Social media and SEO, content and context, email and advertising – there are so many different kinds of marketing out there today that it’s easy to get them confused. The solution to this problem is easy: integrate them.
Integration of the various components of a marketing strategy has become essential as technological advances change how business stakeholders interact with each other and with potential customers. Marketing theories established decades ago by the first pioneers have been overtaken by the complexities of real-time, multi-channel communications.
On the chance you’re still unconvinced of the need for an integrated marketing strategy, or would like some backup to bring to your next meeting with management, here are 3 reasons you need one:
1) It is cross-channel
Integrated marketing strategies take advantage of a combination of communication tools and media to spread their message. By combining various tools, marketers are able to ensure that their audience is reached and can leverage the various tools in ways that are most effective. Integrated marketing draws upon the power of traditional advertising and public relations efforts, as well as the use of new online communication tools including social media. The lines between common marketing communication practices like advertising and PR are becoming increasingly blurred as more companies use combination approaches (i.e. integrated marketing!) to get their messages across to their target audiences.
2) It is customer focused
Successful marketing strategies start and end with customers. Making customers a top priority is well known but rarely executed because most marketing budgets are focused on obtaining new customers not keeping old ones. Acquiring new buyers may add growth opportunity, but most of the money that contributes to the company’s longevity comes from loyal customers returning again and again. Marketing to established customers costs less and generates more revenue. These people know and trust your business so they don’t need a hard sell to get the order. Design your primary marketing strategy around them. Find out how and where they want to connect with you and make it easy for them to do it. Then make it even easier for them to promote you by giving them content and discounts to share with their friends.
3) It has checks and balances
Each channel has its own strengths and weaknesses. By leveraging the strengths of one to offset another’s weakness, effectiveness improves and costs are reduced. Social media is great for engaging audiences and even helps with customer service, but it does not reach new prospects. Being top-ranked for your SEO keywords means you’ll get a lot of website traffic, but it won’t bring back one-time visitors like a well-timed email campaign. Once you determine the best way to provide the marketing and service your customers expect, you can use the channels that are most effective, maximizing your return on investment and driving increased sales.
The most important element of an integrated marketing strategy remains the fact that customers want and expect a consistent experience across all of their touch points with a company’s products and services. Utilizing an effective integrated marketing strategy allows you to deliver this.
Once you’ve decided to create an integrated marketing plan, the next step is developing a strategic communications plan. If you are wondering where you should start, download our free communications plan template for all the tips and direction you’ll need to dazzle your audiences.