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Integrated Marketing: Understanding the Basics

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Harnessing the Power of Integrated Marketing

The terms integrated marketing and multi-channel marketing may sound like they belong in the world of  big agencies and corporate clients. But tools exist right now that can help small business owners create cost-efficient integrated marketing campaigns, even when time is at a premium.

In this article we’ll provide an overview of integrated marketing, identifying the typical goals of a marketing campaign, as well as what we mean by integration and why it is so important. Then, in the following articles we’ll go into further detail about individual channels — the different modes of communication including direct mail, email, social media, and mobile — and how to work them together into a single campaign for maximum impact.

The Goals of Marketing

As with any business operation, establishing goals is an important first step to creating a marketing plan. Marketing typically has at least one of the following objectives:

  • Increase traffic to a physical location — to a store, for example.
  • Increase traffic to an online destination — with the end goal of a conversion like an online purchase, or to provide product information.
  • Solicit phone calls — for purchases or information.
  • Increase brand or product awareness — if you have a brandor product which is new to the market, or if you have recently refreshed your brand.
  • Establish and develop relationships with potential customers — although selling a product or service is the end goal, developing trust now can increase the likelihood of your brand being considered in the future.

 

What is Integrated Marketing?

Integrated marketing is not a new idea — the concept of a “media mix” has been around for a long time. But now that consumer attention is fragmented over so many media options, integration has become critical. Here are a few channels to consider when planning your campaign:

  • Email: A highly cost-effective method of generating and nurturing leads as well as developing customer relationships.
  • Direct Mail: Encompassing everything from unaddressed mail to highly targeted and personalized packages, direct mail can be extremely useful when combined with email in an integrated campaign.
  • Social Media: Having a presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter enables businesses to strengthen relationships by interacting with customers on a consistent basis.
  • Mobile: This increasingly widespread channel can reach consumers wherever they happen to be through mobile email, mobile websites and QR codes on signage and printed material.

In depth: What’s the Big Deal About Integrating Social Media and Email Marketing?

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What Constitutes an Integrated Campaign?

You’re probably using multiple channels to promote your business already. You may hand out business cards, advertise in a newspaper, or have a Facebook fan page. An integrated campaign is one in which each message you send out over each channel is crafted to support and build on the others. For each individual component, the marketer needs to consider:

  • Consistency of voice: A consistent brand voice helps build trust and familiarity.
  • Consistency of style: A consistent visual style makes your communications instantly recognizable, and can be as important for brand recognition as a logo or brand name.
  • Consistency of messaging: Consistent messaging throughout a campaign ensures clarity and promotes focus within your communication strategy. This doesn’t mean all your messages are carbon copies of one another, but language about specific offers or product features, for example, should echo across your communications to avoid confusion.
  • Timeliness of messaging: Keep in mind where in the customer journey your target will likely be when they receive your communication. Are they new to the category, or on the verge of a purchasing decision?
  • Target-appropriate media: Different media appeal to different customer demographics. Your Facebook audience may differ from the customers who respond best to direct mail, and the tone and content of your communications should reflect this.

There are many ways to go about creating an integrated campaign, and your approach will depend on your brand, your product or service, and the nature of the customers you are trying to reach. Your campaign will likely feature both sequential and concurrent elements. This means that some chains of communication will guide customers on a path to purchase. Others, meanwhile, will support each other as they appear simultaneously on different platforms.

The next article in this series will provide more details about the individual channels discussed here, with suggestions on how to use them together.

Related posts

Tie it all Together! Building a brand image with email and direct mail

Integrated Marketing Communications: How To Get Started

Click here to read the next article in the integrated marketing series.

 

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