In the most basic terms, an Integrated Marketing campaign is designed to give the customer a seamless experience, helping and guiding them from awareness of your service or product, up until sign-up, purchase and beyond. This means using every possible means of communication that a potential client could see or use. For example, regular locally targeted posts on social media, combined with advertising in local papers and an interview on a local radio station about a new product, will, hopefully, embed your brand in customers’ memories. When launched and managed properly, an Integrated Marketing campaign can create fantastic results. Depending on the industry, it is believed that potential customers need 5-20 “touchpoints” before they will make a purchase.
Clarity of message, consistency, reach and impact are crucial. You don’t want your customers to get any nasty shocks or jars as they experience the combination of channels, media and methods you have chosen in order to attract and keep their attention. Every campaign requires a different promotional mix of methods that reinforce or amplify each other, specifically targeted to appeal to your intended audience and its desires, needs and demographics.
Print is not dead and is an essential part of Integrated Marketing. But it can be expensive, so it needs to be planned and used with care. Usually, at this point some business owners think, “Hang on, why don’t we just use social media? It’s free! Unlike print, it won’t cost us anything!”
Social media is not a free marketing resource! I can understand where this idea comes from. Yes, it is free to sign up and get an account, and if you have the skills, you can even link it to your website with a feed that regularly updates your home page. However, social media platforms need to be fed. Facebook needs posts, Twitter needs tweets, blogs have to be written, and Instagram would be totally pointless without pictures. And it all needs careful, data-driven, strategic planning before you unleash any of this on an unsuspecting public, especially if you want any of that public to become customers.
Take a look at the time spent running different social media platforms and creating meaningful content for them, then think of it in terms of the financial value of those hours and minutes. Base that value on minimum wage, living wage or just an hourly rate that you think your skills deserve. Do this, and you will be hard-pressed to still consider social media to be a free resource.
You won’t find me arguing that it isn’t an incredible marketing tool if used correctly. But free? No, it most definitely isn’t.
So, back to Integrated Marketing. The whole point of an integrated marketing strategy is that the different components are complementary, with an impact that is more than the sum of its parts. Every campaign or project is unique. And each one needs a meticulously planned series of off-line and online activities and materials, with print and social media, PR, and other kinds of promotion and advertising all usually playing a part.
It’s important not to forget the tried-and-tested, as well as the new marketing kids on the block. The attraction of the latest whizzy tech can be almost overwhelming, but as I said earlier, integrated marketing is all about the consumer. Irritate and annoy them, and you’ll lose them. Think about your campaign messages from their point of view; they won’t care how much money you’ve spent trying to grab their attention – it’s not their problem.
At the end of the day, it’s your customers you want to get swept away – seduced by your irresistible messages about your fabulous product and unbeatable quality. In short, with your confident, competent, integrated marketing strategy.
Get in touch to see how an integrated marketing strategy could help your business reach more people and improve your sales.