving a year-long partnership with The Style Network's "The Look for Less" program. The promotion includes a national contest; on-pack messages; in-store displays; promotional contest messages on The Style Network; regional promotional radio spots; a freestanding insert; and an online campaign at suave.com, stylenetwork.com and Eonline.com. There's also a partnership with television personality Elisabeth Hasselbeck, host of "The Look for Less," a show that caters to people looking for affordable fashion and style.
Key to the campaign is a contest called "Suave's Search for America's Smartest Shopper." To enter, consumers must write an essay on their smart shopping stories. The grand-prize winner will receive $20,000 and an appearance in a special episode of "The Look for Less," and will serve as an honorary member of the "Suave Squad," the brand's panel of value and personal care experts.
The topic of integrated promotions is on the agenda for the PMA's annual conference. Don Schultz, professor emeritus, integrated marketing communications, Northwestern University, will discuss how marketers can develop, manage and measure integrated campaigns.
"Marketers have to look at new ways to reach the consumer to build a brand," said Claire Rosenzweig, president, PMA.
Along with being the topic of conversation at conferences like the PMA, integrated promotions are getting support in other ways. One of the biggest signs that the strategy is becoming a way of life in the CPG industry is that marketers are creating new business titles.
"VP titles are coming out in the area of integrated marketing," noted Jardon of the PMA.
Such is the case not only at UBF-NA, but also at companies like ConAgra Foods, Omaha, Neb., which recently named Bonnie Carlson vice president of global integrated marketing.
"If a person or team is watching out for an integrated message, they'll make sure it's communicated in a consistent fashion," said Jardon, who is also executive vice president and managing director, DVC Co-Marketing, a division of DVC Worldwide, Morristown, N.J.