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What are the Key Goals and Guidelines in Integrated Marketing?
What is Integrated Marketing?
Integrated marketing can be defined as an approach that uses different forms of media to tell a story or convey an idea. Another aspect of it is that it unifies all aspects of marketing communication − such as advertising, PR, and social media − and uses a mix of media, platforms, and tactics to deliver a seamless and customer−centric experience. In practice, this means that integrated marketing adheres to a consistent look, feel and tone to the message across all the channels used.
An integrated marketing campaign might start with a TV ad featuring a memorable character, and the same character could then appear in other channels: on displays, in social media posts, in the YouTube ads, and even in mailers sent out by the company. For example, we can think about the Vodafone mascot (zuzu) or Gattu from the Asian Paint ads. Or the iconic Maharaja in all Air India brandings.
An effective integrated marketing campaign must have a striking logo and slogan as well as a consistent visual aesthetic. It’s important for all of these to be consistent all through. Consistency holds together the messaging and also creates a solid brand recognition. To understand this, we can think about the slogans from Thums Up ads (Taste the Thunder) or Pepsi’s “Yeh Dil Maange More”.
Types of Integrated Marketing
The different types of marketing communications used by an organization consists of advertising, sales promotions, direct marketing, public relations and publicity, sponsorships (events and experiences), social media and interactive marketing, and professional selling.
The mix that a company incorporates largely depends on the budget they have set aside for marketing and the product they’re promoting.
It disseminates a message that is a reckoner for a brand (product or service) or an organization to multiple target groups at one time. The different media that organizations utilize for advertising include television, magazines, newspapers, Internet (including social media), mail, and radio.
Consumer Sales Promotions
This consists of short−term incentives such as coupons, contests, games, rebates/discounts to supplement the advertising and sales efforts. These are not a part of another component of the communication mix and are mostly developed to get customers and potential customers to take immediate action, make larger purchases, and/or make repeat purchases.
For example, at shopping malls, one might find shops that display a hefty discount on their products, when more than one purchase is made (buy 3 get 2 free, etc.) or the ecommerce platforms offering freebies on bulk purchases made.
However, in business−to−business marketing, sales promotions are called trade promotions because they are meant for channel members who conduct business or trade with consumers. Trade promotions include trade shows and special incentives given to retailers to market particular products and services, such as extra money, in−store displays, and prizes.
Direct marketing is the delivery of personalized and often interactive promotional materials to individual consumers via channels such as mail, catalogues, Internet, e−mail, telephone, and direct−response advertising.
Professional selling is an interactive, paid approach to marketing that involves a buyer and a seller. The interaction between the two parties can occur in person, by telephone, or via another technology.
Public Relations (PR)
PR helps in propagating communication designed to help improve and promote an organization’s image and products. It is often perceived as more neutral and objective than other forms of promotion because much of the information is tailored to sound as if it has been created by an organization independent of the seller. PR materials include press releases, publicity, and news conferences.
These typically refer to financial support for events, venues, or experiences and provide the opportunity to target specific groups. Sponsorships enhance a company’s image and usually generate public relations.
Guidelines to Creating an Integrated Marketing Strategy
The first step towards creating an effective integrated marketing strategy is understanding the audience the business is trying to target. Without it, creating a unified marketing outreach effort is impossible.
A target customer profile can be created by answering the following questions −
What is the average age of the customers?
What education level have they typically achieved?
Which gender group they belong to?
What job titles do they have?
What are their interests?
What are their needs?
What do they do now to solve these needs?
The next step would be to choose the channels to use, as integrated marketing mix means integrated distribution of content across multiple channels. An effective way is to run a survey for the current customers.
Are they on Instagram/Facebook? Do they depend heavily on Google searches? Do they watch YouTube videos?
These will help use only those channels that would be effective and deter from using every channel out there, as that would dilute the brand message. In short, a business must be there where its customers are now, based on the survey, and then continue to tailor that message as per the received feedback.
The next step would be to start with a content idea and then involve the channels. Most companies start with whatever marketing channel available with them and then start creating the content for that channel. However, but integrated marketing team must approach it differently. One will have to conceive a content idea or brand story, and then start developing a plan to split that content into multiple different types, ideally with the help of a content management system.
For example, Coca Cola’s Spread Happiness campaign (2013) had the core content idea of spreading happiness, but each channel they used has different methods put to use. One may just recall the TVC where a man was shown to be laughing inside a train compartment while looking at his tab, and eventually the other passengers started laughing by just seeing him laugh.
A key aspect of creating an effective integrated marketing campaign is to be able to always evaluate how the campaign is doing and then adjust when necessary. It is difficult without having some powerful software that can track the performance and create custom reports that will provide valuable insights. Some of the most efficient marketing software today are Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, Zoho Social, Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp, GetResponse, and Marketo.
What is the Goal of Integrated Marketing?
The goal of integrated marketing is simple−to give the customers a clear, cohesive message, regardless of how they interact with a brand. This helps organisations come across as consistent, professional, and relatable.
So, when we talk about creating a consistent narrative, we must remember that we’re often exposed to more than 300 ads a day, but only one−third of them draw our attention, and from these few, only some are remembered even a day later. Thus, one way to ensure that ads and other marketing resources make a lasting impression is to integrate them into a consistent narrative that can be implemented across multiple delivery channels.
For example, the “Hamara Bajaj” campaign of Bajaj Scooters or “Wherever you go, our network follows” campaign by Vodafone (then, Hutch). Greater consistency within a brand’s narrative, associated with integrated marketing, leads to better overall campaign performance.
Integrating marketing channels also helps to reduce the costs of creating marketing content, by allowing a business to reuse the same content across different channels. If you have a brand mascot, for example, you can use images and video of the mascot in both online and offline marketing media (For ex: Asian paints, Zuzu, KFC, etc.)
Overall, integrated marketing helps a business to create a better customer experience. It’s not a profit model that is enjoyed by marketers only. Customers also appreciate the consistency and predictability that come with a unified brand narrative
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