Every company strives to be as successful as possible, although many will struggle to do so. The majority of this can be a result of a somewhat scattershot approach to doing business, as there can be quite a significant number of things to focus on.
Much of this can be seen with marketing, as there are quite a significant number of methods and strategies to look at. Some of the most notable of these include social media, email, content marketing, and much more.
This could lead to many companies not seeing the success that they may want with their advertising efforts. One of the most effective ways of overcoming this is with integrated marketing communications.
Despite the benefits that this can have for every business, few are aware of the term, never mind how to implement it. To do so effectively, there are a variety of things that you’ll need to know.
What Is Integrated Marketing?
Integrated marketing communications (IMC) is the process of taking a more streamlined approach to your marketing efforts. Doing so means taking each of these strategies, such as PR, paid marketing, and social media, and merging them into one interconnected approach.
While this may seem as though it’s an obvious strategy, it’s something that many companies seem to overlook, especially when it comes to messaging. This is especially true when it comes to including any public-facing or consumer-focused teams.
For example, while your social media professional may be sending one message to customers, your sales team may be giving them another. Because of this, consumers may have a significant amount of difficulty determining what your brand is saying.
Integrated marketing communications looks to overcome and avoid this by placing every team on the same page. Doing so will ensure that any inconsistencies have been gotten rid of, with each team sending the same signals to consumers.
The approach is not only beneficial for your customers but also all of the stakeholders in your business. Much of this will be seen in the fact that a consistent and relevant message will ensure that your marketing will relevant to audiences.
As a result of this, the campaign should be much more successful than an inconsistent one, which helps to deliver much more positive results. Alongside this, integrated marketing communications will provide a seamless and unified experience when interacting with your company.
There will naturally be a variety of aspects to the approach, with each team taking advantage of their respective tactics, activities, and methods. Doing so ensures that each of your company’s teams presents a unified image when interacting with consumers.
The 4 C’s Of Integrated Marketing
When implementing an integrated marketing communications strategy, there are four key aspects that you’ll need to focus on, which are known as the four C’s.
The first of these is coherence, which means that messages must be connected across all strategies.
By doing so, you’ll be able to ensure that your brand’s messaging makes sense across all of your platforms. When you’re creating a marketing campaign, you’ll need to ensure that it makes sense from a customer’s perspective.
While many of your campaigns will make sense to you, it may not for many outside parties. As a result, you should place yourself in a potential buyer’s shoes to ensure that they can understand the message and act on it.
Next, you’ll need to make sure that this message is consistent across all platforms, which is something that many companies may overlook. When a marketing campaign is created, you should ensure that each consumer-focused team is aware of its details and how customers can take advantage of any offers or deals.
Alongside this is the fact that you’ll need to ensure that the messaging itself is consistent, which should also extend to your call to action (CTA), design, and each other aspect of the campaign.
The third C is continuity, which focuses on ensuring that each marketing connects logically to the next. This flow should promote a large sense of familiarity with your consumers. While this doesn’t mean that your messaging will have to stay the same over time, it does mean that you’ll have to build upon on message to the next.
Lastly is that each everything should be complementary, which will ensure that your overall marketing message is as strong as possible.
What Are The Benefits Of An Integrated Marketing Campaign?
Every business owner will want to ensure that anything they do will be beneficial for the company before they implement it. Advertising is no different, so it’s natural that you’ll want to determine what kind of benefits are available with an integrated marketing campaign.
One of the most notable of the advantages that you can expect is that it can be much more cost-effective than not implementing it. Much of this is because an integrated marketing campaign is thought out from top to bottom before it’s implemented.
As a result, you should see much better results, especially compared to a less streamlined approach. Alongside this, you should be able to reduce the number of marketing materials that you’ll have to develop. This results in the company having to spend less on designing and implementing them.
Furthermore, you shouldn’t have to worry about hiring a plethora of people for a variety of jobs, which significantly reduces costs. This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to compromise on results, as you should see much better results with the approach, which leads to a better return on investment (ROI).
Alongside this, the approach should help you build better relationships with your customer, which should be the primary focus for any marketing campaign. The strategy should help you to create much more of a conversation with potential consumers, which will help build the foundation for future success.
As a result of this, you should see more long-term results alongside the ones that you see in the short-term, which further enhances your ROI. This means that an integrated marketing campaign will be much more cost-effective than one that’s not integrated while also providing larger results.
Risks Of Integrated Marketing Campaigns
While there can be a variety of benefits to integrated marketing campaigns, there can also be several risks, although these can depend on your business. One of the more notable of these is that you could encounter resistance or reluctance from management teams.
Much of this will be focused on the various teams that will need to work together to create and implement the campaign. There can be a variety of reasons behind this, with some of this being focused on the fact that teams may have to share part of their budget to implement the strategy.
Alongside this is that many of them may have to share resources, with much of this being focused on employees having to spend time away from their core tasks. This could be somewhat easy to overcome, although it will take a significant amount of preparation and planning to do so.
