by Allen Baler, partner at 4Patriots LLC
Modern marketers are scrambling these days to keep up with traditional media and the bombardment of new marketing channels. The number of platforms marketers use to send marketing messages is expanding much quicker than people can take it all in, creating marketing campaigns that are often fractured and fragmented.
If you want your marketing messages to get through, you need to fight marketing fragmentation and embrace marketing integration.
According to the American Marketing Association, integrated marketing requires designing communications that make sure all brand contacts sent to your customers or prospects relate to them, and remain consistent over time. Marketers who don’t understand integration stick to the same, overused taglines on all of their ads without considering the differences in mediums. They take a message that works on one platform, and mold it to another that just doesn’t work. For example, an online banner is not going to translate to a television screen.
The 3 C’s: Content, Collaboration and Communication
Integrated marketing requires creating clear, consistent and compelling content for a brand identity that flows smoothly throughout all of your messages, on any device, and across all departments in your company, from customer service and management, to sales and advertising. Everyone needs to be on the same page by collaborating and communicating closely on every aspect of the marketing campaign.
So Many Sales Channels, So Little Time
Most people think integrated marketing is complicated and confusing, but in reality, the premise behind it is simple: consistency across the board. Here’s how you can leverage communications media that support each other:
- Advertising to increase brand awareness and generate sales leads.
- Press releases to reinforce the messages in advertising.
- Direct mail and email to support advertising with details for sales prospects via website links or brochures.
- Sales support material to help your sales force follow up on solid prospects.
- Email, social media, newsletters and blogs to maintain relationships with consumers until they are ready to buy.
Although marketers can’t settle on a single foolproof method for producing a successful integrated marketing campaign, here are seven strategies that can increase your viewership and brand recognition:
1. Determine your target audience.
Look at psychographics like interests, opinions and behaviors, as well as specific demographics. This will help you choose the communication channels that will reach them best. It will also give you insight into what your customers expect from your company. Not every customer communication should be sales-driven. You need to build and maintain customer relationships by creating a close rapport.
2. Always be consistent.
Make sure your brand identity is consistent. Everything you use in your marketing should look like it came from the same company. Create a distinctive feel to your designs using a consistent color, logo and font. Your media should provide an immediate visual connection to your brand.
3. Choose your channels wisely.
Ask yourself which channels your customers tend to use the most. Determine the effectiveness of that particular channel, but be choosey. Focus on the channels you know will work, instead of trying to reach everyone everywhere.
4. Spread the marketing joy evenly.
Everything you develop, from videos to blog posts, should be applicable in as many mediums as possible. For example, take the photos of your company picnic and post them on your blog. Customer testimonials on your website can also go into your newsletter. Create clear, consistent content that you can easily modify to suit all company channels.
5. Integrate all of your messages.
Ensure that every part of your marketing campaign will drive traffic to wherever you want your customers to ultimately be, whether it is to send more traffic to your social media site to increase brand awareness, or to your website to drive up sales. Provide website links, Facebook buttons and Twitter handles in your marketing materials. Always use the same phrases and keywords across all integrated marketing campaigns.
6. Make sure everyone is on the same page.
Hold regular team meetings, especially if there are multiple members or teams collaborating on the same integrated marketing campaign. By working together closely, the message behind your marketing campaign will be consistent.
7. Track, analyze and report.
With integrated campaigns, the key is to understand how you’re getting the results, like conversions, by utilizing the right analytics. By having a clear picture of why your marketing campaign was a success, you can go forward with clear insights and goals. Track using codes on coupons or the number visits to your social media page.
Surprisingly, many companies are not using integrated marketing correctly, or to its full potential. Whether it is because of a lack of funding, know-how or a manpower, all brands need to get up to speed in order to leverage the true potential of integrated marketing to reach their full sales potential.
Allen Baler is a Partner at 4Patriots LLC, a Tennessee based small business that provides products to help people be more self-reliant and more independent. Baler founded the company in 2008 after 14 years as a corporate executive leading profitable business for the Easton Press and the Danbury Mint.