Design, Digital, Futures, Gareth Case, Infographic, Print, Video, Web

WTF is 4D Marketing

You’re probably thinking, 4 dimensional marketing? Sounds like another bunch of buzzwords that will undoubtedly cost me money at some point. Wrong. The 4D methodology can be created from scratch (often expensive) or from recycling content that’s sitting right under your noses. So. What is 4D marketing and why should you care?

Having spent the best part of 14 years running campaigns across the full marketing mix, predominantly promoting IT products and services to pretty much every vertical market, I have honed the approach down to one that simply achieves great results. Here are the 4 dimensions that are going to make your next campaign (or piece of collateral) the most effective you’ve ever produced:

Dimension 1 – Content
This is where most projects starts, and unfortunately where most finish. Have a look at your company overview document. Read it. Thoughts? Vanilla, flat, horizontal, a little bit, well, dull? Content is king but flavourless corporate buzzword content isn’t king at all. Is it? Whether it’s a campaign or a company overview, we need to start tweaking, which brings me on to:

Dimension 2 – Vertical Market
This is all a bit 90’s but still something that so often gets overlooked. To prove the point, go back to your corporate overview document, or a product data sheet and read it pretending you run a local authority. Now read it again pretending you’re running an investment bank. Now, one of 2 things has probably just happened. You either read it and thought, this is pretty dull or you read it and thought, this isn’t for me. The point is, common language and showing you understand the customer will improve engagement. But we don’t just speak with company owners, do we?

Dimension 3 – Job Function
This is the bit everyone seems to be missing. Take my last example. The company overview document.  You’ve probably got just the one version. So when you put that document into the market are you sure it’s relevant or more importantly, interesting for the customer? If we expand on the last example, now let’s pretend you’re an IT administrator for the Local Authority. Read it. Now switch roles, you’re a high-flying Chief Financial Officer for a tier one investment Bank. Read it. Hopefully the penny has dropped. The same message about your company simply cannot be effective within these 2 staunchly different demographics. The very idea they might be us becoming absurd. But wait, there’s more:

Dimension 4 – Media
We live is an age of choice. A age of freedom and also one of preference. As businesses, we often fail to recognise that and believe that what we say is right, is right. How very wrong. The point of dimension 4 is that we need to let our customers and prospects consume out information in a way that suits them, not us. In my opinion there are 4 key forms of media for collateral and campaigns.

1. The PDF, typically the most common and they will exist in your business as overview documents, data sheets blah blah blah. The point is, they exist in every company. They serve a purpose yes, but in a very predictable fashion. They are generic and are relevant for all audiences, but interesting to few.

2. The Whitepaper, a document well used in the IT world, typically wordy and technical, these types of media offer greater insight into a subject an often go around the houses to get to the conclusion, they are loaded with research and statistics that paint a trustworthy picture and also typically work within a certain demographic. I have found that customers with a Finance and Technical job function are more likely to choose a whitepaper over say, a video.

3. Video has exploded over the past 10 years. 72 hours if new content is loaded on to YouTube every minute. It suits the Facebook generation as they have been bought up using it. It also suits the typical C-Suite as it can condense vast information (PDF or Whitepaper) into an easy to digest video clip. Video is most effective in my experience for CEOs and Operational decision makers. But what if we could fit the PDF, whitepaper and video content on a 1 page document. Say hello to the infographic.

4. Infographics are a great way of displaying large amounts of information in a graphical, often eye-catching way. What’s more, a good infographic is more ‘sharable’ than say, a whitepaper, opening up new audiences through the power of social media.  Infographics work well across all decision makers.

So there you have it. 4 dimensions that will make you campaigns and collateral more personal, more engaging, easier to digest and understand and more shareable. It doesn’t just stop there though, add this framework to a fully integrated campaign strategy encompassing personalised DM, PURLs, Analytics and Forensics and targeted telemarketing and you’ll be producing campaigns with results you never thought were possible.

Do me one last thing if you will. Read your company overview PDF just one more time and ask yourself if it really does the job? Then put yourself back in the shoes of the Owner of an Investment Bank. Now imagine an Infographic version of your company overview, digitally printed and personalised with the owners details on it, spoken in ‘Financial Language’ aimed at senior decision makers.

Which one would you respond to? The one you have today? Or the 4 Dimensional future?

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About garethcase

Gareth Case has more than 12 years experience of marketing in the B2B technology space and has held senior marketing roles at Intermec Technologies, Arc Solutions, Viglen, Athona and now ONI and has experience of working throughout EMEA, North America and APAC. His broad understanding of the full marketing mix combined with a diverse skill set has contributed to the success and growth of his previous employers. Gareth has proven, successful experience in the following marketing disciplines: Offline: Marketing Strategy, Team Leadership, Direct Mail, Campaign Management, Telemarketing, Print Production, Public Relations, Copywriting, Budget Management, Graphic Design, Collateral Design, Presenting. Online: Website Design, Content Management, iPad Toolkits, Social Media, PPC, SEO, Analytics, CRM, E-Marketing, Video. Gareth has experience of working across many vertical markets including Healthcare, Local Government, Education, Finance, Insurance, Manufacturing, Logistics, Retail, Media, Not for Profit and Legal. He has started this blog ‘Inside a Marketing Mind’ to share his experiences and promote debate around the latest marketing innovations. Follow Gareth on Twitter here – http://twitter.com/gareth_case and subscribe to the blog for all the latest updates. For a more detailed synopsis of Gareth’s skills and experience, please visit his blog or LinkedIn page


2 thoughts on “WTF is 4D Marketing

  1. Agree with you that the four dimensions you define are key to effective communication. In my own model, I refer to the Content my the term Message, as it helps to conceptualize the objective of the communication more clearly without getting deflected into matters of design before the other elements are defined. Also, I work through the dimensions in the order

    1. Market (Which Vertical or other segment am I communicating to?)
    2. Job function (Who am I speaking to? always place oneself in the mind of the recipient)
    3. Message (What do I want the recipient to hear?)
    4. Media (By which mechanism am I going to communicate the message)

    This communications model has stood me in good stead since the 1990s, but in today’s multi-channel social world there are so many more options at each stage – creating an extra challenge for marketers who seek to create clear and appropriately targetted campaigns. At RelayWare, we’re integrating a 4D Marketing model into our Communications application for partner marketing, with intelligent segmentation and role-based targeting, message-based opt-ins and multi-media delivery. It’s exciting to put the theory into practice and see our customers reap the rewards.

    Posted by Veronica Brunwin | July 9, 2012, 11:59 am


  1. Pingback: How to FRAME your content plans | mark wojtasiak - June 11, 2012

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