Digivate’s Guide to Integrated Marketing Communications

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Marketing has evolved.

Generic mass marketing is not only expensive, but it’s also archaic.

Consumers are now ad-blind, savvy and in control.

Hence, generic ‘buy this now’ marketing messaging risks being overlooked and ignored if they are not relevant to consumers’ needs and wants.

What is Integrated Marketing?

Integrated marketing communications is a process that joins all aspects of marketing (across owned, paid, earned media) to achieve a common business goal.

Integrated marketing ensures that all messaging and customer experiences are unified, consistent and centered around the customer’s needs.

There are now more marketing channels than ever before.

By coordinating messages across all channels, you increase your brand’s familiarity, favourability and purchase intent.

In a nutshell, integrated marketing is user-friendly and hence more profitable, because people actually want to spend time with your content.

Marketing agencies like Digivate understands the complex nature of consumer behaviour. We can make your marketing more effective by tailoring your message to the right audience on the right channel.

Integrated Marketing Example

It’s always useful to illustrate the theory of integrated marketing solution with an example, so here we go:

Let’s say you want to increase your website conversions by 40% by the end of the year.

To achieve this goal, there are 2 things that need to happen simultaneously:

  • More people need to be aware of your brand (awareness stage)
  • More people need to be interested in your brand (consideration stage)

You may ask:

‘Why should I worry about the brand awareness and consideration stage when you only want to convert people into buyers?’

Well, if people don’t know you exist or don’t find your brand appealing, it’s going to be very difficult to convert them into buyers.

Now, traditional marketers would ignore different buyer stages and personas and just blindly push out a one-size-fits-all message, which would only create mistrust among your customers.

An integrated marketing campaign, on the other hand, considers buyer personas and buyer stages (i.e how people buy, how long it takes them to buy and what incentives need to be used to drive people further down the funnel).

Integrated marketers are also channel-agnostic, which means that they are where their customers are (not where they feel comfortable on).

However, the biggest difference between integrated and traditional marketing is that integrated marketing is goal-driven as opposed to activity-driven.

The goal will determine a mix of marketing activities depending on personas and their behaviour.

In short, an integrated marketing program looks at the bigger picture and creates a holistic marketing plan that achieves a specific and measurable marketing goal.

Importance of Integrated Marketing

You may ask: ‘Why is integrated marketing communications important?’

There are many benefits of integrated marketing.

At its most basic level, a clearly linked marketing campaign has a bigger impact than a disjointed myriad of messages. 

Why?

Firstly, a consistent message has a better chance of cutting through the ‘noise’ as it reduces the ‘misery of choice’ consumers feel today.

And secondly, carefully linked multi-channel messages in a planned sequence also help customers move comfortably through the stages of their buying process.

Other benefits of integrated marketing include:

  1. Campaigns that integrate 4 or more channels outperform single-channel campaigns [it’s because consistency shortens the decision-making process for customers]
  2. Integrated marketing can save you agency costs [hiring a digital marketing agency with a unique approach to integrated digital marketing services is more cost-effective than hiring several agencies for different marketing strands]
  3. Integrated marketing reduces administrative workload by simplifying the process [by hiring an agency like Digivate, you can be sure that you will work with people who have experience in all the marketing communications disciplines, as opposed to just 1 or 2]
  4. Integrated marketing strategy starts with carefully listening to consumers to provide them with the type of communication that matters to them. 

How to Create an Integrated Marketing Plan

There are 4 steps to creating an integrated marketing strategy:

  1. Determine your objective [what do you want to achieve]
  2. Define your target audience [the people who need/want/or benefit from your offer]
  3. Craft the right content or messaging [what type of messaging and content formats work for your audience at different buyer stages]
  4. Pick the right channels [pick the websites your audience uses at different buying stages]

Let’s look at all the 4 steps in more detail …

#1 Determine Your Objective

An integrated marketing communications plan starts with your business objectives. 

Once you are clear on your high-level business objectives, we can help you to create a marketing strategy that supports your business goal as well as set S.M.A.R.T goals for every marketing activity.

[S.M.A.R.T stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound].

Understanding your business objectives and setting S.M.A.R.T goals to achieve them is the key to a successful integrated marketing communications plan.

#2 Define the Target Audience

Defining a target audience starts with personas. A buyer persona is a detailed description of your target customer.

In order to market cross-platform, you need to be able to describe your target persona well. 

This includes an understanding of who they are, what they like and value and what motivates them, but also what they perceive as barriers to buying from you.

The digital personas we build are not hypothetical or fictional characters, they are real people, rooted in real data. 

Data-driven target audiences are receptive, predictable and profitable.

We achieve this level of performance by using real consumer insights, research, and testing. Read more about how we do it here. 

#3 Craft the Right Content

Once you know what makes different people buy from you, you can create better content.

Better content means better sales pages, better blog posts, better email, and ad campaigns.

Each persona may have a slightly different buyer journey and messaging they relate to, which we take into account when building an integrated marketing strategy.

#4 Pick the Right Channels

 Your audience preferences and content types will determine the right channels to engage them.

 To successfully integrate your marketing, you need to plot all customer touchpoints with your brand across the customer lifecycle. 

Summary: Integrated Marketing in a Nutshell

Integrated marketing can create a competitive advantage, as well as boost sales while also saving money.

Think customers first.

Wrap communications around the customer’s buying process.

Pick the right channel for each buyer stage.

Develop a sequence of marketing activities that help the customer to move easily through each stage.

And last but not least, it’s easier to sell integrated marketing solutions to your Senior Management if they understand the benefits of personalised marketing at scale, so get their support by presenting them a strong case study with our help.

Get in touch by filling in a short form here or call 0203 691 0412.

How can we help?

We can implement the right technology and analytics for your business, set up tracking tags across all online activity and create a content strategy for all customer touchpoints that drive the prospects towards the final conversion.

Are you looking for a multi-channel marketing agency to work with? We can help you make the most of your marketing. Just fill in this quick form here and we'll get back to you. Or call us on 0203 691 0412.