Travel back to the 80’s, 90’s, or even the early 00’s, and the then-definition of Integrated Marketing would look entirely foreign. At a time when print and broadcast media dominated newsstands and airwaves alike, the furthest a marketing campaign had to stretch was ensuring your message found its way into the local newspaper, radio station and – if you were lucky – the television.
What a difference the decades make!
Nowadays, marketing campaigns are monstrous things, driven at breakneck speed by the runaway train that is technology. Digital marketing channels haven’t just ballooned as a result, they’ve exploded, now covering social, content, web and mobile to name just a few.
Integrated Marketing is seen as a fast-emerging solution for beleaguered marketers, and with results like IKEA’s 7.4% increase in overall sales, it’s hard to argue against it. The truth is, Integrated Marketing isn’t a miracle cure-all. Instead, it’s an ongoing process and a way of thinking: one which when used effectively can provide a cohesive approach to marketing that harnesses the strengths of these disparate channels.
Today we’re exploring 11 ways you can do this, with a go-to list of tips that ensures your integrated marketing campaigns are reaching the right customers, meeting client expectations, and reaping the full benefits that this integrated approach to marketing provides.
1. Find Your Target Market
Picture the following scenario:
You find yourself in a foreign country, attempting to communicate in a language that those around you don’t understand. Attempts to craft a marketing message without a target customer in mind often result in much the same outcome: you end up saying a lot, but it’s unlikely you’re being understood.
So who is your campaign targeting? If you don’t know, then it’s time to return to the drawing board and ask yourself some questions:
- What demographics are you hoping to reach?
- What are their attitudes, social beliefs, or behaviours?
- What are their interests?
Don’ an FBI cap and research everything from users’ online search patterns through to the magazines they read and the social networks they use. This process provides invaluable information, and when it comes to marketing, information is power. So use it to your advantage! Empower yourself to make informed marketing decisions, and refine your campaign – and its message – to match.
2. Choose Your Marketing Channels Wisely
There’s an important lesson everyone needs to learn about Integrated Marketing: just because a channel exists, doesn’t mean you need to use it.
Integrated Marketing thrives on its ability to present a cohesive and effective message across multiple channels, but simply broadcasting your message on all and sundry isn’t always the best approach. Doing so just leaves you at risk of spreading yourself – and your message – too thin.
Rather, consider a chef at a restaurant: they use the best combination of ingredients for a given meal. When it comes to Integrated Marketing, you should be using the best combination of channels for your message. So ask yourself the following questions:
- What channels do your target customers use?
- What are their individual strengths and weaknesses?
- What combination will best complement each other for this campaign?
It’s important to target popular channels, but it’s just as vital to make use of a combination that accounts for each of their strengths and weaknesses. Remember: a concerted effort on some is better than a lackluster effort on many.
3. Integrate Your Message
Similar to the old myth that an effective website is measured by its page views – which is far from true – unless your message is driving users to perform a given action, then you’re dealing in wasted traffic, time, and ultimately money.
Counter this by effectively funneling users in the desired direction. This could include adding URL that points them to landing or product pages, social media usernames that invite them to engage, or even newsletter forms that increase your customer base.
4. Remain Cohesive & Consistent
Appearance, visual design, and even your font choice play a major role in today’s digital marketing. This is, after all, a highly visual medium. When utilised effectively, a consistent brand message and cohesive brand design can boost your campaign’s reach, impact and effectiveness. But this is reliant on more than the consistent use of a logo or colour scheme.
Instead? Success is found in a combination of:
- Font style, weight, and colour.
- The tone, style, and message conveyed in your copy.
- The topics you cover.
- Your design and layout of your website and newsletter.
- The naming scheme of your social media accounts.
- And your logo and colour scheme.
Executed effectively, this cohesive approach guarantees that whether a user finds your website, Instagram account or YouTube video, they’re receiving a consistent story that helps to build your brand image and communicate your marketing message.
5. Harness The True Potential Of Social
Social media remains at the forefront of the digital marketing revolution, and those who ignore it do so at their own risk. Not that, realistically, you ever could: everyone and (literally) their dog now have a social media account.
Facebook or Twitter may be familiar, but there’s a whole world of social media possibilities outside of The Big Two. So keep your eyes peeled, and your ear to the ground for news of upcoming networks that may be worth your time. And while you’re at it? Give Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope a look.
6. Embrace The Power Of Content
“Content is king!”
It’s a very familiar phrase.
But it’s also a very misleading one. In truth, relevant, well-written and highly shareable content is the true king. Which is why reliable, reputable content creators are more important now than ever.
If you’re not much of a writer, this doesn’t mean you’re out in the cold. Much like Integrated Marketing and the wealth of channels that fall under its umbrella, content manifests itself in many shapes, sizes and forms. From YouTube videos through to Slideshare presentations and everything in between. So whatever your content-creating forte, use it to your advantage.
7. Automate The Process
The most time-intensive tasks in any day are rarely the ones you’d expect. Instead, it’s the small, menial managements tasks that usually eat into your time and your marketing budget. Before you know it, it’s home time and you’ve only just hit ‘Inbox: 0’.
Automation holds the key to unlocking these lost hours and giving you more time and money for the tasks that matter most. This could be as simple as using templates for internal and external emails, to building go-to playbooks of effective, proven marketing strategies that you can refer to in the future.
8. Use A Marketing Management Platform.
Technology is large to blame for getting us into this marketing mess, so it’s only right that technology is the one to get us out of it.
Web and cloud-based Marketing Resource Managers and Management Platforms – of which there are many – can simplify the process, and streamline everything from asset management through to client communications, making it easy to manage and track team members, performance metrics, budgets, and time, to name a few.
9. Break Down Internal Barriers
The old ways of marketing are exactly that: old. But the internal business structures that powered them are still very much present today. Standing in the way of marketing teams, their campaigns, and desired results.
The solution here is simple, but often slow to come about: change. Disparate workers, ideas, and projects are destined to flounder. So break down those internal barriers and set about unifying teams across departments, creating an agile environment in the process that cuts down on the needless process and red tape.
10. Monitor The Metrics That Matter Most
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: information is power. Which is why the proper tracking and analysis of marketing campaign data remains the lifeblood of any successful marketing team and the campaigns they run.
Data like this can show you just how well your campaign is performing, but it can also be used to uncover where you’re falling short. Do you know which of your marketing channels is your most profitable? Or which are dragging you down? With proper monitoring, you’ll place yourself in the best position to investigate these further.
11. React, Refine & Revise
No one is rarely, if ever, right the first time. It’s why writers burn through three drafts before publishing a book. Why concept artists work through multiple renditions of a character before landing on the perfect design. And why article writers test millions of headlines to find the ones that work the best.
The same applies to marketing ; it’s far from stationary.
No matter the time you devote to pre-planning, research and testing, there’s no guarantee you’ll find immediate success. With the steps we’ve detailed above, you have your best shot, and by using this information to react, refine and revise your ideas over time you’ll ensure your campaigns are achieving maximum results.
Disclaimer: All images are provided by author.