How can you get into the consumer’s mind and affect their behavior? Will it happen with a few scattered ads—a little radio here, a print coupon there, a nice website? No. Your marketing has to communicate a consistent brand message across the multiple media that people are actually using. Your brand has to make repeated connections with people in the ways that they actually think and perceive, following their patterns of behavior. In today’s consumer-driven world, your marketing simply has to be INTEGRATED. But what is integrated marketing?
About.com defines Integrated Marketing as, “A management concept that is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation.” Integrated marketing is about consistency of message across complimentary media—using each strategy to leverage the others. It’s about making the maximum impact on the consumer mind for minimal cost; some of today’s strategies—such as social media marketing, mobile marketing and search engine optimization—are very cost-effective indeed!
Today’s marketing integrates online and offline strategies, using them together, in close coordination, to increase your bottom line. Traditional ads, such as print, must include online Web addresses and social media profile information, and online advertising must point to all the ways people can interact with your business. Truly integrated marketing decisions are based upon understanding how and where people are using various media, and then creating campaigns that are effective and consistent across multiple media platforms.
A major key to a successful integrated marketing campaign is to keep your branding consistent across all of your marketing channels—both online and offline. Online marketing channels include any e-marketing campaigns or programs such as search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, mobile marketing, banner ads, blogs, etc. Offline marketing channels include traditional print, direct mail, billboards, radio, TV, and the like. A company develops its integrated marketing communications program by using all the elements of the marketing mix in a coordinated way. Jessica Runberg explains, in her article “Integrated Marketing Solutions,” the importance portraying a consistent message across diverse marketing channels.
By delivering a consistent message to your customers, no matter how they interact with your business—you’ll build a strong brand and advertising presence. Using the same taglines and color schemes are just a couple of ways that you can maintain this consistency across all of your channels. And the more places you include your branded message—on websites, in traditional media outlets, on website banner advertisements, in paid search results, on social media sites and other venues—the more likely you are to reach a wider audience. By telling the same story in different places, it may be easier to connect with customers that you weren’t able to connect with before. For example, you may find that the customer who never opens your e-mail marketing messages may actually prefer interacting with your business on Facebook or Twitter. Or, perhaps someone who heard about your business on the radio would prefer to visit your website rather than call your toll-free telephone number. By delivering your branded message across a variety of marketing channels, and being clear about the different ways people can find your business, you can interact with more potential customers overall.
One of the great things about truly integrated marketing is that it combines the best of online and offline marketing to reap the benefits of both. For example, traditional marketing strategies like TV, radio and print are notoriously difficult to measure for response. However, integrating more interactive strategies such as mobile marketing, Web and email marketing builds the means for accurate measurement right into these campaigns. For instance, you can easily gain targeted and measurable response data from a print ad by including a text message call to action—say entering a mobile sweepstakes.
Not only that, you will come away with a database of very interested prospects who have given you their permission to contact them with future offers, specials, events and mobile coupons. For example, we can help a restaurant build a mobile database through integrating traditional advertising with a mobile call to action, so that they can text message happy hour specials, coupons, etc. to their prospects and increase traffic at a moment’s notice. Dutch Brothers Coffee is using this integrated strategy with great success.
Integration needs to happen from start to finish to ensure maximum impact for your marketing dollars. In creating corporate identity, such as logo and tagline for example, it’s important to analyze how well various options will work for both offline and online applications. Will a particular logo option look good in print, on a website, and even on a mobile phone screen? In creating a marketing plan for a client, it’s vital to get real-time data on where your customers are looking, what they are searching for, what their habits are—not just guesswork or generalized data; to choose the best combination of online and offline strategies and empower them with engaging and consistent messaging. Make sure all of these strategies are optimally linked together so that you gain complete penetration into the mind of the consumer at multiple touchpoints. With built-in measurability, you can focus your marketing even more the next go-around. Through integrated marketing, you can even build permission-based prospect contact lists, enabling you to take a fine-tuned message directly to an extremely targeted, customized audience. The concept carries all the way through to enlisting testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers on various websites, social media and blogs, to build brand reputation online and gain customer loyalty.
Is your marketing truly integrated? Could your marketing be working harder for you, perhaps even for less outlay of your marketing dollars? Perhaps it’s time to find out.
Kelly Walker is President of Incyte Marketing of Bend. He can be reached at 541-419-9976 and Kelly@incytemarketing.com, www.incytemarketing.com.