What is an integrated marketing campaign?
As marketers we distinguish between campaigns in different channels, because of differences in format, cost, frequency and dozens of other variables. Often, marketing staff are siloed with one team handling organic social, another team, SEO, another team handling events and so on. So, it’s easy to forget that our customers don’t necessarily make the same distinctions. In fact, a guiding principle of integrated marketing as it was formally defined by Northwestern professor and “father of integrated marketing communications,” the late Don E. Schultz, is that from the many points of exposure to and interaction with a brand, consumers form one singular perception.
An integrated marketing campaign, then, is a cross-channel marketing strategy that involves creating consistent campaigns across different platforms to provide a cohesive experience for the customer. Each brand experience should be consistent whether a customer experiences the brand through social media, direct marketing or another channel.
Why is integrated marketing important?
An integrated marketing campaign understands that customers are not confined to a single channel. Consumers today are encountering brands and advertisements everywhere they go, from the bus to their favorite websites to their email. For your brand to stand out to customers, you need to create campaigns that live on the platforms that customers frequent. Simultaneously, the campaigns must share similar features, so they stand out in customers’ minds and build on each other in customers’ perception and awareness of the brand and offering.
When your campaign is fully integrated, customers will recognize your brand regardless of where they see it. This will help them remember what you had to say, thus strengthening your relationship with them.
What are the elements of an integrated marketing strategy?
A quality integrated marketing campaign will take on a few features. Visually and textually, they will provide consistent messaging regardless of the platform. The colors, layout and images should all be easily recognizable across the different formats.
Your campaign should also specifically target a variety of platforms that are regularly viewed by your target audience. Break down social media sites, email touch points, PPC keywords and any other channels that will be leveraged in the campaign to maximize exposure for the particular buyer persona.
You also want to make sure that any customer-facing employees are informed about this campaign. For example, if you have a physical store, make sure employees know how to redeem email coupons for online discounts.
How to build an integrated marketing campaign?
- Decide who the campaign will target and how success will be measured.
- Identify where this targeted audience is most likely to engage and interact with your content and make those channels the focus of the campaign.
- Bring together the marketing and sales teams that will participate in the campaign and have them align with goals.
- Have the teams outline how they will contribute to achieving the goals.
- Use your defined metrics to judge the success of your campaign and to understand which platforms are the most effective at bringing in these customers.
- Use this information to guide future campaigns to be more efficient and more productive.
Integrated marketing campaigns are an important part of reaching modern consumers. This type of campaign hinges on the belief that consumers do not interact with your brand in just one channel, and that not all customers interact with your brand in all channels. Instead, they will be using a different mix of platforms. An integrated campaign helps you effectively meet these people and bring them closer to your brand.