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. IMC is an approach to achieving the objectives of a marketing campaign, through a well coordinated use of different promotional methods that are intended to reinforce each other.
Without getting too Aristotelian, with marketing, the whole is most certainly more than the sum of its parts – when it’s done right that is. That’s the essential essence of integrated marketing – that by coordinating messages across channels the results from increasing brand awareness, familiarity, favourability and purchase intent are far higher than when taking a less integrated approach which fails to coordinate.
With the introduction of a whole host of new digital marketing channels over the past decade, such as Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest as well as existing digital platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter, the integration of marketing channel has never been more difficult or more important.
In this article, I will review what integrated multichannel marketing means today and look at examples of good and less good practice. To learn out to create a multichannel marketing channel see our Quick Win members’ resource.
Different channels have different strengths and weaknesses, and different types of content suit different channels better – Twiter is good for short, witty and pithy messages, whilst Pinterest is great for content related to design, and aspirational content works best on Instagram. So why not play to each individual channels strengths and design marketing for that channel specifically, rather than attempting to integrate all channels?
The answer is customers don’t care enough to pay attention to all your different messaging, and by not using one clear communications strategy to amplify your brand, your message will simply be lost in the constant stream of content that all consumers are subject to every day. For example, the brand storytelling report showed that 85% of consumers couldn’t name a memorable story told to them by a brand.
That means all of the thousands of brands storytelling efforts were completely forgotten by over four out of five people. You may think your marketing is the best thing in the world, but the reality is pretty much everyone is going to forget it very quickly. To make an impact you have to coordinate messaging. Have you ever wondered why McDonalds are constantly advertising? Everyone knows who McDonalds are. Everyone knows what McDonalds offer and there is one on every street corner. So why do they advertise? Because there is power in reminding consumers about your brand, even if they already know that it exists. And of course, they may want to change perception of it’s values and what it offers. This is why consistent messaging across channels is so critical. Without it, your message will fail to make an impact and you will just be yelling into a gale.
To successfully integrate your marketing so all channels are pulling in the same direction, you need to plot all customer touch points with your brand across the customer lifecycle. This lets you form a list of channels you’ll need to integrate and align with the same messaging. Our integrated lifecycle marketing diagram should help you consider the options such as retargeting.
Aligning your messaging across all forms of content marketing is also crucial, in case certain content types not chime with the overall brand. Here you can use our content marketing matrix to see what types of content you can use and again create a checklist of mediums which you need to assure the messaging is aligned across.