Integrated marketing deliciously blends all the various disciplines of selling a product or service into one unified battle strategy.
The distinction is crucial.
Integrated marketing is not a marketing strategy, but how you deliver a marketing strategy.
Often times this is misinterpreted by the act of adding marketing tactics to your overall plan. Many people run into problems with this because the new strategies eventually come into conflict with the old. Integrated marketing is the solution to this problem. It's all about finding a good balance between all your various marketing channels. At the same time, it's about developing the appropriate ecosystem for the profitability of your business.
In order to understand and effectively use integrated marketing, you must first learn the four core principles behind it. Here I'll explain each of these principles along with why they're important, and how you can easily apply them to your own marketing strategy. The bullet points describe some great examples of where you can use the principle alongside your existing strategy.
The first and most important principle behind integrated marketing is consistency. Think about your brand, your company mission statement, the purpose behind your business. Everything you and your company do, say, create, and sell must be consistent across the board. Public relations, social media, paid advertising, and content creation must all fall under a theme. It doesn't really matter what that theme is in terms of integrated marketing. All that matters is that you are consistent with it.
Design and styling should also fall under this principle. When a potential customer picks up a product, reads an article, sees an advertisement, or visits a website under your company name, they should all convey a similar design scheme that defines your brand. That means using the same colors, fonts, and other visual elements to reinforce that consistency principle throughout your entire market reach. This also helps you link your various marketing platforms under a specific environment.
The consistency principle is also crucial towards customer service. Having a centralized employee training guidebook, procedural responses toward employee concerns, and an overall uniform look to your company's staff develops a brand and reinforces positive company outlook.
A successful business marketing strategy is nothing without the customers. Companies need customers to function and grow. The problem is that many marketing strategies tend to focus on acquiring new customers, new audiences, and new markets while they forget about retaining their existing customer base. Contests, sweepstakes, viral campaigns, and guerilla marketing tactics gain quite a bit of attention but often do not increase profitability for the company.
The real money is made from all your loyal customers. That's your "community." Marketing to an established customer base costs a lot less and generates a far better ROI than attracting new audiences. You don't need to sell them on trusting you or convincing them that you sell a good product. The hard part is already over.
Stay connected with your existing customer base. Build your marketing strategy around them. Figure out how and why they want to stay connected and make it easy for them.
In order for a company to flourish it has to work as a team. I'm not talking about communication. It's about having everyone do their part. All departments in a company must be on the same side and take whatever steps necessary to resolve an issue. I hear all the time about businesses where their marketing department hates the sales department. Or the logistics department can't stand accounting.
In order for any successful marketing strategy to work there needs to be complete cooperation between all departments. Everyone must be on the same page and working towards the same goals. This isn't solved by having a simple office space restructuring. You need to structure tasks accordingly, and hold regular meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page. Don't forget to review and follow up with any project you put out there as well.
Communication is the final key principle to integrated marketing. I see this principle as an intricate web connecting everything in a marketing strategy. Without it, everything else would very quickly fall apart. Focus on building communication channels that enable your company to share key information across multiple online and offline platforms.
A good CRM program like Salesforce is a great way to keep accurate follow-ups with customers. Not only does this help you remember outreach calls and easily pick up previous conversations, but it also helps other employees pick up the pieces should you be unavailable to do so. Having a good database filled with valuable and extraneous company information is great for allowing key people in your company to quickly find what they need for a project.
Just focus on minimizing the amount of communication that needs to take place in order to get something done. A customer should be able to speak directly with whoever can solve their problem. Eliminate the middle man whenever possible.
Vincent Clarke is an Internet Marketing Specialist for USB Memory Direct, a wholesaler of custom promotional flash drives. He enjoys working one-on-one with customers to deliver great outcomes and is always looking for new content marketing strategies for the USB Memory Direct Facebook and Twitter channels.