What is Integrated Marketing?
Integrated marketing is the practice of aligning different media, also called channels, towards a unified goal—this can be anything from establishing or reinforcing your brand identity or driving engagement with your message or product. A simple way to look at integrated marketing is creating a cohesive and immersive experience in support of your actual product/brand.
A solid integrated marketing campaign does wonders for brand recognition because of consistency, without bombarding any one platform which can turn off a potential customer base. On top of that, the best-integrated marketing communications drive consumers to engage with the campaign itself, which is a huge stepping stone toward conversion.
An experienced integrated marketing agency also doesn’t discount the potential value of utilizing traditional media in its strategy. They tailor make their marketing mix depending on the target consumer base, and the experience that they’re trying to create.
Guidelines for an Effective Integrated Marketing Strategy
In 2001, David Pickton and Amanda Broderick proposed a model, appropriately called The 4C’s, for marketing and communications. This model is especially applicable to integrated marketing campaigns, and it recommends that marketers inspect their campaigns under the following principles:
Are the materials across your channels delivering the same message, even if they’re not exactly the same? Do they convey the same emotion? A good way to test this is by having people outside of the project view the different materials, then seeing if they get the same messaging from all of them. If not, it would be worth getting data on what they feel is out of place, or what other messages they get from the materials.
Do your elements have the same look and feel? Take a look at your core elements, like your logo and slogan, all the way down to the color scheme to make sure that they are standardized across all of your materials. Contradictions in both the messaging and the style take away from your brand’s credibility, so it will be worth conducting an audit to make sure that there are no inconsistencies in your campaign.
Learn more about auditing your brand here.
In addition to having a consistent message in the current campaign, how well does it connect to previous campaigns and your overall brand messaging? Ideally, every campaign performs better than the last, and this is aided greatly when you’re able to build on the momentum of the core message, even as the media and the methods you use change over time.
Step back and look at all of your elements together again. From afar, do they still satisfy the coherence and consistency requirements? The goal here is to go from having interesting individual elements to making sure that they are even more impactful when viewed as a whole.
Benefits of Integrated Marketing
An effective integrated marketing strategy allows you to achieve much more, with much less. Below are some of the biggest advantages of investing in a solid integrated marketing plan:
1. Wider reach and visibility
Because integrated marketing utilizes multi-channel marketing, your brand is naturally exposed to a greater audience, with every channel providing its own set of consumers that can see and potentially engage with your campaign.
2. Increased credibility and trust
Consumers require more information before they can be converted, but they also hate being bombarded by ads. By distributing your material across different channels, you reduce the risk of overwhelming any one audience, while also increasing brand recognition across channels and your overall audience.
3. Reduced cost
Following the principle of consistency, integrated marketing allows your team to reuse most, if not all, of its assets across the different channels, being targeted. This allows your team to create more materials at a faster rate compared to creating wildly different materials for every platform.
Getting Started with Your Integrated Marketing Campaign
Now that we’ve learned about the concept and the importance of an integrated marketing campaign, the following tasks outline important considerations when building your first integrated campaign:
1. Establish SMART goals
SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. On top of this, it’s important to think like your customer—what about your product/brand/service is important to them? What problem/s are you trying to solve? This helps inform the message, as well as identify key strengths that you want to emphasize in your campaign.
2. Craft your core message
Go back to your brand values, as this will anchor your campaign’s messaging, regardless of the media you use. Your values will also help narrow down your options, as not all media or methods will be appropriate to your core idea or your audience.
3. Identify your channels
After crafting your message and reaffirming your values, take stock of the channels that are 1) available and 2) relevant to your campaign. Will digital, traditional or a combination of both media aid your campaign? How well does a certain channel perform among the demographic/s you chose? What unique strengths can you leverage from this channel?
4. Create a content plan
Once you have identified your channels, it’s time to start working with your team on creating and optimizing material for each. This is when the 4C’s are most important to remember, as you will need to weigh the effectiveness of your materials not just as individual pieces but as a collective. From there, you can build an integrated marketing calendar, so you can better juggle the volume across channels and avoid overwhelming your potential customers.
5. Prepare for launch and feedback
Once your materials have passed the appropriate reviews and have been plotted on the calendar, it’s time to launch the campaign! From there, it’s important to collect data to see how well your campaign performs and either adjust accordingly where able or take note of opportunities to improve on your next campaign.
