Smart marketers have more channels available to influence buyers than ever before, and it’s important to maximize the impact of as many of these channels as possible. However, marketing through various channels also introduces a challenge: the more channels you utilize, the harder it becomes to ensure that the messaging continues to be consistent and complementary.
Integrated marketing enables marketers to produce a cohesive narrative about their brand and deliver greater impact with their campaigns.
What is Integrated Marketing?
Integrated marketing is a strategy for conveying a unified, holistic message across all of the marketing channels that your brand uses.
Integrated marketing gives consistency wherever buyers choose to interact with a brand. Without integrated marketing, you risk passing mixed messages or communicating in a detached voice, making your brand seem fragmented and disorganized to your buyers.
For instance, whether a consumer views marketing content on desktop or mobile, the experience and message should remain the same. And a customer who questions about a product through an automated chatbot service on your website should get the same takeaways as someone who participates in a live call with a sales representative.
Given the complexity of modern marketing channels, integrated marketing doesn’t typically happen without strong planning and effort — but the investment is well worth it.
There are several moving parts in a strong integrated marketing strategy, but the results are awesome when it works.
Examples Of Integrated Marketing
Following are examples of brands that have done outstanding work with integrated marketing.
1. Chicago’s Field Museum Brings Art into the Urban Core
Brands can be cultural and commercial, as the Field Museum presented an integrated marketing strategy that brought art to people to improve special exhibit attendance. Digital paid media, and conventional advertising (on billboards) served alongside social media posts stating surprise “pop-up” art locations. Moreover, many videos of people interacting with exhibits were captured, building a 360-degree marketing experience that left people needing to visit the museum to quench their cultural thirst.
2. Apple’s Immersive Website and Storefronts
Some companies in the world have the level of brand recognition of Apple, and the company has produced a consistently high level of brand integration no matter where customers encounter it. For example, have you seen how every Apple storefront gives a look and feel almost identical to its website? Few companies can do such a meticulous job of integrating the physical location with the online presence, giving consumers an identifiable customer experience wherever it takes place.
3. Southwest Brings Transparency to Airline Tickets
People tend not to expect airline ticket prices to make sense, but Southwest doesn’t think it should be that way. To that end, they built an integrated marketing strategy they called “Transfarency” to inspire and educate consumers about airline fees, and in some cases, how to bypass them. This was a way for Southwest to set themselves aside by emphasizing their honest fee structure while dispensing customers multiple convenient ways to compensate for things like flight changes and onboard snacks. Moreover, their “we’re different” approach made it perfect for social media, making significant buzz.
4. Domino’s Lets People Order from Anywhere
The ubiquitous pizza chain named their ordering software “AnyWare” to highlight the ease of ordering wherever a buyer may be. The Pizza Profile, built to save customer information and facilitate orders, was the key to making it work. People could order online, by text, via tweet, or even using a smartwatch with this data. Making the word out about AnyWare included an integrated marketing strategy containing press releases and television and digital and social advertising, with a goal of one-half of all orders being made digitally (which they reached handily).
How to Develop an Integrated Marketing Strategy
Follow these guidelines while crafting your integrated marketing strategy for best results.
a) Collect and analyze customer data
Data about your customers’ behavior should encourage your integrated marketing strategy, and it should be updated constantly in response to new data. You can recognize which channels are most effective by gathering and analyzing data from all your marketing channels. It also helps decide where you may require to invest more resources to make your brand message more consistent. For instance, if data points that one channel is underperforming, that could signify that it lacks the messaging consistency present in other channels.
The data acquisition and analysis KPIs will differ depending on your industry and which marketing channels you use. In general, here are some key data points to focus on:
- Exposure. How many prospects are exposed to marketing resources in every channel?
- Engagement. How many prospects actively engage with resources in every channel?
- Repeat engagement. How usually does the same prospect re-engage with a resource after seeing it initially? Do repeat engagements take place across various channels, or do they happen within the same channel?
- Peak engagement periods. Which times of day, days of the week, or seasonal periods see the highest engagement across different channels?
- Buyer journey status. How do levels of engagement vary across buyer types? Do you see more engagement from new leads, for instance, than from customers who are further down in the sales funnel?
It’s usually difficult to know which marketing strategies will be most effective for integrated marketing before launching a campaign, so test your content in advance. Marketing technology brands strive for A/B testing capabilities to send content variations to determine which variables — such as images, colors, or product offer — have the highest impact on your audience.
b) Craft an engaging narrative
At the heart of integrated marketing is a compelling and engaging brand narrative. The marketing messages you present in every channel should build upon each other and progressively educate your audience as they continue to communicate with your brand.
The story could be about the history of your brand. It could be oriented around customer success stories. It could be a fictional narrative created around a brand mascot. Whatever the approach, the goal should be to carry a narrative that customers want to keep following and learn more about as they engage and re-engage across various channels.
c) Consolidate your marketing channels
Marketing channels can be integrated in various ways. One common way is to utilize the same visual elements in different contexts. Another is assuring that consistent language for how you talk about and represent the brand.
Use different strategies to combine marketing channels, but be sure to choose strategies that make the most sense based on your marketing requirements and resources. For instance, if some of your online and television ads channels are obvious, but others are not, it will be more difficult to leverage your visual elements for consistency. Likewise, if some channels are interactive and others are outbound-only, you should keep marketing content and strategies that work for each.
Your way to combine marketing channels should also consider which buying cycle stages are being reinforced. For instance, if your campaigns concentrate on top-of-funnel lead generation, send a uniform message about brand value and the kinds of solutions you offer. In contrast, middle-of-funnel resources might concentrate on addressing common sales objections across various channels so that you can send a consistent message on this theme to audiences who are aware of your brand and need to be moved toward conversion.
d) Lean into inter-department expertise
Given that integrated marketing crosses multiple channels and includes an array of various resources and platforms, it needs engaging with different teams across your organization.
The marketing and sales teams play a pivotal role in deciding how to execute integrated marketing campaigns. Still, you should draw on the expertise of groups such as your software development team, as they can recommend which types of digital marketing resources can be developed moving forward. In addition, coordinating with various stakeholders will help give you a wider view of attending to your customers’ needs more effectively.
e) Use a marketing automation platform
Manually controlling the many variables and data sources included in integrated marketing would be amazingly difficult and time-consuming. So instead, make use of a marketing automation platform that can help you follow KPIs across channels, engage customers, measure ROI, recognize the most promising leads, and more.
In this post, we have seen what integrated marketing is and its examples and how you can develop a strategy to boost your business further. So make sure you read this post till the end to understand it precisely.