Marketers may be in a complex business environment in the current digital era. Marketing trends are changing with technological advances, and the fight for relevance relies on implementing a strategy that equals the challenges ahead. One way to streamline your marketing efforts, increase operational efficiency and drive superior performance is through integrated marketing.
This technique enables brands to deliver a consistent and customer-centric content experience to their target audience across all channels. Through it, communication tactics like email marketing, display ads, social media posts, and landing pages work similarly toward your marketing objectives. This guide further explores the meaning of integrated marketing, revealing its benefits to your business and a few brands that are successfully using it.
What is Integrated Marketing?
Integrated marketing is a strategic approach that helps businesses to deliver unified messages to target audiences across all communication channels. It incorporates all marketing communication elements, including advertising, social media, public relations, and more, to create a consistent, seamless, and customer-focused experience.
You risk delivering mixed messages, a disconnected voice, and inconsistent branding without integrated marketing. Think of a situation where you discover a new brand on Facebook ads and visit their website to learn more about their products and possibly make a purchase. But you find entirely different messaging, visuals, and tone. If you run into that as a customer, you will have difficulty trying to understand the brand’s purpose, and they’ll appear fragmented and disorganized.
Integrated marketing communications (IMC) seek to eliminate these disparities and differences by enabling brands to send the same signals regardless of where customers interact with their brand. For instance, a customer asking a question on an automated chatbot receives the same answer as someone who talks directly to an actual sales representative via call. Similarly, a customer viewing content on Facebook or Instagram finds the same information on your website.
Companies that embrace this strategy make it easier for customers to understand their brand’s intended message, which builds trust and loyalty.
Why is Integrated Marketing Important?
Integrated marketing is a powerful technique with unmatched benefits to business owners. It can help you increase the efficiency of your marketing campaign and get the awareness you require to boost sales. Most consumers prefer waiting until they have sufficient product information before making a purchase decision.
This multichannel marketing strategy enables customers to access all the information they need through various channels. This can make a massive difference in driving sales and locking loyal customers. Let’s look at more benefits of building an integrated marketing campaign in detail.
1. Cost savings
When exploring a new marketing strategy, you first want to know whether it is effective and affordable. Graphics, photography, and content can be costly to your business. Integrated marketing enables you to stretch your digital marketing budget since you’re creating content that can be used for multiple purposes across several platforms.
It eliminates the need for duplication, allowing you to run numerous campaigns for the price of one. Even better, some campaigns rely on user-generated content, which drives down costs while increasing engagement and efficiency.
2. Better customer experience
An integrated marketing plan doesn’t only benefit marketers. It also creates a better customer experience through the consistency and predictability that a unified brand narrative offers. Consumers get to understand our brand in detail and the solutions you have for their problems, leading to customer satisfaction.
3. Improved brand loyalty
The primary purpose of integrated marketing is to engage with your customers and build long-term relationships effectively. You establish trust among your existing customers and prospects by delivering consistent messages across all channels. They slowly start recognizing your brand wherever it appears and become loyal to your products or services. Chances are that they will recommend your business to others, which will be a plus.
4. Better marketing campaign performance
Building consistency by integrating your campaign streamlines your marketing efforts, leading to better overall campaign performance. When you combine online and offline channels to deliver a holistic message, you’re likely to reach more people regardless of where they are in the customer journey.
Research shows that marketing leaders are 1.5x more likely to have integrated marketing in their strategies. Another recent survey reveals that integrating more than four channels in lead management campaigns can outperform single or dual-channel campaigns by 300%.
5. Streamlined management
Many marketers embrace omni-channel marketing to thrive in the digital commerce economy. It ensures presence on every platform, from Google Ads to social media and TV. With an integrated marketing plan, your marketing team can easily manage all these channels because they’ll use the same content, slogan, and color scheme on all platforms.
What are the Elements of a Great Integrated Marketing Strategy?
Different integrated marketing elements make up a complete strategy that operates at various levels to enhance efficiency. Here are the six elements you can utilize to develop a successful integrated marketing campaign for your business.
1. Targeted audience
Your target audience is probably the most critical element of your strategy. It becomes a waste if your campaign doesn’t appeal to the targeted consumers or meet their needs. For this reason, you must always be audience-focused when crafting your marketing techniques.
Creating targeted campaigns with the right keywords based on location, language, demographics, and interests is a good way of ensuring your marketing strategy is effective. By narrowing your audience, you find high-value leads that easily convert to customers.
2. Defined goals
Clearly defined cross-organization goals give the marketing department and company direction, purpose, and vision. Consider the SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-based) framework when defining your integrated marketing goals. With this, your marketing team can seamlessly determine whether their efforts are effective and their impact on engagement, performance, and sales.
