What is integrated marketing?
All hail, integrated marketing
At Luminous PR our fandom for integrated communications knows no limit. Holistic and linked-up communications is at the heart of our approach, and yet it’s often overlooked.
There are so many marketing avenues available, both new and old, but in the eyes of the consumer, they seem to be working alongside each other rather than together. Yet, as a population, we seem to be yearning for more.
Just look at the way we shop now. According to research, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases. We want to know EVERYTHING. We no longer rely on the expertise instore. We want to know we are getting the best product or service for the best price.
It is no fluke that Google receives over 160 billion searches every month, and 40% of store purchases start online. However, we then want to slip seamlessly from online to bricks-and-mortar retail in the blink of an eye.
We want personalised emails and offers to be able to be used instantly and to pick up orders in store within hours. With this high level of expectation, the marketing strategy needs to understand and adapt.
If consumers are making their decisions in such an integrated way, then businesses need to take on integrated marketing activities to keep up.
Let’s start with a little definition – just what is integrated marketing? This definition from the Data & Marketing Association can help:
“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.”
From mass and direct marketing to one-to-one marketing, integrated marketing is about unifying all these different types of media to create a seamless brand experience for the consumer.
However, although presenting each message in a similar branding style is important, this is more than just using the same colour palate across all media.
Creating a robust integrated marketing campaign should consider:
- Which specific audiences are to be targeted;
- Consistency and frequency of communication across multiple media;
- Data and accountability behind each marketing campaign
As with all strategies, the most important part of creating an integrated marketing strategy is taking the time to understand your customers and current market position. Knowing what your customers think and feel, the positioning of your competitors, and advancements in the media outlets will set your marketing on the right track.
Remember, it is personal
The big focus of integrated marketing has to be on personalisation. We are bombarded with emails and advertising every day, through every possible medium and we’ve become just a tad jaded and bored with it all.
One of the biggest opportunities with integrated marketing has been the ability to use the data they collect on their customers to personalise the messages or offerings. In fact, personalisation marketing has become the biggest thing since… well, whatever it is you’re into.
Just take a look at Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign which put the 100 most common names on bottles of the famous drink. Reversing declining sales, its sales actually increased 4.93% to £765 million, and its Facebook community grew by 3.5% in the UK, and 6.8% globally.
Now that is some powerful personalisation.
It’s the future
What if using consistent branding and messaging and frequently communicating with customers across multiple media led to spectacular results? Can your business afford to ignore the possibilities?
Whilst integrated marketing campaigns can be tricky to carry out perfectly, the risks are well worth the rewards. Maybe it is time to make 2018 the year of the integrated approach to all communications avenues.