Integrated Marketing Examples
To better understand how integrated marketing works, here are a few examples of effective integrated marketing communications, and how they affected their respective companies:
Dumb Ways to Die
Railroad companies don’t always conjure a fun, friendly image, at least not until 2012, when Melbourne Metro decided to take a creative approach to promote railroad safety.
Typically, railroad safety promotions come in the form of infographics, or regular public safety announcements. Instead, Melbourne Metro created an entire song, titled ‘Dumb Ways to Die,’ that did exactly what it proposed: illustrate the many dumb ways to die, including getting hit by a train. The associated music video, according to Smart Insights, “...was viewed 2.5 million times within 48 hours and 4.7 million times within 72 hours. Within two weeks, the video had been viewed 30 million times. As of September 2018, the video has received over 170 million views.”
It then went on to become one of the biggest videos of 2012 in terms of shares and grew into an even bigger integrated marketing network, spawning various merchandise such as books and toys, as well as digital media like mobile applications, most of which encouraged users to visit the website and make a personal pledge towards railroad safety. Most importantly, it achieved its intended effect—Metro Trains reported as much as a 21% decrease in railroad incidents after the video went viral.
Share a Coke
Coca-Cola banked on a simple, yet powerful aspect of human nature: most people, if not all, want to feel a sense of importance. Personalized gift-giving capitalized on this sentiment, which led to Australia first launching this campaign in 2011. The resulting increase in consumption caught the attention of Coca-Cola’s global enterprise, which paved the way for a rerun of the campaign a few years later, starting with the US, with many other countries following suit.
The collectible nature of the personalized bottles not only encouraged consumers to find their own names but possibly those of others close to them. This would then fuel a social media craze using the #ShareaCoke hashtag, and Coca-Cola would also expand the campaign to allow for more customized products, as well as promote the craze on even more channels than before.
The US run of the campaign proved to be a massive success, reporting up to an 11% increase in sales of participating products, the highest of any market that ran the campaign.
Integrated, Multi-Channel, and Omni-Marketing: What’s the Difference?
A common misconception in marketing revolves around whether or not integrated marketing, multi-channel marketing, and omnichannel marketing are synonymous. It’s important not to confuse the three; here are three simple ways to tell them apart:
1. Omni-channel marketing is focused on seamlessness.
In most cases, an omnichannel approach directly ties into the consumer experience, mainly by replicating key events across a wide range of channels. A simple way to look at it is to make sure that consumers get the same features and benefits through one channel as they would another.
For example, certain coffee shop brands also have a companion app, which can be used to order the same items that would be available in-store, on top of earning points on an affiliated membership card. While the platforms are different, the ease at which one can order coffee and other items from the shop remains intact.
Omni-channel marketing is most commonly seen in retail or e-commerce than in other businesses or companies.
2. Multi-channel marketing is focused on variety.
Multi-channel marketing is the simplest to identify, as it applies to both omnichannel and integrated marketing. From the term itself, this approach simply requires that multiple channels be used in a marketing strategy.
This can be any combination of the various traditional and digital channels available: social media, print, television, events, and more. As long as there is more than one avenue being used to market a business, multi-channel marketing is at play.
3. Integrated marketing communications is about coherence.
Think of integrated marketing as a small step above multi-channel marketing—on top of utilizing multiple channels to engage with as many relevant consumers as possible, central to integrated marketing communications is making sure that a unified message is being driven across all of the channels, at all times.
A good analogy to make here is: multi-channel is possible without integrated marketing, but not the other way around.
In an ideal scenario, integrated marketing and omnichannel marketing are utilized by your company. However, integrated marketing should be a fundamental practice, especially for businesses with lower budgets, as it is crucial for all businesses to be visible, recognizable, and memorable to compete in today’s market.
Build Your Next Integrated Marketing Campaign with Workamajig
An effective integrated marketing campaign can enable exponential growth for your brand, product, or service. Clear, consistent messaging spread out across multiple channels makes it so that consumers receive healthy exposure to your product in the ways that matter to them, reducing the gap between interest and conversion.
With Workamajig, the premier marketing management software, you have an all-in-one solution for managing your tasks, deadlines, and resource allocations to build an integrated marketing strategy that works for you. Easily adjust your schedule or modify task requirements to ensure alignment with your brand values, and use native reporting tools to maintain alignment with your stakeholders in delivering a solid message to your consumers.