3. Aligned messaging
Every form of content incorporated in your campaign must be strategic and aligned with the objectives of your marketing strategy. You should ensure consistent messaging with similar visual and textual features across all online and offline touchpoints to build a strong brand identity and enhance customer loyalty. It should be search engine optimized to reach your target audience and compelling enough to make the purchase.
4. Right blend of marketing channels
Choosing your channels is a vital phase of planning your integrated marketing strategy. Not all platforms will suit your business, and there are many factors to consider to avoid wasting your money, resources, and time.
Consider your business goals, buyers’ persona, and what your competitors are using before making a decision. Your channels could include traditional and online media, ranging from social media platforms to emails, websites, and billboards.
5. Cohesive communication
Effective and consistent communication keeps everyone on the same page regardless of how big or small your sales and marketing team is. They need to know the next steps, such as where to put more effort, make necessary adjustments, or pull back.
If any messages generate impressive results on one page, your content team needs to know so they can repeat them on other channels.
Examples of Integrated Marketing Campaigns Done Right
Here are three examples of brands that have successfully implemented integrated marketing campaigns.
“Share a Coke” Campaign by Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign is among the best examples of integrated marketing. The company swapped out its iconic logo on its bottles and replaced it with common names. It then persuaded consumers to search for their names, take pictures and post on their social media using the #shareacoke hashtag.
This unique campaign went viral, where customers posted over 500,000 pictures in the first year. Not just that, the company acquired around 25 million new Facebook followers, which was a massive growth.
Apple’s In-store Experience
Ranking among the leading brands in the world, Apple has mastered the concept of integration. All their physical stores are designed the same as their website and products. The company targets delivering a consistent experience to all consumers in different stages of their journey.
Anyone who comes across Apple’s products or ads can quickly recognize them because they share an identifiable look and feel. This consistency has been the driving force behind their strong brand image and loyalty.
Smell Like a Man Campaign by Old Spice
This campaign initially started with a TV spot featuring Isaiah Mustafa, now the famous Old Spice Man. The company didn’t stop at the TV commercial; it created more Old Spice Man videos for YouTube, product pages, Instagram, and other channels.
As the clips reached more people and became popular, consumers began to send tweets to the Old Spice Man. He directly answered their questions, which fueled more customer engagement and increased sales by 55% over the first three months. The campaign was highly successful, to the extent that the sales skyrocketed by 107% in the fourth month.
How to get Started with Integrated Marketing
If you are ready to embrace an integrated marketing strategy, the following tactics will help you get started.
1. Understand your campaign goals
Your campaign goals will shape the rest of your marketing strategy, meaning you must get them right from the beginning. Do you want to increase your website traffic or foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar store? Build brand awareness? Drive online sales? Answering these questions will help you come up with defined goals. Having key performance indicators (KPIs) will also come in handy when measuring the success of your campaign.
2. Know your target audience
Your target audience will dictate which marketing channels you use, what message to communicate, and the type of creative to use. For instance, you might consider investing in TV commercials to target baby boomers. Or, if you target millennials, you will probably want to create a social media campaign featuring influencers.
3. Select your marketing channels
The next step is to determine which channels best align with your goals and how you will use them to approach your audience. There are many platforms to choose from based on your needs. Your campaign can include inbound or outbound marketing or a combination of both.
For inbound marketing, you can use the following:
Outbound marketing is more of non-digital or traditional platforms. Among them include:
It’s best to have a wide range of marketing channels to have a broad reach. All the platforms must work toward the same goal, presenting a consistent image all through.
4. Assign responsibilities
You may assign different managers to different channels based on your business and marketing team size. Their work will be to ensure the channel they are in charge of aligns with the campaign. You want to ensure you get this step right by assigning qualified people who can make an integrated marketing plan much more cohesive.
5. Create a content plan
Once you have your channels nailed down, the next is to plan and create content. At this stage, graphic design, copywriting, and other creative will come into play. Your team must be able to repurpose any content to use on various channels. Doing this will help you maintain a consistent campaign and ease your workload.
Let’s say your campaign focuses on launching a new 3-minute business video. Your media team could repurpose this video into:
As you create and repurpose these creative assets, ensure they are consistent and align with your brand image.
6. Launch Your Campaign
Now you have goals, audience, channels, and content planned out. It’s time to launch your campaign. This step isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. Once your creative is complete, you can begin implementing your campaign. This could mean setting up a Google Ads account, launching a social media campaign, or sending out promotional emails.
Plan how to capture data daily and track your metrics each week, month, and quarter. This information will help you measure your campaign’s success in reaching your goal. With the right strategies, tools, and managers, you can create continuously integrated marketing campaigns that win.