The Wagon Wheel
The second definition of digital media integration can be thought of as a wagon wheel. At the hub of the wheel is the product (or service) you are selling. The spokes on the wheel represent the different paths the business enterprise takes to deliver the message about the product to its audience.
For example, let's say that you are Coke. Who is your audience? Everyone who might want a nonalcoholic beverage to help quench their thirst. Where do they "live"? (Where do you find them? Through what media do you reach them?) In Coke's case, the audience is everywhere (lucky Coke).
But what if you have a product that lacks the universality of Coke, that appeals to a more select audience? And what if your marketing budget is substantially smaller than Coke's? (That's probably the case for almost everyone.) How do you reach your customers? What media mix do you use?
The first question to ask is, who are these people? And then, what media are most appropriate to reach them?
The wagon wheel model can be used for anything: products, services, news stories, CDs, movies, and so on. For the purpose of this discussion, let's use a book as the product.
We'll call the book The Singles' Guide to Dating in the 21st Century. Who's going to read this? Singles, obviously. Will it be mostly men or women? What ages? Straight or gay?
And who will buy the book? It may not be the same people who read it: Mothers may buy the book as a gift for a son, daughter, niece, nephew, and so on.
At this point, some research is called for: What other, similar books are out there? How and where are they selling? What have been the success stories, and why have those titles been hits? What campaigns and promotions have worked?
Then, after you've established some sense of the marketplace and a demographic and (if you have the budget) psychographic breakdown of your potential readers, you can begin to create your media-integration battle plan.
Let's say that you've found your audience has the following characteristics: ages 2555, straight (that's for whom the book is written), 75% women, educated, earning an average of more than $50,000 annually.
The majority of your readers subscribe to a daily newspaper and at least three magazines. They are light TV watchers and light Internet users, and they use the latter primarily at work. They listen to the radio only sporadically; when they do, it's only during a.m. and p.m. drive time, and only to "soft rock" stations. Ninety percent of them use cell phones. Now you know how to plan your attack.
As they say, "You can't know which way you're going until you know where you are."