To do so, however, you’ll need to consider the potential objections that various departments may have and look for ways to overcome them before they’re presented. You’ll need to work with each of your teams to ensure that this transition is as smooth as possible.
Another risk that you may see is the restriction of ideas, with this primarily being because your teams might have to put certain campaigns on hold during the process. This shouldn’t be a reflection on the quality of the ideas themselves, however.
Instead, the primary reason behind this is that you shouldn’t want to put conflicting information or marketing campaigns out. Your marketing department will have to focus on one idea at a time and then build upon this.
By doing so, your marketing teams may often feel as though their creativity is being ignored or stifled.
These risks should be kept in mind before you decide to implement an integrated marketing campaign. By doing so, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re ready to overcome them as quickly and efficiently as possible.
How To Establish Integrated Marketing Objectives
Many business owners may have difficulty when it comes to establishing their integrated marketing communications objectives. However, this shouldn’t be as challenging as you might believe, as there are a few that you’ll need to focus on, with many being similar to every other marketing strategy.
The most notable of these is increasing your brand awareness and customer attention. By utilizing a consistent brand messaging, you’ll be better able to do this while also providing a much more actionable CTA. As such, this makes it one of the more common objectives for any campaign.
Alongside this is the generation of interest. While brand awareness is one aspect, gaining a person’s interest and persuading them to purchase your product or service is another. The majority of this is focused not just on creating sales but also building relationships with your customers.
While each of the above can be seen with the majority of other marketing strategies, using integrated marketing communications also helps you reduce your overall ROI.
Steps To Design An Integrated Marketing Communications Plan
Many companies will want to take advantage of an integrated marketing communications campaign, although they may not know how to create this plan.
Define Your Audience
There are a few steps that you’ll need to take to do so, with the first being to know your target audience.
There are a few aspects of this, such as knowing the demographics of who you want to market to, including age range, location, interests, and much more. Alongside this, you should know what their potential motivations are, with some of the most notable parts of this being their needs and desires.
Select The Channels
By knowing these, you’ll then be able to move onto step two, which is to select the channels that you’re going to market on. While there will be several channels that may be obvious, such as social media, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one.
This is primarily driven by the fact that many potential consumers will be spread across a variety of areas. When you’re determining your channels, you’ll need to weigh the potential pros and cons of the channel, which will have quite a large impact on your potential ROI.
Build Brand Consistency Policies
The next step will be to pay a large amount of attention to brand consistency, which is one of the four C’s of integrated marketing communications. When you’re doing so, you should ensure that your Facebook designs are similar in look and feel to flyers, for example.
This will ensure that your branding remains familiar for customers across all platforms, which will help to make your business as memorable as possible when advertising. Potential customers should be able to identify your ads regardless of which platform they see your company on.
Steps To Execute An Integrated Marketing Campaign
Once you’ve got your integrated marketing campaign created, the next step will be to implement it, although this can be somewhat more challenging than many people may think. Before you roll out a strategy, you should ensure that each of your consumer-facing teams is aware of the campaign, especially if there are any deals or discounts available.
Doing so will ensure that each of your sales and marketing teams is on the same page with your marketing. Alongside this, you’ll need to determine a fixed budget for your marketing campaign, which you’ll then be able to use to help measure your ROI. Alongside this, you should ensure that all the logistics are in place.
Much of this can be focused on the marketing and sales professionals that will be needed for the campaign, as well as any appropriate managers and support staff. This will ensure that you’ll be able to capitalize on any interest that the strategy generates.
There are a variety of things you’ll need to focus on in this regard, such as any follow-up campaigns, among others. Preparation and planning will be a significant part of this.
You should also ensure that you begin marketing on each of your channels at the same time, which can be an essential to the campaign.
Top 4 Integrated Marketing Communications Examples
Many businesses may be curious as to what an effective integrated marketing campaign looks like. There are a few prominent examples that help highlight this.
#LikeAGirl – The first being Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign, which focused on the meaning of being a girl, as well as female empowerment.
The strategy was consistent across each of the platforms that the company advertised on, the majority of which focused on the phrase #LikeAGirl. Alongside this, it focused on an issue that’s been gaining an increasing amount of attention in recent years.
Domino’s AnyWare strategy is also a prominent example, with the company focusing on creating a streamlined online ordering system. This was further enhanced through the company developing a simplified and easy to understand advertising campaign.
GoPro focused on creating an emotional connection with its Be A Hero strategy, which spanned quite a significant number of mediums. While the messaging was simple and to the point, this may have helped it become much more memorable, which enabled it to appeal to more people.
Snap Inc, the owner of SnapChat, also managed to create a notable integrated marketing campaign for the release of its Spectacles to a somewhat crowded market. While this was much more of a guerrilla marketing campaign, it proved highly effective, with the strategy generating a significant amount of buzz upon release.
Thanks for reading "The Beginner’s Guide to Integrated Marketing Success", by the Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.