After the launch.

Newsflash: Companies spend a lot of money on advertising. This year alone, U.S. ad spending is projected to reach $187 billion dollars, with digital advertising accounting for approximately a third of that.

But what happens after brands spend all that money on media to reach a target audience? Regardless of industry, it’s critical to understand the customer pathway and where and how customers come into contact with your brand – and at what points along their journey. This is why integration is critical. Beyond making sure your message is consistent across platforms, the consumer experience must match up with your brand promise.

Sounds good, right? But you’re probably wondering how to make this happen. Here are a few ideas that will help make your advertising investment work harder – after it’s released to the masses.

  • Ensure that your online, in-store, and customer service experiences all deliver on your brand’s promise.
  • Audit your digital presence and ensure that all consumer touchpoints (search, direct web visits, social presence, etc.) align with your brand strategy and current campaign.
  • Fill in your forces on the ground (read: your employees). Educate them on the campaign and current promotions so they can tell customers.
  • Staff up on social. If your campaign generates interest, customers are bound to have questions. The first place they’ll try to find you is online, so it’s important to be prepared with well-informed manpower.
  • Have a system in place to follow up on leads generated. The most unfortunate thing to hear is that a company is having a hard time getting their sales team to follow up on leads. It’s like throwing your ad dollars out the window.

While its best to implement all of these tips, even doing one or two of them will make your ad dollars go further. And overall, just remember the hard work doesn’t stop once a campaign launches. Really, that’s just the beginning.