Today’s marketers have more channels at their disposal to influence their target audience to purchase than ever before in history. On the surface, it means they have more opportunities to maximize their marketing efforts. In reality, they face a complex and fragmented marketing landscape that brings its unique challenges.
Marketing through multiple marketing channels is not an easy task. The more marketing channels you deploy as part of your marketing strategy, the harder it is for you to retain a consistent and complementary brand message on all platforms utilized.
Multiple marketing channels are also making customers become desensitized to marketing strategies due to their consistent exposure to ads.
So how do small businesses, particularly direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands get new customers without having to find thousands or millions of dollars worth of marketing budget to spend on multiple marketing channels? The simple answer is integrated marketing.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about integrated marketing and why you should use it.
Let’s get started.
What is Integrated Marketing?
Integrated Marketing is a marketing strategy that involves getting all your different marketing campaigns aligned and in tandem with a particular message, concept, or idea. It involves you presenting a cohesive and consistent brand experience to your target audience or customers, making them more familiar with your brand.
Consistency Is key in marketing and integrated marketing specifically deals with it. Without integrated marketing, you run the risk of delivering mixed messages or communicating with your customers in a disconnected tone. With it, your customers or target audience know where your brand stands in that industry or how they can interact or relate with it.
Integrated marketing connects all aspects of your marketing: whether paid media, or earned media, or owned media elements.
The message your brand sends is the same on all channels regardless of the offline advertising, direct marketing, content marketing, and PR channel you make use of. Your social media, on-site UX, customer servicing, and direct messaging through email and mobile are also streamlined with integrated marketing.
Integrated Marketing vs Omnichannel Marketing vs Multichannel Marketing
These three marketing terms are very much interconnected but differentiated on extremely thin lines. It is not rare to see someone use any of these three marketing terms interchangeably. However, how are they all differentiated from each other?
Integrated Marketing vs OmniChannel Marketing
Due to their very close relation, understanding the difference between these two is not the easiest thing for an average internet user.
As mentioned before, integrated marketing is the unification of a business’s branding across all marketing channels. It involves a company implementing a single idea or concept into all its marketing campaigns and operations.
On the other hand, omnichannel marketing involves the use and seamless interconnection and personalization of various marketing channels for a particular customer. It includes the optimization of various marketing channels through which a customer can be contacted to give this customer a personalized experience.
Omnichannel marketing takes the approach of putting the customer in the center and making sure that all platforms used by a customer are duly made use of in relating with him or her.
With these, it could be said that integrated marketing takes a general approach (optimizing the whole marketing process to send the same message across all platforms and customers) while omnichannel marketing takes a specific approach (optimizing marketing channels used by a customer to fit the customer’s situation and preference).
Integrated marketing only focuses on making sure that all marketing channels are generally related to each other while omnichannel marketing makes sure all preferences are streamlined for a particular customer across all platforms. With this, it could be said that the level of personalization is what differentiates the two marketing terms.
Omnichannel Marketing vs Multichannel Marketing
Omnichannel marketing and multichannel marketing are two terms that are similar on one ground; they include the use of multiple marketing channels to relate with customers. So what differentiates them?
While omnichannel marketing makes all channels available to consumers and are connected, multi-channel marketing makes all channels available to consumers but are not connected.
The level of personalization with the marketing campaigns and channels also differentiates multichannel marketing from omnichannel marketing.
Multichannel marketing only describes a business using multiple channels to relate with customers. A company making use of email marketing, social media, and google ad campaigns for its marketing operations engage in multichannel marketing. Only the fact that a company makes use of these different channels qualifies as multichannel marketing.
Omnichannel marketing goes further to specifically personalize and streamline these channels for each customer. It puts the customer in the center and makes sure that all channels through which the customer is related are orchestrated and optimized together to give the customer a personalized experience.
Integrated Marketing vs Multichannel Marketing
Both these terms involve the general approach a company takes for its marketing operations. Multichannel and integrated marketing both involve the use of multiple channels to relate with customers.
However, as said earlier, multichannel marketing relates to the use of multiple marketing channels to run marketing operations. It simply stops there.
On the other hand, integrated marketing involves the optimization of these multiple channels to pass the same branded message or concept to the general public. It involves streamlining the whole marketing campaign so that it passes the same message no matter the channel or medium used.
