Imagine this scenario: A prospect sees an online ad that piques his interest. The ad promotes a product with the tagline: "Exceptional quality. Reasonable price." The ad makes an impression on the prospect, but he doesn't take any immediate action.
A few days later, the prospect sees an ad from the same company, promoting the same product — but he doesn't recognize it as such. The tagline is different, another photo of the product is featured, and even the color scheme has changed. If the second ad had been consistent with the first one, the prospect may have reached out to the company for more information. As it is, he soon forgets all about the product and brand.
What was the problem in this fictional situation? The company did not have an integrated approach to its marketing campaign. Indeed, thousands of businesses invest heavily in integrated marketing strategies, because they attract, engage, and please consumers as no other marketing initiatives can. Interestingly, one study found that 72% of consumers prefer integrated marketing campaigns; moreover, senior marketers report an average revenue increase of 10% from this approach.
What is Integrated Marketing?
Integrated marketing is a marketing strategy that stresses the importance of a consistent, seamless, multi-dimensional brand experience for the consumer. Each branding effort — across television, radio, print, Internet, and in-person — is presented in a similar style that reinforces the brand's ultimate message.
In short, integrated marketing represents a unified approach to marketing. The best integrated marketing strategies promote consistent branding across all marketing and fulfillment channels (think Walmart's new subscription service Walmart+, as an example).
An integrated marketing approach guarantees that all of the marketing tactics leveraged by a brand will be centered around the customer. It also ensures that the brand is associated with a strong and distinctive "voice." One of the premier examples of strong brand voice is Apple, a company that seeks to provide a consistently exceptional customer experience both on and offline. In terms of a single integrated marketing campaign, the "Old Spice Man" commercials from 2010 have to be near the top of the list for their virality, popularity, and effectiveness.
What are the Benefits of Integrated Marketing?
There are several advantages associated with integrated marketing campaigns. These include the following points:
- Integrated marketing campaigns create a unified strategy and message across all business channels. When several branding and messaging concepts are vying for dominance within a company, the end consumer is often left with a fragmented experience. Integrated marketing prevents this misstep from occurring, and presents a unified front to the public.
- They establish a sense of professionalism. It's no secret that consumers are more likely to put trust in a company that has the resources and expertise to develop an integrated marketing campaign, as opposed to their counterparts.
- They ensure that efforts are centralized and coordinated. Integrated marketing campaigns promote a streamlined workflow that avoids duplication of efforts or contradictory messaging.
- They enable cost savings from "recyclable content." From a cost-savings perspective, integrated marketing is amazing. For example, instead of shooting three completely distinct commercials for a new initiative, a company that subscribes to the integrated approach may decide to shoot three variations on the same commercial (again, see the "Old Spice Man") - and that means fewer actors to pay, reduced commercial costs, and less wasted time.
- You can use a popular marketing medium to encourage another medium's growth. As a basic example, online ads that offer in-store discounts can drive more foot traffic to a company's brick and mortar store - which in turn can boost the effectiveness of in-store marketing, while increasing overall sales.
- Integrated marketing campaigns reinforce your message through other social channels and mediums. This is the marketing definition of "going viral" - a company's ad, widely distributed across multiple channels, may become a pop culture phenomenon, which in turn results in much wider brand exposure via social media platforms, personal interactions, etc.
- They allow for a more efficient and effective marketing strategy. Interestingly, content and media published on at least two different marketing platforms receive 24% more engagement than media shared through only one channel.
- They encourage collaboration among teams. It's much easier for technical and/or creative team members to collaborate with one another when everyone shares a common, clearly defined goal. Integrated marketing can be the catalyst for that unified vision.
In summary, integrated marketing campaigns are absolutely essential for consistent branding, distinctive customer experience, and maximum ROI. Granted, an integrated marketing strategy has a lot of moving parts; however, you don't have to figure them out on your own. Many companies that don't have the internal resources or expertise to develop an integrated marketing campaign rely on an experienced media company for some extra assistance. If you are unsure of how to create the best strategy, or how to implement it, then a media partner's insights may prove to be invaluable.