In a world of channel fragmentation and dwindling budgets, integrated marketing is tough. Here's how to get on top of it and connect to consumers on their terms…
It's not easy being integrated. Marketers are faced with more channels than they literally know what to do with, and 'specialist' agencies pitching left, right, and centre.
Here's how to pull together an integrated marketing campaign that gets results.
What are integrated marketing campaigns?
First up, some definitions. An integrated campaign is a holistic approach to marketing that combines multiple channels. For example, your campaign could combine content, sales, PR, email, display, social, search and TV.
So what's the difference between 'integrated' and 'multi-channel'? Well, integrated marketing means alignment of the message and creative shared on each channel, whereas the term multichannel really just speaks of the ability to put out messaging in a variety of channels.
The objective of an integrated campaign is to deliver a unified campaign message across multiple channels, creating a united front of marketing and a consistent brand experience for the consumer.
Why is integrated marketing essential?
Integrated marketing ensures that each channel is working together to deliver a primary campaign message. By delivering one key campaign message, the strength of this message is increased, which improves campaign recall and along with it your brand awareness.
With enhanced recall and awareness, you can also expect to see a positive knock-on effect for consumer brand trust and the campaign cut-through itself.
As integrated campaigns use multiple channels by nature, campaigns within this category will also boost reach and opportunity-to-see (OTS). Essentially, the channels within your integrated campaign will all work together, driving efficiencies, to improve the cost-effectiveness and ultimately, your marketing ROI.
With a united front of marketing, disparities and differences across channels and consumer touchpoints are eliminated, unifying the customer experience of your brand.
How does integrated marketing help improve campaigns?
The pros of integrated marketing are more wide-reaching than just unified messaging and customer experience.
Powerful channel strategies
By considering how you communicate the same message across a variety of channels, you're forced to contemplate the strengths and weaknesses of each. By doing this, you're inherently creating individual channel strategies.
These individual channel strategies should take into consideration multiple factors, such as the medium of the channel (Text? Image? Audio?), potential character and time limitations, and even the mood of your audience when they are interacting with the channels.
For instance, how will the channel strategy differ from delivering the campaign message on an out-of-home digital billboard during the evening rush hour to a Sunday morning radio ad-spot? Do you need to change your TOV or the volume of information we are communicating?
The approach forces you to carefully consider how you're using and activating each channel, helping to extract the maximum value out of each.
Taking it beyond black and white audience targeting
Through forming channel strategies for your integrated marketing campaign, you're starting to build more than just a basic audience profile. Instead, you're creating detailed personas that consider audience preferences, behaviour and daily schedules.
These additional insights help you relay your campaign message across the various channels more effectively. The aim is to deliver the right integrated message, at the right time to your target audience.
For instance, if your defined target audience demographics are ABC1, full-time employed, based in the South East of England, you can use this to identify their daily activities, schedules and moods throughout the day.
You can plan a more effective integrated campaign which will consider the customer’s daily routines, maximising their exposure to the campaign message.
Finessing calls to action (CTAs)
Based on the detailed audience personas, you can determine how the audience’s preference towards different CTAs will change throughout the day.
For instance, they may have less capacity to watch a TV programme at 8.30am on a Tuesday commute, but may be willing to browse programme recommendations to watch later that evening when they have leisure time.
10 tips for planning integrated marketing campaigns
1. Agree on your key campaign objective.
What do you need the campaign to achieve for your brand?
2. Get measurement sorted
Establish how you will measure the success of your campaign.
What does success look like? What are your key performance indicators (KPIs)?
3. Define your campaign target audience demographics.
Make sure you understand the audience for your campaign and are as laser-targeted as possible before moving onto the next step.
4. Create a more detailed audience persona
Map out their daily lives/routines. What are their preferences? And how do they behave? Detail here will really inform your channel strategy and how you approach the strategy for each channel.
5. Decide on your key campaign message
This should be considered within the context of the campaign objective and target audience.
6. Identify your marketing channel mix for the campaign
Considering the channel preferences of your audience, your campaign objective, budget and campaign duration, what channels make the most sense?
Consider how your audience interactions will change on a channel by channel basis. For example, how are they using the channels differently, and how much attention and time are they paying to that channel?
7. Create individual channel strategies
And make sure you assign an objective to ensure they are measurable. Checklist: is each channel aligned in key messaging? Is each channel helping to achieve the key campaign objective?
8. Map out the integrated customer journey
Outlining when and where your audience will encounter your campaign, how they should think and feel at each stage, and the CTA – what action do you want them to take at each touchpoint?
This will help you understand how the channels will work together to communicate the key campaign message and deliver against the campaign objective.
9. Get creative
Now it's time to brief in your creative team or agency to create the various marketing assets and messaging in line with your message and all these considerations.
10. Launch, measure, iterate your campaign
It's vital you don't launch your campaign and forget about it. Test and learn – and report based on those all-important objectives and KPIs from step 1.
Let's get started…
Now you're fully versed on integrated marketing campaigns – why they are important and how to execute one. Integrated marketing campaigns should be an integral tool to help drive ROI and marketing effectiveness for your brand.