Integrated marketing may not be the newest, shiniest concept, but it’s one that marketers should embrace and invest in (if you haven’t already). If growth and message consistency are important to your brand and if you’re looking to make the most of the marketing channels available, then an integrated marketing strategy could be key to your success. That being said, I get all squirmy in my seat when I hear about big teams hiring multiple roles for “integrated marketing” since every marketer on the team should take responsibility for running integrated programs.
Regardless of how a potential customer chooses to engage with your brand, integrated marketing helps ensure they see what you want them to see, when you want them to see it and where you want them to see it—with consistency. In today’s oversaturated media world where consumers are surrounded by countless potential engagement points, that is a powerful value proposition. Gone are the days where all key prospects were guaranteed to see your advertisement in a publication; in today’s crowded landscape, you should exploit numerous channels to get in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
Effective integrated marketing campaigns are, however, about more than just issuing a press release and having social posts that match your email campaign. They are about coordinating several levers across the marketing, sales and communications departments to ensure all activities link back to the same “big idea.”
The Value Of Integrated Marketing
There are several key benefits:
• Establish brand recognition and trust: Drive home specific key messages in the minds of prospects. By building off of consistent themes and messages, marketers can improve brand recall and increase trust in the company. Integration across channels can help ensure consistency and eliminate disjointed or confusing messages. I’ve found that consistency is key to a positive brand experience.
• Drive cost-effectiveness and ROI: Successful campaigns are expensive. You have to build the correct content to accurately represent your brand and value proposition. Sharing content and reusing elements across different channels and regions can save time and money and potentially improve your return on investment.
• Expand reach to larger audiences: Use of a greater number of channels increases the audience reached. A multipronged, global, integrated marketing campaign has the potential to connect across a wide range of touchpoints. The wider the audience, the better the opportunity is to get in front of key targets.
• Activate your best brand asset: your employees: It may not be the first thing you think of, but the more aligned you can get on your activities and message, the greater the chance of your own employees amplifying the messages and the brand because they see those consistent messages on all the different channels.
Elements Of An Integrated Marketing Campaign
Integrated marketing can help an organization to align reputation, demand, customer engagement and sales enablement to increase productivity and efficiency.
When beginning a campaign, clearly define your goals. Are you looking to increase awareness of your brand, of a certain product or service or of a benefit you can deliver that customers and prospects may not immediately associate with your brand? Having clear end goals in mind makes execution cleaner and more effective and helps you avoid creating functional silos with similar messages and little coordination.
By using an integrated approach, you can organize execution efforts across your organization, which allows you to save time and effort while increasing impactfulness. There are several key elements that you should incorporate:
• Marketing leadership: They are responsible for developing the overarching strategy and narratives, i.e., the campaign theme, targeting and funnel plan for go-to-market messaging across each stage of the marketing funnel. They should collaborate with each group on plans and timelines.
• Demand generation: This team owns program management for digital marketing. They should define pipeline goals and timelines and choose channels and tactics to get offers in front of the correct audience.
• Field marketing: This team works with account executives to define all needs connected to the campaign’s success. They are responsible for incorporating campaign themes into regional field events and leveraging event sponsorships to amplify messaging.
• Partner marketing: This team manages partner messaging and deliverables to amplify and expand the campaign’s reach. They develop the strategy and content needed to speak to partners, ensuring a clear go-to-market message that connects with the campaign.
• Communications: This group employs media interviews, announcements and social media to reflect the campaign messages and expand understanding among key audiences. They are responsible for measuring whether awareness of the brand’s messages has improved as a result of these efforts.
• Product marketing: This team ensures key audiences understand how the company’s products and services can help them achieve the goals or advantages the campaign itself discusses.
That brings me to my earlier point about hiring integrated marketing resources. While all those functions above are critical, I understand why integrated marketing roles exist because getting all those groups aligned for a campaign takes some serious project management. Ask any CMO.
Buyer Beware: Avoid The Biggest Integrated Marketing Pitfall
The tendency is to sometimes blanket every channel with as much content as you can afford or promote, which can have diminishing returns. That’s why planning and strategy are key to getting it right in the early stages. It’s also what makes measurement so important.
Each channel is different, so you should clearly think out how you measure success for each integrated piece. Many organizations fail to set goals or measure their success. Measurement is not just about assessing success or failure following a campaign; it should also enable organizations to make adjustments along the way if something isn’t working or if something is working particularly well.
Integrated Marketing: Everyone’s Job
The key to success is ensuring that your campaign’s strategy, goals, channels, team and execution are as aligned and consistent as your external messages are.
Net-net: We are all integrated marketers.