From these, it is seen that integrated marketing optimizes the multichannel marketing campaigns for the general public while omnichannel marketing optimizes particular marketing channels used by a customer for that particular customer.
Also, it could be said that integrated marketing is a step further from multichannel marketing while omnichannel marketing is a step further from integrated marketing. Both are differentiated by their level of personalization as relating to customers, generally or specifically.
Why Should My Business Use Integrated Marketing?
So after knowing what integrated marketing is, you may be pondering on the benefits you stand to get. Engaging in integrated marketing is important and for good reasons: unified brand recognition and perception, improved marketing campaign performance, and higher revenue yields, and cost-saving.
1. Unified Brand Recognition And Perception
Multichannel marketing allows your brand to reach its intended consumer multiple times and across various channels. This benefit could seem enough to give your brand recognition in the market space but when the message is not consistent, the perception customers have of your brand becomes disjointed and skewed.
However, when these various channels regularly and consistently communicate the brand concept and message to customers, the perception of all customers is unified. Your brand has a point of reference and is more likely to be recognized and trusted by customers and your target audience. This is what integrated marketing is all about, the consistent delivery of ideas and messages to customers.
With integrated marketing, you avoid giving the audience a disorganized brand experience or making it likely that your intended message is misinterpreted. You build better brand awareness with consistent graphics, headlines, and key phrases, among others, across multiple channels and platforms.
2. Improved Marketing Campaign Performance
Research shows that integrated marketing across more than four channels outperforms single or dual-channel campaigns by up to 300%. It means that maintaining a great deal of consistency within your brand’s campaigns through integrated marketing leads to the better overall performance of your campaigns.
You do not just increase the number of people your company reaches. Improve your brand awareness and, consequently, increase the productivity of your campaigns significantly.
3. Yields Higher Revenues And Save Costs
When your company successfully delivers a clear branded message to a wide audience through multiple channels, typically your leads increase. Now, when your leads are properly taken advantage of, your revenue inevitably increases.
More revenue means a higher ROI and less wasted resources. You create a multi-pronged marketing campaign that targets wider audiences and builds revenue without having to worry about wasting costs.
How to Begin Your Integrated Marketing Strategy
Integrated marketing does not just involve spreading similar ads or words across different marketing channels. You can not achieve the required goal by just doing that.
The success of your integrated marketing campaigns depends on how well you connect with your audience. It depends on your strategy and how well you adapt your message to each marketing channel you make use of.
In doing this, you aim to pass a consistent message adapted to the various marketing channels used and in a bid to achieve profitable recognition from customers.
So before getting into the whole integrated marketing operations, what do you have to do to set your path right? A few things need to be put in place or considered for your integrated marketing strategy to be seamlessly created.
1. See Things From The Customer’s Perspective
Your marketing campaigns are directed towards no other group than your target audience and customers. You want to please them, so you must put yourself in their shoes and see how your marketing campaign helps them.
Seeing things from your customer’s perspective is the first step you have to take. Acknowledging what is important to your customers or the problems they face. Then formulate a marketing strategy shaped by these or towards taking care of the problems they face or what they consider important.
2. Come Up With An Idea
Now, it is time to come up with a compelling and interesting idea. Your idea must capture the attention of your customers and keep you in their minds. There are a few methods that help you easily do this.
First, figure out what sets you apart from the competition. This means identifying the few perks you provide the customers in the market that make you a better alternative. Upon identifying these, you then begin to think of ways to create content about them.
Another important element to consider while coming up with your idea is your brand value (what your brand stands for). You do not want to come up with an idea that is not consistent with your brand value, especially considering the goal of integrated marketing; consistency in all marketing campaigns.
Your idea should align with your brand’s ultimate mission or principle. This principle, for instance, could be to provide reasonable prices, make use of recycled materials, or provide exceptional designs for your product. No matter what idea you come up with, make sure it complements your core brand values.
3. Leverage The Strong Points Of Multiple Channels
Instead of relying on an individual marketing channel, integrated marketing includes the use of multiple channels. This means it is time to recognize the need for various marketing channels.
As mentioned before, multiple marketing channels prove to be over 200% more effective. Therefore, integrating channels such as advertising, social media, and sales promotion, among a lot of others through a clear and unified marketing campaign guarantees you the maximum impact.
