When is being integrated ever a bad thing? Working together, becoming unified, combining talents. All teams, marketing and otherwise, are striving for that kind of cohesion. Yet, the siloed model of marketing holds strong for many organizations.
If everyone knew how remarkable integrated marketing was, though, I doubt this would be the case. In fact, integrated marketing itself extends beyond the team structure and into the very DNA of an organization’s marketing efforts. Take these excellent definitions of integrated marketing for example:
AAAA: Integrated Marketing is an approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with the brand/enterprise; it attempts to meld all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and social media, through their respective mix of tactics, methods, channels, media, and activities, so that all work together as a unified force. It is a process designed to ensure that all messaging and communications strategies are consistent across all channels and are centered on the customer.
Boundless: Integrated marketing communications (IMC) is an approach to creating a unified and seamless brand experience for consumers across channels.
You can complicate it like AAAA or keep it simple like Boundless, but the result is the same – presenting a cohesive brand message to your audience, no matter where or when they are interacting with you.
Internally, this requires cohesion and unity amongst all involved in a marketing. Externally, this results in a cohesive voice and unified brand message.
When I say unified brand message, I mean that all marketing materials as well as your physical presence (if you have one), as well as sales interactions and customer service interactions, must be aligned to a t. While this may sound repetitive (and maybe a little bit boring), each piece should build up the brand message in a way that is unique to the channel, the audience of that channel, and the intended buyers’ stage of that piece.
Connect with Audiences, Actualize Talent, Access Big Picture Data
The world is increasingly connected through technology. Personalization is the growing standard. People shop and make decisions through multiple touchpoints. The proliferation and accessibility of products around the world have led to desensitization, meaning that you need to stand out and build relationships with those who actually do notice you.
Integrated marketing solves many of these problems for organizations. A consistent and compelling brand message makes a brand more memorable, more trustworthy, and, ultimately, builds loyalty.
Most marketers are struggling to accomplish integrated marketing in a way that will allow them to accomplish these results. Find the current state of integrated marketing below:
- 70% of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy. (Altimeter)
- Only 40% of companies have either “moderately” or “fully” integrated their marketing and sales automation systems. (Curata)
- Only 6.8% of respondents believed that social media is “very integrated” into their strategy (the highest rank for the question), while 16.7% believe that it’s not integrated at all (the lowest rank for the question). (CMO Survey)
With all of the benefits that integrated marketing offers to modern marketing dilemmas, these numbers are striking. What’s great, though, is that you, dear reader, are lucky. You’re getting the scoop on why integrated marketing is worth it and you’re getting some tips for getting started below.
Bring Your Team and Tactics Together Around Integrated Marketing
- Know your audience – This is the cardinal rule of marketing, and it’s especially relevant for integrated marketing. Imagine what a disaster it would be if the brand story you’re reinforcing with all of your marketing materials was not something your audience was interested in.
- Understand which channels to use – Again, this is a more standard marketing tip but one that is relevant nonetheless. Integrated marketing is not about utilizing every channel, just ensuring that the ones you are using are pushing the same message. Knowing the best channels to utilize will make sure you approach integrated marketing with an agile mindset that will result in success.
- Design all channel strategies together – Instead of thinking in terms of ‘social strategy’, ‘email strategy’, etc., consider the ideas you want to share with your audience and the best mediums and channels to distribute them on.
- Strategize content creation for consistency and relevancy – Just saying you want to emphasize [insert brand message here] is not enough to be considered integrated. On a quarterly basis, map out every single piece of content and detail both how it will fold back into the brand message as well as how it will be distributed on your brand channels.
- Keep your goals and CTAs consistent – To accomplish this, you must truly understand your business goals and how they tie into your marketing. With each stage of the buyers’ journey—and each corresponding piece of content—you must know what action you want your audience to take and how that corresponds to your overall goals.
- Set up proper tracking and analytics – This piece is especially important. Tracking and analytics allow you to see how everything works together and, depending on your attribution model, can show which channels or assets are driving goal completions. In many ways, talking about integrated marketing can sound a little fluffy. Bringing numbers to the table will add some meat to the conversation, something I think all marketers can benefit from.
The Sum Should Be Greater Than the Parts
There are a lot of great examples of integrated marketing campaigns out there. For example, Bud Light’s commitment to its ‘Up for Whatever’ campaign was impressive, given that included literally taking a town over and temporarily renaming it ‘Whatever, U.S.A.’. The word campaign—which is so often associated with integrated marketing—is misleading, though.
True integrated marketing doesn’t end after one campaign. In fact, modern marketing isn’t even dictated by campaigns anymore. Instead, an organization that truly practices integrated marketing will end up with assets and channels that are so aligned that they lift the brand up in a lasting and memorable way.
Did you like this post? Let us know why (or why not) in the comments. In the meantime, check out our blog Punch Above Your Weight: Why Digital Favors David, Not Goliath to discover how identifying your unfair advantage is key to operating above capacity.