In this way they are getting a 360 degree of their customers over the purchasing lifecycle (Field, 2008).
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) in a Web 2.0 Era
The experiences of BabiesRUs in managing digital and print media in a multichannel strategy illustrate how critical it is to manage each channel to its unique strengths while paying attention to customers' changing preferences for how they purchase products. This retailer has been successful by concentrating on the respective roles of online media to drive upper funnel interest and traffic, with print media and couponing to drive lower-funnel selling and repeat purchase activity. The combination of these approaches also allows for flexibility in how consumer's choices in how they purchase are changing very rapidly -- too rapidly to predict in fact. That is why IMC strategies must concentrate on how to have enough agility of selling process to compensate for any rapidly changing preferences over time. BabiesRUs has done this by underscoring the trusted advisor role in their advertising and this trust unifies the entire strategy so it executes well and sales happen regularly across their store network.
The best practices in multichannel retailing center on using analytics to manage the sales process by customer segment, by product segment and also by method of communications, which is all achievable when a digital platform is used for managing the marketing strategies of companies (Hongcharu, Eiamkanchanalai, 2009).
Based on an analysis of the BabiesRUs website using the free online analytics application Quantcast (http://www.quantcast.com/) the results shown in the following table validate that the multichannel strategy of combing online and print mediums is working. The company is successfully in moving into the higher income, younger segments of parents they are clearly targeted through their online and print advertising strategies. These statistics from Quantcast bear out how successful the strategy is being for the retailer.
Quantcast Analysis, February, 2010
Bernoff, J., & Li, C.. (2008). Harnessing the Power of the Oh-So-Social Web. MIT Sloan Management Review, 49(3), 36-42.
Field, K.. (2008, August). The Maturing of Babies 'R' Us. Chain Store Age, 84(8), 30,32.
Hongcharu, B., & Eiamkanchanalai, S.. (2009). A Comparative Study of Traditional Mass Media, the Internet and Mobile Phones for Integrated Marketing Communications. Journal of Business & Economics Research, 7(12), 31-40.
Peter Kempsey. (2001, March). Direct choice: Babies R. Us. Marketing,13.
Tim O'Reilly. (2006, July). Web 2.0: Stuck on a Name or Hooked on Value? Dr. Dobb's Journal, 31(7), 10.
Appendix a: Web 2.0 Meme Map
Source: (O'Reilly, 2006)
Appendix B: Web 2.0 Applications
WEB 2.0 APPLICATIONS
Online diary or journal entry on the Internet, which primarily supports text, photo (photoblog), video (vlog), and audio (podcast) formats
• Google, AOL, and Yahoo offer free blogging platforms
• Web service that gathers related content from more than one source
• IBM's mashup applications enable project managers to match team resources with a map to identify the geographical locations of the resources
• a technique for effectively sharing music, audio, and text files
• Napster and Gnutella are popular peer-to-peer networks
Real Simple Syndication (RSS)
• Feed-based technology that, with the aid of an RSS reader, enables users to subscribe to newly released content such as text, Web pages, sound files, photos, and video
• RSS feed may contain the full content, for example a podcast, or simply a link to the content
• Encompasses all online tools (blogs, podcasts, Wikis, social networks, vlogs) and Web sites enabling people to share content, such as text, audio, picture s, and videos
• Popular social media sites include YouTube (video) and Flickr (photos)
• Web sites that permit users to create online networks and communicate with friends and colleagues
• Social networking sites include MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, and Friends Reunited, and business networking sites include LinkedIn and Ryze
• Allows users to bookmark or rate online content to share their recommendations with other online users
• Typically used by publishers of media sites attempting to benefit from users' recommendations • Popularized by sites such as Digg and del.icio.us, which enable users to publish, categorize, and share their bookmarks
• Enables users to create and edit the content of a Web site, leveraging the expertise of online users
• Consumer Wikis enable users to comment on content, in addition to editing content
• Wikipedia, a community Wiki encyclopedia, includes approximately 1.3 million English-language articles…