Maybe you’ve heard “humans’ attention spans are shorter than a goldfish’s.” Research from Prezi debunks it to an extent. It’s not that humans can’t pay attention for long. It’s that we’re more selective with what we pay attention to.
If your business wants to cut through the noise and attract attention, a solid integrated marketing strategy can help by aligning messaging across all marketing platforms.
Whatever marketing channel you’re using for your brand, your message must be consistent. Integrated marketing campaigns complement each other for a cohesive marketing point-of-view.
Here’s a closer look at what an integrated marketing plan is, why your business should use one and how to implement an integrated marketing campaign mindset at your business.
What Is an Integrated Marketing Program?
The Data & Marketing Association’s definition of an integrated marketing approach is that it attempts to meld all aspects of marketing communication so that everything works together and is unified.
The integrated marketing mix includes channels like social media and traditional advertising, and ensures tactics and media take a customer-centric approach.
Your business likely has a presence on several marketing channels. These could include:
- Print, television and radio advertising
- Direct mail and flyers
- Social media
- Paid online advertising, like pay-per-click Google Ads
- Inbound marketing, including content like blogs and videos
- Public relations
- Influencer marketing
Whether you use two channels or six, integrated marketing strategy means:
- The language and images you use throughout each campaign are consistent—with the same voice, tone and feel.
- You consider each integrated marketing campaign as a part of a whole. Each campaign’s strategy is determined by taking other campaigns into account. Sometimes, campaigns interact or tell a bigger story.
- Your various marketing employees are all focused on one integrated program. You avoid silos and work to unify your marketing department.
An integrated marketing approach keeps messaging consistent and on-brand.
Why Is an Integrated Marketing Plan Important?
Today’s customers want to relate to the brands they purchase from. According to a 2018 study by Accenture, 63% of global customers prefer buying from companies that stand for a purpose they relate to and will avoid brands that don’t.
If your brand message is confusing, inconsistent or not clear throughout your marketing, customers won’t be able to relate to it.
The 2019 State of Marketing report by customer success platform Salesforce found marketing high performers are:
- 9.9 X more likely to create a shared, single view of customers across business units
- 7.3 X more likely to use customer data to create more relevant experiences
- 9.7 X more likely to create personalized omnichannel customer experiences
An integrated marketing approach isn’t about putting the same message on every channel at the same time. Instead, it’s about making the message relevant to that unique channel’s audience, but making sure it aligns with other channels.
For example, what you post on LinkedIn should be different than what you post on Snapchat. But you can still unify your brand message and ensure those integrated marketing campaigns complement each other.
An Example of an Integrated Marketing Campaign
In 2018, Forbes reported integrated marketing campaigns across 4 or more channels outperformed single- or dual-channel campaigns by 300%.
Here’s an example of an integrated marketing approach across diverse channels.
Integrated Marketing in Action
Say you’re a vegan protein powder company. You create a contest where you challenge your customers to create the tastiest recipe using your protein powder.
You announce the contest via email and post about it on social media. As people start to enter, you share notable entries on your social media channels.
You support the contest by creating a series of quick videos giving examples of how the protein powder can be used in recipes (smoothies, cookies, cakes, burgers, pancakes). You share those videos on social and in email to promote the contest. Each video has a link back to the web landing page you created specifically for the contest, which also features an email capture component.
You create a search engine optimized blog that features all the recipes you created and explains the contest.
You promote the blog on social media and through Google Ads.
Once you have a winner, you use their recipe in a video you upload to YouTube, and you promote that through Google Ads. The video description links to the product page on your website, so those who see it can purchase it from your online store.
Voilà! You’ve created one single contest and used integrated marketing strategy to align your efforts for promoting it.
To recap, the contest was marketed across:
- Social media
- Paid advertising
- Content (blog)
- Video marketing
And, since you used a keyword strategy to inform all your copy, your website also starts to rank higher in search results – a search engine optimization (SEO) boost.
To successfully create and execute a contest like this, your whole marketing department would likely be involved.
With tracking in place, you can see what channels had the best results, and apply what you learned to your next integrated marketing campaign.
How to Use an Integrated Marketing Strategy at Your Business
Integrated marketing strategy isn’t just for one-off campaigns like contests. It should inform daily communication with your leads and customers. It should influence what copy and photos you use on every channel. And it should always be targeted to your most relevant leads and current customers.
Here are some ways to make sure your business is using integrated marketing.
1. Create Brand Guidelines
First, you need to know your customer. You should create buyer personas that help you hone in on your customers’ needs and wants, so you can improve how you communicate.
Using those buyer personas, you should establish brand guidelines. Think about:
- Your brand mission: What do you hope to accomplish with your product or service? How do you hope it impacts your customers?
- Your brand vision: What are your long-term goals? What kind of difference do you want to make in the world? How do you see your product or service evolving?
- Your core values: What words describe your brand? What values do you want evident in any marketing campaign you put out?
Defining these will help you create brand guidelines including language and tone, imagery, color scheme and more. Make brand guidelines accessible to everyone on your marketing team. Go over any changes with your whole team.
2. Say “No” to Marketing Silos
Integrated marketing starts with a unified team. If various parts of your marketing team are running wild without a unified strategy, you’re bound to have inconsistent messaging that will leave leads and customers unsure about your brand.
Some ways to discourage marketing silos include:
- Hold regularly-scheduled meetings. Do these at least monthly with your marketing department. Have managers share successes, challenges and updates.
- Create an online communication board. Use internal communications to increase transparency and teamwork. A tool like Yammer enables a team to share progress and ask questions.
- Foster collaboration. For marketing campaign kickoffs, make sure someone from every channel is represented. You might have experts for SEO, social, creative copywriting, video and more. Get them all together in a room for kickoff meetings so they can devise a unified strategy based on your brand guidelines.
Integrated marketing helps eliminate wasted time and resources. Your team members know what’s expected of them and can work together to pull off successful campaigns that speak to your customers.
3. Measure, Track, Optimize
You’ll never improve your marketing campaigns if you don’t know what’s working and what’s not. For every channel you use, make sure there’s a way to measure it. Even TV and radio ads can feature unique codes or phone numbers so you can track the number of leads you’re getting.
For digital marketing, use a free tool like Google Analytics to see which marketing channels and campaigns are getting the most traffic, are generating the most leads and are producing the most sales. There are also paid integrated marketing platforms like HubSpot where you can create and schedule all your marketing campaigns in one place and get real-time results.
Measuring and tracking your marketing campaigns is vital so your team can pivot, focus on what’s working and improve what’s not. Share insights across your marketing department to help your specialists make smarter decisions.
Take an Integrated Marketing Approach for Your Business
Integrated marketing makes perfect sense. Avoid doing extra work and using an inconsistent marketing strategy. Some of the benefits of using an integrated marketing program include:
- A stronger brand
- Increased conversions
- An efficient, organized marketing team
Create an integrated marketing strategy that aligns with your business goals, mission and values to strengthen your brand perception both outside and inside your business. Check out our blog for more marketing tips for small business.