How to Build an Integrated Marketing Campaign
Having got past the starting stage of setting up your marketing campaign, it is time to bring it to life. This process is not the most straightforward of processes. Here are the important steps that need to be followed very closely:
- Establish The Main Goal Of Your Campaign
- Select Your Marketing Channels
- Define The Audience For Each Marketing Channel
- Select Your Channel Managers
- Generate Your marketing Assets
- Determine A Scheme For Acquiring Leads
- Launch, Assess, and Optimize Your Campaign
1. Establish The Main Goal Of Your Campaign
Your integrated marketing campaign cannot provide the required consistency with all your campaign elements if this step is not followed. The goal you want to achieve with your integrated marketing campaign is the first thing to be defined when building it.
An integrated marketing goal heavily depends on the situation of your business and what you want your customers to know about it. It is not the hardest thing to define.
The goal could be, for instance, introducing your customers to a new product, service, or initiative, informing them of your complete rebranding, or you just want to make one of your campaigning elements more familiar among your customers.
From this, setting a goal for your integrated marketing campaign is not hard, however, there is a catch to it. While mapping out a goal to be achieved, make sure that you consider how much control you get to have over it. Ensure that analysis can be collected to study and improve the whole campaign.
This means your goals should be connected to at least one of the important key performance indicators (KPIs) and their related metrics. KPIs are analytic measurements that help you study and define your popularity or acceptance amongst your online audience. They also help you know how you can improve on them.
Some of the most important KPIs and their related metrics to be collected and used include:
- Traffic. Usually defined by the number of page views by channel and source.
- Engagement. Defined by your visitors’ bounce rate or average time on a page.
- Best Performing Content. Shown by the number of click-throughs, conversions, or backlink clicks.
- Feedback. Shown by comments on the page or number of social shares.
- Lead Generation. Shown by the total number of leads. The total number of campaigns and lead conversion rate per campaign are also important metrics.
All these metrics help you stay focused on achieving your campaign goals, rate your success, determine the areas you are lacking in, and improve subsequent campaigns.
While creating a goal, you should also consider how it affects your overall sales opportunities and business revenue. You do not want to pursue a marketing objective that proves detrimental to your business in the long run.
2. Select Your Marketing Channels
Determining your integrated marketing goal becomes useful here as it guides you in selecting the appropriate marketing channel to pursue it.
Not all marketing channels are appropriate to pursue a marketing goal. For instance, a goal to introduce your customers to your new logo or new website outlook is not appropriately achieved with the use of radio ads.
Alternatively, trying to reach individuals in remote areas or neighborhoods with poor internet connection or literacy is not also reasonably achieved through the internet.
Having an audience in a limited geographical area also means making use of local advertising or marketing channels such as local radio stations, local television stations, or billboard ads. All these are defined by the goal you set to achieve.
Nonetheless, there are several major marketing channels or mediums through which you distribute your campaign content.
- Advertising. Done through physical means such as newspapers, billboards, and television commercials, and online means such as Google Ads.
- Direct Marketing. Where you interact directly with your consumers
- Email Marketing. The use of emails to reach your consumers.
- Public Relation Campaigns.
- Personal Selling Operations.
- Sales Promotions.
- Digital Marketing through Websites, Content Marketing, and SEO.
- Social Media Campaigns such as Facebook Marketing.
- Events and Sponsorship Programs.
- Unique Packaging.
An integrated marketing campaign includes several of these marketing channels. You reach a wider audience. Integrating as many appropriate channels as possible is great for your integrated marketing campaign.
3. Understand The Audience For Each Marketing Channel
Every marketing channel has an audience that can be defined by a specific persona. For instance, a marketing campaign through a platform like Instagram is likely to reach more teenagers and adults with an average maximum age of 35. With this, it is apparent that each marketing channel needs to be optimized according to the type of audience it offers.
Instead of defining a broad consumer persona for your campaigns, defining the target audience for each channel and accordingly optimizing your campaign provides more results. Even though there are always multiple channels that offer you the same type of audience, it is still important to define the general audience persona for each channel.
Nonetheless, one thing remains important to point out. Your main integrated marketing goal may be to reach out to a particular defined audience. In this case, instead of defining the audience persona after choosing a channel, you choose the channel after defining the audience persona.
4. Identify Your Channel Managers
You may have multiple individuals or teams in charge of different marketing channels but, even if this looks sufficient for proper results, it is not the most effective practice. With a multi-channel marketing campaign, you need a dedicated manager to supervise and take care of each channel.
