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:
- Brand: What are your most compelling benefits? What emotions do you wish to elicit in your consumer?
- Consumer: What is important to the consumer? What are their decision factors when purchasing?
- 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:
- What channels will have the most impact on my potential customer?
- 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.
8 thoughts on “Four Ways to Improve Your Integrated Marketing Campaign”
I agree with harmonizing your channels. Having a unified front to the customer is as imperative as having a good product or service
Thanks for the article, Alicia. In the past 10 years branding has really grown to be a whole industry unto itself. I remember when I began my career as a designer back in 1996 that branding was creating a look and feel, and carrying that throughout all forms of media. But now it’s so much more. Apple is always the flag held high for excellent branding, and I do think that they redefined how large corporations relate to their consumers. Thanks again 🙂
Hi Melanie, Glad you liked the article. Apple does do a great job with integrating their branding clearly through all mediums.
However, what did you think of their latest “Our Signature” commercial–they got quite the slap in the face for faltering from their normal tone and feel. (Which is ironic because it is a commercial about their branding.)
Thanks, Shawn! I would love to hear your thoughts on how we can improve and better harmonize internet marketing campaigns.
Yes indeed, this is an interesting case. On one hand, it is beautiful and well shot. On the other hand, it doesn’t quite meet the standard of “hitting the target that the rest of us can’t see” that Apple usually excels with. They are also usually not so self-congratulatory, more focusing on an abstract idea or experience. Hmmm. Your thoughts? and thanks for the response!
I thought it was well shot, too. It makes sense why they chose a self-congratulatory style ad. I actually wrote an article about it if you are interested: http://www.adrants.com/2013/06/made-by-apple-in-california-flop-or.php
Have a great day!
Cool, just read the article. I agree that stirring the pot can be just as effective as a slam dunk. Did you happen to catch the Mike Daisy interviews last year on This American Life? Interesting stuff. About Apple manufacturing in China.
Thanks for sharing and have a great day!
I didn’t see the interview but I read about it in the news.
Thank you, Mel! Have a great day!
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