Integrated marketing is: cohesive, unified, interconnected
- Coordinated in look, tone, personality, tagline, logo and theme
- Integrated throughout all customer touch points (advertising, events, email newsletters, direct mailings, website, promotions, packaging…)
- Sends complimentary messages within an overall theme
- Drives the brand reputation and demand (sales and leads) for the products/services a company makes
Uncoordinated marketing happens when there are different one-off marketing and advertising efforts with different messaging using different visual looks and tone. If all the marketing was posted on a wall, it wouldn’t look like it came from the same company, product or brand.
Is your marketing integrated?
- Do you use the same tagline or slogan in everything? (Or do you change it?)
- If you put up on a wall all the marketing and sales communication a prospect and customer might receive from your company, would it look like it came from the same company? (Or does it look like different people created the marketing?)
- Does your logo look the same in everything? Is there continuity in the type style(s) and colors you’ve chosen?
- Are the messages used in your marketing consistent in how they explain the company/product/service? Is the tone consistent? Does your marketing sound like it’s from many different people or one voice?
- If you answered yes to these questions, then you have integrated marketing and are presenting your brand in a consistent manner.
Integrated marketing is like an orchestra with a conductor that gets all the different sections (in music the flutes, drums, etc. and in marketing the advertising, direct marketing, email marketing, website, trade shows, packaging, sales presentations, promotional and demand generation activities) to play beautiful music together.
In contrast, uncoordinated marketing sounds like musicians jamming in a random manner. That’s what a lot of start-ups do. Hey, let’s try this…and then this…and then this.
Integrated marketing unified within a brand campaign drives the brand and demand. Brand and promotional demand generation marketing are most effective when they work together. The brand marketing conveys the reputation of the company and makes it a safer buy. The demand generation promotional activities focus on messaging and offers for “why buy” and “why buy now.” The brand campaign accelerates and assists the demand generation activities.
Think of coupons you get in a mailer. Aren’t you more likely to act on a coupon from a company brand that you know? That you can trust buying from? The coupons from unknown brands don’t work as well. Same thing applies to online and search ads. Who wants to buy from some unknown and potentially untrustworthy company?
With this integration and coordination 1 + 1 + 1 = more than 3. There’s something called the marketing multiplier effect that gives every marketing activity an “assist” because it’s part of a cohesive integrated brand campaign.
There’s a relevant and interesting case study that was reported in The Harvard Business Review about an orchestra that was led by a conductor and a self-led orchestra where all the players collaborated on the music they would play and how to perform together. The self-governed orchestra sounded better but it required more practices and a greater investment in time from each of the musicians than with a conductor led orchestra. Makes sense. Consensus and collaboration takes longer than someone directing everyone what to do.
The HBR article says, “Riding the crest of recent artistic and organizational successes, this self-governing symphony orchestra now confronts the challenge of engendering a culture in which, in the words of the managing director, “everyone in the orchestra is constantly thinking, how can we make this better?”
The Benefits of Integrated Marketing
1. The unified marketing program makes customers think: “This brand/company is consistent…reliable…safe to buy from. I know what to expect.”
When you’re traveling and you want to stop somewhere to eat, doesn’t it seem “safer” to go into a McDonald’s or Subway than an unknown restaurant or coffee shop that the locals may love but seems “risky” to you? (If you’re a local coffee shop what this means to you is that “curb appeal” is critical to attract new customers to your “unknown brand.”)
2. Your company or product/service brand will look more professional and “bigger” with an integrated campaign.
The sum of the marketing “parts” (ads, email marketing newsletters, promotions, events, packaging, PR and your website) will be perceived by prospects, customers and your competition as greater than it actually is. It will look like you are spending more money on marketing.
If you invest in different types of advertising media (TV, radio, online, outdoor billboards, newspapers, magazines) using the same campaign, you’ll get an added benefit of what’s called the “media multiplier effect.”
All the big marketers know and use integrated campaigns. Small companies and non-profit organizations can too.
Know this: it’s very hard (and somewhat based on luck) to come up with a really “big idea” for an integrated campaign.
Why is it so hard to do well?
- Concept was not invented here. Different agencies or freelancers may all have great (but different) ideas and they won’t want to use another person’s or agency’s idea.
- Many ideas will work in only one or two types of marketing very well (for instance TV or a website home page) but the idea won’t work well in a different area, for example, lead generation and more “close the sale” marketing programs.
- Often business owners don’t know they need to act as the “orchestra leader” to coordinate and integrate all the different marketing “players.”
- A small business owner doesn’t know or doesn’t fund the development of an overall brand identity (logo, typefaces, colors, tagline and personality) and the development of a “big idea” campaign that will work across multiple customer touch points (ads, website, promotional offers, newsletters, etc.)
- Not waiting to get a “big enough” creative idea. Since the campaign is being “invented,” no one knows long it will take to come up with a great idea. That’s a lot of luck and sometimes a lot of time. If you’re paying people on an hourly rate, you’ll be tempted to “just pick something” versus say “try again please.” You have to be willing not to accept “good enough” from agencies or freelancers.
- Time pressure. Agencies may say, “We need the campaign in place by this date so you’ll need to pick one of these ideas.” This happens to big companies all the time which is why you see so much turnover in their campaigns.
- A “big idea” that works well in only one type of marketing (ads, website, trade show, direct mail, an infomercial) may not work well across all the customer touch points and marketing programs.
Ready to get started? How to Create an Integrated Marketing Campaign