marketing

If there is one thing well known brands have in common, it is that they have a strong singular message that runs through all their marketing efforts. Think of McDonalds' slogan-"I'm lovin' it." So simple yet they've used it for ten years.

Most campaigns run their course in three years. But for the past decade, McDonalds wove their slogan into a seamless campaign across multiple channels that maximized their impact on customers. This is the power of integrated marketing.

However, many people misinterpret what integrated marketing is and, in turn, their efforts are like seeds tossed in the wind. Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is more than just using multiple channels (PPC, public relations, social, etc.). At its very core, IMC is about presenting a unified message.

Find Your Focus

Integrated marketing today lacks focus on the big picture. If the company's message doesn't unite and inspire their own employees, how can it grab the attention of potential customers? A solid integrated marketing campaign always comes back to branding. In depth research should be done on three levels to find your focus:

  1. Brand: What are your most compelling benefits? What emotions do you wish to elicit in your consumer?
  2. Consumer: What is important to the consumer? What are their decision factors when purchasing?
  3. Competitor: What makes you stand apart from other brands?

Once you find your focus remember to keep it as the focus across all marketing channels.

Develop a Cohesive Strategy

The biggest problem with IMC is the idea that if you market on multiple channels that you are doing integrated marketing. Wrong, that just creates a bigger problem-fragmentation.

According to the 2013 State of Integrated Marketing Report, 80% of integrated marketing professionals claimed they saw higher revenues when using IMC. Integrated marketing is thought as an inevitable and necessary part to reach your consumers. And it does work if done right. But the problem comes when businesses think they have to be on every channel in order to reach their consumers.

The world is saturated with advertising messages and limiting your brand's message in each medium will make it a tiny drop in a pond that no one notices. So when you begin to develop your IMC strategy remember these two questions:

  1. What channels will have the most impact on my potential customer?
  2. Can we translate our message clearly and consistently to those mediums?

Harmonize Your Channels

After you identify the appropriate channels, you need to coordinate and manage all forms of marketing communication. The goal is to unify all the various marketing elements under one umbrella. IKEA did a great job harmonizing their various marketing elements during their Designed By IKEA campaign.

Every channel carried their focus of showing the consumer how to put a room together with various items from IKEA. They didn't change their message for each channel, it was the same focus on all of them.

Market Globally, Act Locally

The Internet provides a beautiful medium to reach people all around the world. It also provides a way to change messages to fit niche target groups. Some businesses feel the need to change their message depending on which group would see it. While thinking local and personable can be beneficial, it can also be over done.

Always keep your mind focused on the key message when determining how to approach different target markets. While you can include variances in your marketing mix to be more personable, make sure those key elements are always consistent throughout your campaign.