WHAT? WHY? WHEN? WHERE?: Integrated Marketing in Today’s World
As a composer writes a symphony each single note might seem insignificant, however together they create a beautiful, emotional, and moving experience of melody and harmony. Marketing is the same way.
What is Integrated Marketing?
There are many definitions for Integrated Marketing but I like to put things in simple terms, so here is my definition – “Integrated marketing is the strategic process by which all brand messaging and marketing strategies are defined, unified, and presented in a cohesive way to achieve a specific end result.”
Many people will read that and say “of course!” however achieving this is not as easy as you might think, especially by one person – your marketing director.
Integrated marketing is not a new concept. My great uncle was a pioneer in direct mail marketing. At that time – in the late 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s he relied on print, radio and television to help his clients tell their stories. It wasn’t hard to keep those basic channels of delivery aligned….boy have things changed.
Now, in the world of digital media, we have email, Facebook, Google, websites, landing pages, twitter, and the list goes on and on and is growing everyday. It is simply impossible for one person to keep all these balls in the air and manage to consider a consistent and cohesive strategy while doing it.
Who Does It Well?
Let’s look at a modern example of the gold standard of marketing — Apple. Apple is a brand that portrays intelligence, ease of use, style, and innovation. They do all forms of advertising, which is why they are a good example. They do print ads, television and digital commercials, websites, etc. All of these properties “feel” the same way and portray the same idea. Even their customer service – via phone or in person – represent this brand standard. It’s no accident, and it takes a massive team of people carrying out an Integrated Marketing plan.
What is Bad Integrated Marketing?
The typical pitfalls of integrated marketing can be many, but some common ones are:
- Doing too much, but not enough. Many marketing professionals think their brand needs to use every social media platform known to man. They may use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Yelp, etc, not realizing that their target demographic only uses 2 or 3 of these platforms, and their efforts would be much more advantageous if they focused on those 2 or 3 platforms. The issue here is two fold – 1. The messaging is not consistent, mostly due to the time it takes to effectively make the plan and then carry it out on multiple platforms. 2. The audience is scattered. They could be heavily engaged on one platform, but instead they are spread out amongst all platforms, making none of your platforms look robust.
- Everything matters! The story your print ads tell needs to reflect your properly chosen social media platform. The paper quality of your business cards matter. The way your sales people dress, matters. If you are a retail store your bathrooms tell your story (McDonald’s spends a lot of time on this part of their message). Every little thing matters!
The Music of Your Brand
My point here, is that your marketing can sound like a well written symphony of melody and harmony, or, it can sound like random notes on a page, written by a composer that doesn’t have the time to be deliberate with each note. Everything must be paid attention to. You need a team. Even if you are a small company and have a marketing director – DO NOT EXPECT THAT MARKETING DIRECTOR TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE ALL YOUR MARKETING. Find a firm comprised of a great team to partner with to help you and/or your Marketing Director navigate the bumpy seas of marketing in today’s world.