The increase in the use of technology in business has meant many things — increases in convenience, the automation of processes that were once manual, and better ways to collect and analyze data. It also means a whole new approach to connecting goods and services with the markets that need them.
Unfortunately, not all companies effectively use their marketing channels. In many cases, the reason for this is that the different channels are operated by different departments of the company, all of which may have different goals and methods to their marketing strategies. While this over-compartmentalization may have made sense at some point, the limitations of the bigger picture are similarly apparent. This is where an integrated marketing strategy comes in. An integrated marketing strategy combines all of your marketing channels so that your company can reap the benefits of sending a clear message through multiple avenues. This also allows each channel to support the efforts of the others.
What is an Integrated Marketing Strategy?
An integrated marketing strategy is an approach that combines all of your marketing techniques in a way that allows you to send a clear message about your company to customers. A single marketing strategy is developed for use across all channels so that the strategy is clear. This allows you to send a more effective message to customers and allows for consistency of your company’s message.
Incorporating Digital and Traditional Methods
One of the biggest advantages of an integrated marketing strategy is that it allows you to use both digital and traditional methods of advertising, in a way that is consistent. Even if your company only appeals to a single demographic group of people, you may not be able to reach your customers through the same channel. A huge part of this is the difference between baby boomers and millennials.
For example, imagine that your company sells software that would benefit lawyers. Lawyers can be young or old, and may live in several different areas. Instead of only using one channel to sell your software, you could use several. To appeal to the older generation of lawyers, you may want to use a more traditional method such as mailing advertisements or billboards. To appeal to the younger generation, you may want to advertise on Linkedin or other social media sites. An email marketing campaign could also be beneficial for advertising to both groups.
While your marketing techniques may differ, your message needs to remain the same. Highlight the same strengths across both groups. By using an integrated marketing strategy, you can be sure that your message is clear in all of your marketing techniques.
Clear Communication of Your Brand, Positioning, and Values
The human mind craves consistency, regardless of demographics and your target group. It is for this reason that you cannot tell one group of customers that your company values the jobs that it makes for American people while telling another that you support hiring immigrants. Even if you are appealing to different demographics, this provides a cloudy message that can make you seem dishonest to all groups.
The consequences of such blatant dishonesty can be catastrophic. It can lead to a decrease in the number of customers that want to work with your business and even the loss of loyal customers. When you use an integrated marketing strategy, you can be sure that your message is being sent clearly and effectively across all of your various marketing channels. This clearly communicates your brand, positioning, and values in a way that is appealing to potential customers.
When you have a sole marketing strategy for all of your various marketing channels, you can reduce the costs of advertising and marketing. Instead of spending the time and money needed to plan a different marketing strategy for every channel that you go through, you can cut costs by advertising the same message across all channels. Companies without integrated marketing strategies often do not recognize the various cost benefits.
The final advantage of an integrated marketing strategy that we will discuss is recognition. Recognition is a competitive advantage that you can have over competitors in your market, but only with an integrated marketing strategy. When customers go to purchase a new product or service, they are attracted to familiar brands. When you brand your company well with an integrated marketing strategy, you can get the recognition you need to gain an advantage over your competitors.
Tips for Developing an Integrated Marketing Strategy
Know Your Target Market
When you implement an integrated marketing strategy, you can reach more customers. However, it is still important to know who you are advertising to. This will help you build a campaign that is effective in reaching your target group, regardless of the marketing channel that can reach them. If you are unsure of who you should be marketing to, consider purchasing market reports that will report the habits of your target group.
Know Your Objectives
What does your company plan to accomplish with its integrated marketing campaign? Some companies set out to switch loyal customers from their current brand while others focus on getting customers to sign up for their trial in the hopes that they become paying customers. Your goal will determine the strategy and techniques that should be used for your marketing campaign.
Know Your Budget
Even though you can cut costs by implementing an integrated marketing strategy, advertising across several channels can still become expensive. Consider the number of customers you believe you can reach through each channel. Then, allocate a portion of the marketing budget to that specific channel. If some prove more effective than others, use this information to reallocate your budget until it is meeting your company’s expectations.
Choose an Effective Design
The way you design your advertisement can have a huge role in how effective it is to certain customers. While some bright, flashy advertisements are appealing because they grab a customer’s attention, they can be difficult to read. Carefully consider how appealing your designs are and, if they are ineffective, try a new design.
Know Your Strategy
There are several approaches that can be used for marketing. For your integrated marketing strategy to be effective, you need to choose one that works well across all channels. Some popular strategies include conditioning by linking your brand to a well-liked object, appealing to humor, appealing through attitudes or beliefs, celebrity endorsements, persuasion by providing accurate information, and many others. Consider what will impact your target group most before you decide on your marketing campaign.
In any modern marketing campaign, an integrated strategy is essential. Combining offline and online tactics will maximize your reach, and thus maximize sales. There are a wide variety of companies out there to provide marketing materials to help with your strategy. For banners and signs, Quality Sign Designer is a good outlet for example. There are others out there for fliers, web design, and more! As such, if you can’t do everything in house for budget reasons, using third parties is a fantastic way to make up that manpower/budget gap!