Connecting the Dots... Between Advertising and Marketing

Connecting the Dots... Between Advertising and Marketing

By John McTigueDec 22 /2014

connecting-the-dots-between-advertising-and-inbound-marketingDid you ever wonder why "advertising" and "marketing" are treated as two completely separate things? Aren't they the same thing? Not really, not the way a lot of advertising is still done these days. Most of us in the inbound marketing biz stay away from TV and radio ads, for example, because they're expensive and because they seldom drive measurable leads to our inbound "hubs." Why is that? Let's break down a typical TV ad and see what's missing from an inbound marketing point of view. Then let's see how we could make them work better.

Football and Food—A Wicked Combination

OK, I'm a guy, so there are few better buttons to push than football and tailgating food. A lot of women I know love this combo, as well. Here in the Houston area, it's all about J. J. Watt, the Texans' unstoppable All-Pro defensive end. J. J. promotes a local Texas grocery chain, H-E-B, in a series of ads about tailgating, and how the best source for the best football munchies is, of course, H-E-B. The ads aren't Super Bowl quality, in fact they're deliberately (I think) pretty goofy in order to get and keep the attention of the primary audience, beer soaked Texan fans. Now, if you'll indulge me for this one short ad, I want to make a point about the end, so please watch it through.

Thanks for that. I know it was painful for many of you. OK, the Texans cheerleaders help out for some of us typical males. If you're an inbound marketer, you're asking yourself, "where's the call-to-action?" I know, it's "H-E-B Prime 1 steaks and burgers, only at H-E-B." Really?

So how many salivating viewers actually go to H-E-B and buy the steaks and burgers based on the ad?

No idea.

How many people who usually shop at another chain now go to H-E-B instead? How many loyal customers make a return trip because they got inspired to host a tailgate party in their back yard?

Hmmm, you get the idea. There's no connection between the ad and any sort of conversion opportunity that could be used to answer all of the above questions and actually measure the ROI of the ad. I'm sure J. J.'s appearances don't come cheap. Then there's the social media icons on the last shot of the ad. What are we supposed to do with those?

Connecting the Dots

I'm sure the Marketing folks at H-E-B know what they're doing. I love the store and, yes, I'm a loyal customer. I know, it's all about spreading the love about the brand, and that's why the beloved superstar J. J. Watt is featured. I'm sure H-E-B's ad agency is doing exactly what they are told and coming up with fun ads for us Texans fans. And, yes, this is pretty much the way all TV and radio advertising is still done. Here's the thing. You could be doing a lot more.

Let's try something simple.

At the end of the ad, invite everyone to download J. J.'s favorite tailgating recipes at That's easy enough to remember, right? Now capture their email via a form on a landing page. That's it, just an email. They automatically get the recipe download (no, J. J. doesn't actually write it, but his pictures and comments are all over it) via email. Great, now we have a new lead in the H-E-B contact database (or at least a re-engagement with a current customer). And we know this lead came from that ad. That's called attribution. What's next?

Creating Brand Loyalty—and Generating Revenues!

Next, we nurture our leads with additional valuable content. How about...

  • An insider's playbook (a collection of videos) hosted by J. J. explaining how he got some of his best sacks and touchdowns?
  • Another series of videos (for high school kids) giving them tips on playing football like J. J. Watt. Parents love that stuff, especially in Texas.
  • Invitations to in-store live events where J. J. signs autographs. Now we're talking huge turnout.

For revenues (and tracking), send along coupons for savings on all kinds of tailgate food. Ideally, you can track the use of these coupons through your point-of-sale software, CRM and marketing automation platform. Details of this integration will vary depending on your in-store and back-office solutions, but this type of tracking is very doable these days.

Everything else, from email clicks to video views gets tracked along with the original campaign landing page conversions, and you can measure everything you need to know to calculate the ROI of an ad campaign and how all of the different channels and types of content contribute to conversion and revenues.

You can also assess a number of other important bits of marketing data like what kinds of product are selling best, what days are best to reach new customers, what kinds of ads perform the best and how well your promotion superstar is doing his job.

It All Begins With a Conversion Strategy

Next time you storyboard a new ad with your agency, ask them what the conversion strategy is. What's the call to action, and how will you follow-up with additional content and offers to lure both new and old customers out of their recliners and into the store where they belong? How will you measure each step, and how will you measure your goals for the campaign?

Need some help with this? When we're not watching football and pigging out, that's what we do.

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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn and Twitter.