A manager acts as the expert on each channel and provides guidance relating to the audience and optimization strategies, among others.
Rather than having a general manager overseeing all channels, selecting a manager dedicated to each channel proves to be more productive. Hire individuals with experience that have limited areas to focus on and avoid any overwhelming situations for general managers that cause your content or entire campaign to suffer.
Even with a smaller marketing team size, it is important to identify the best individuals with expert knowledge on each channel and place these individuals in charge.
5. Generate Your Marketing Assets
Now that you have your determined campaign goal, defined target audience, and selected marketing channels, the marketing assets used to drive your campaigns need to be created.
Marketing assets are the content and campaign elements that are shared across the different marketing channels. These include videos, static images, quotes, GIFs, hashtags, blog posts, and more.
This stage includes a lot of creative processes, like copywriting and graphics designing, to better visualize your idea and properly interact with your audience. When generating these marketing assets, there are a few tips that help to guide your creativity.
First, make sure that your content is adaptable to fit different marketing channels. Integrated marketing aims for consistency on all marketing platforms. Creating content that can be easily transformed into different formats for different channels makes this more feasible.
If you make use of a video on Youtube for your primary marketing campaign, for instance, it should contain content that could be transformed into text for the blog and social media posts.
Creating other marketing assets relating to the video, like hashtags, gifs, and images should also be easy. This way, you easily transform and make use of your content on multiple marketing platforms while keeping the message consistent.
Additionally, proper care needs to be taken to ensure the message actually remains consistent. This could be a little bit difficult for some individuals but a few tips can help in unifying marketing assets.
- Define all the possible file formats into which assets could be repurposed or transformed.
- Formulate guidelines for all visual elements; create a logo, define the color palette, and typography, among others.
- Make guidelines on your use of words relating to, for instance, taglines, preferred language, keywords, and words to avoid, among others.
- Make a distinction between the types of content you want to create and the resources to be used.
- Provide information about your target audience to your marketing team or content creators.
Without consistency, integrated marketing does not guarantee you results. Following these guidelines helps you with a more uniform and streamlined content creation process.
6. Determine A Scheme For Acquiring Leads
The amount of generated leads indicates the success of a marketing campaign. Nonetheless, converting these leads is very important in completing the whole sales process and generating revenue.
Lead conversion remains important even when the aim of the marketing campaign is not to make sales. Why waste your leads and leave interested individuals hanging? Why risk the possibility of your brand perception being affected by unsatisfied leads? Converting leads is important and a plan needs to be defined.
To start with, consider the possible ways your visitors could convert to leads. Then consider how these leads are interacted with once they come in. Of course, this implies that your marketing team needs to work hand-in-hand with your sales operations. Your main goal should be to ensure that leads are properly attended to and kept interested till they are converted to sales.
7. Launch, Assess, And Optimize Your Campaign
The integrated marketing campaign is ready to be launched but that does not mean the whole process is finished. Do you remember the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) mentioned in the first step? Here is the time they become useful in the whole marketing campaign.
After initially launching your campaign through different platforms, important metrics are collected and used to determine its success.
With this, you know if further investment into the marketing campaign is a smart move or there are still loopholes and underperforming channels. KPIs also help to easily identify the best measures to take in improving the whole marketing campaign.
After optimizations are made, the whole marketing campaign is continuously tracked and further optimizations are made in the future. Integrated marketing is a continuous process that goes on and on with no end in sight as long as your business is still existing.
Examples of Integrated Marketing Communications
“Share A Coke” Campaign
With the phrase “Share a Coke” representing the main concept, Coca-Cola’s integrated marketing campaign featured a unique idea that put customers at the center.
The main marketing channel was Public Relations using the company’s bottles and cans. Here, phrases directing buyers to share a coke with random names were placed on the containers.
Apart from the endless advertising and promotional opportunities, this marketing idea led to a massive inflow of user-generated revenue from customers. This was especially gotten from customers that found their own names on the bottles.
The #ShareACoke hashtag was created and eventually shared alongside over 500,000 customer photos. This campaign was not only limited to the USA or parts of Europe. It was sent out to every Coca-Cola market worldwide with country or region-specific names placed on the bottles and cans. This resulted in an increase in Coke consumption from 1.7 billion to 1.9 billion daily servings worldwide.
