What are the benefits of integrated marketing?
An integrated marketing approach provides:
A single, experienced resource that has the capability to strategize, create AND develop all marketing initiatives
A single strong “voice” – rather than multiple whispers – to convey your marketing messages
A multi-channel, dual-platform approach that will maximize reach and impressions
Consistently branded communications from a single team of professionals
Both cost and time savings; no need to manage or pay multiple agencies and account managers
Why should it be YOUR strategy?
Three very important reasons:
It makes your marketing budget more productive: The cost-savings from leveraging the same planning and creative work across multiple disciplines increases the efficiency of all components and makes them work more effectively – a rising tide lifts all boats.
It maximizes your reach: Let’s face it, people still read printed materials, they still go to trade shows, they still buy magazines, and they still want your business card! An integrated approach aims your message at your targeted prospects where they “live” – both online and offline.
It streamlines your brand message: If you choose one partner to develop your web site, and another to do your PR and yet another to create an advertising campaign, the chances are your messages will not be consistent. Choose one qualified partner who can totally immerse themselves in your industry and who is able to think “one step ahead” to develop, refine and shape your brand.
What’s changed in marketing?
The introduction of online marketing has changed the way traditional (offline) marketing is executed. Twenty years ago “build it and they will come” was an adequate marketing strategy. But, with the flood of online options, there is a proliferation of companies all vying for the same customer; marketers must be much more savvy about what differentiates them (their messages) from the competition and how their customer will enjoy the experience with them (their brand).
These days, offline strategies drive traffic online. This dual platform approach – using both online and offline tactics – affords you near unlimited opportunities. And, if you can unify your message on both platforms, you will reach even more customers. It’s not difficult, but it is a distinct mindset shift to think from a broader perspective and to connect the messages that you are sending out.
How do you make the shift to integrated marketing?
Expand your marketing team. If your marketing team is comprised of executives from the traditional marketing era, adding a few Gen Xers to the mix can provide a fresh point of view. It’s also a good idea to include a few “front line” sales or customer service team members who are dealing with customers on a daily basis; information about customer preferences provides an invaluable dimension. Finally, add a qualified external marketing consultant or firm as well. You need a well-rounded mix of experienced professionals, both internally and externally, to give you an unbiased 360-degree perspective.
Shift your mindset. It takes some practice and discipline, but it is not complicated to do this. Focus on your customers and how you can reach them, not about your products or their benefits. How will you reach them with your message at every possible juncture? Get rid of that “we’ve always done it this way” attitude; the business landscape today is vastly different and warrants a different approach.
Look for opportunities to combine marketing programs. Review your marketing plan and assess what channels you currently use. Have you purchased an online keyword campaign but neglected to infuse your press releases with those same keywords? Do you have a brochure that is older than three years and looks/reads completely different than your website? Does your blog automatically feed to your Twitter account?
The goal of integrated marketing is to engage prospects using online and offline strategies, and then connect and convert them. This is why it’s crucial that your traditional marketing strategies be integrated with effective online marketing strategies.