What Can Be Learned From This?
Looking closely, it is evident that, in executing this integrated marketing campaign, Coca-Cola followed the various steps outlined earlier in the article.
- Coca-Cola came up with an idea and established a goal for its marketing scheme, the aim was to improve familiarity and interaction with customers and, eventually, revenue.
- The company selected its various marketing channels; social media, advertisement boards, and public relations through the names and phrases on the bottles and cans, among others.
- The audience for the marketing campaign and each marketing channel was defined and taken into consideration. As seen from the image above, Coca-Cola made use of names that are specifically popular in the different regions to which the marketing campaigns were sent. It made use of Asian names in its various Asian markets, to American names in its American market, to various African names in its different African markets. It made the whole campaign relatable to the target audience and customers.
- The content “share a coke” was the major concept through which all marketing assets were created and unified and, of course, the popular red and white colors of Coca-Cola were maintained across all content and channels.
- Furthermore, the increase in sales by 200 million daily units means that leads were acquired and converted to sales. A plan to convert leads was formulated even if Coca-Cola only intended to have familiar and passive interactions with its existing customers.
The whole campaign was a success and, if hitches had occurred, Coca-Cola surely optimized the whole campaign to maximize its effect and productivity. This Coca-Cola example is a comprehensive representation of how to build and implement a successful integrated marketing campaign and the amount of success it offers you.
Domino launched a campaign codenamed “AnyWare”, with the main goal of providing and switching to a digital way of ordering food and, consequently, providing more convenience for its ever-growing customer base.
The pizza chain’s “AnyWare” marketing campaign introduced customers to new ways of ordering food through a tweet, a text, and its website via mobile phones, Ford Sync, smart televisions, and smartwatches.
What Can Be Learned From This?
Domino’s whole campaign was properly planned and the foundation for its success was laid a couple of years before its launch.
- Established the Main Goal of the Campaign. The main goal of the campaign was to get its customers to switch to a digital way of ordering food and to provide more convenience for its customers.
- Understood and Set up Customer Profiles. The pizza chain established pizza profiles, which included customers’ payment information, addresses, a customer’s favorite food order, preferred payment method, order type (delivery or carryout), and favorite store.
- Used Different Marketing Channels. Domino’s deployed its marketing campaign through different channels such as press releases, a national television campaign, and more. The chosen channels were appropriate in directing customers to its “Anyware” website. This website was used as the main channel and marketing asset to drive the whole concept and campaign. Here, customers learn about new ways to order.
- Campaign Success. The AnyWare campaign generated over 2 billion media impressions, the website received more than 500,000 visits, and the television campaign helped to generate 10.5 percent year-over-year sales growth. Domino’s achieved its goal of shifting the bulk of its orders to digital channels through this campaign.
From the above, it can be seen that Domino’s made proper plans before launching the main integrated marketing campaign.
The goal to majorly digitize orders was established and every other stage followed. Domino chose its appropriate marketing channels with its target audience in mind, and all marketing assets were created specifically to direct customers to the Anyware website.
With an increase in sales growth, it can be implied that appropriate measures were taken for the conversion of leads to sales. The whole integrated marketing campaign unified the message which Domino’s intended to pass, drove it into the mind of customers, and it proved to be a success.
“End of the Year” Campaign
Another popular brand on the list, Spotify, the music streaming platform executes its integrated marketing campaigns well and on a regular basis.
At the end of the year, Spotify launches an annual yearly roundup for each of its users where they get to see and listen to a playlist of all their favorite songs over the year.
What Can Be Learned From This?
- Appropriate Marketing Channels Selected. The marketing channels used for this campaign include in-app ads, notifications, email, and billboards signs on streets, and subway posters, and others visible by its audience.
- Marketing Assets. The marketing assets consisted of similar visualization, design, and wordings. It consistently uses the popular green and black colors of Spotify for its content that promotes and informs individuals about this end-of-the-year playlist. Such a move helps keep the online and offline experiences unified. It also makes every point of contact with the marketing assets breed a familiar tone for the target audience.
- Integrated Marketing Success. Spotify’s end of the year campaign has proven to be effective over the years. Due to its seamless integrated marketing campaigns, Spotify won the award for the best out-of-home campaign of the year in 2018. This award was presented by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America’s Platinum Obie.