Integrated Marketing Planning - Danielle working at laptop

Integrated Marketing Planning - align those channels!

An integrated marketing campaign is essentially ensuring that all of your channels (for example, email, social media, press, blogs, online content etc.) are working together to promote a consistent message to a specific audience segment. 

 

In essence, you want to make sure that all of your channels are aligned and singing from the same hymn sheet a) to make the campaign message stronger and b) to avoid any confusion. 

 

By taking a holistic approach to your marketing campaigns, you can create a message that cuts through with more clarity and strength. Want more detail? I’ve summarised the benefits of this approach below and added in a step-by-step guide to creating your own integrated marketing plan further along in the blog.

Promote Brand Trust

Consistency in messaging across a variety of sites generates confidence in the credibility of your product/service and helps you to communicate your unique selling point. Think of it this way, you’re not going to trust a brand who is consistently contradicting themselves. Here, it is important that you are portraying a message that you are comfortable being associated with. By consistently promoting a certain message, brand recognition for this will be increased.

Extend your reach

Inevitably, using more channels (i.e. social media, email, press etc.), means the number of people who can potentially view your campaign will increase. As I’ll explain in more detail, the channels you choose should be relevant to your target audience segment. Adopting multiple channels, which your target audience has a presence on, means you are minimising the chances of them missing your content. After all, studies show that consumers need to see your content multiple times before they take action – the rule of 11 suggests that people need to see something 11 times before they act on it!

Promote your brand personality

Aligning your channels and projecting a consistent image allows you to develop a clear brand personality. Customers and clients will start to differentiate you from your competitors and understand why they should choose you over them. Remember though, it’s not enough to be consistent: you need to ensure that the values you are promoting are compatible with what your target audience wants to see and hear. For instance, it’s no use stressing your price advantage if people want to know about the quality of your services.

Increase your profits

If you choose channels and touchpoints that are relevant to your target audience, you can improve your return on investment by increasing reach whilst ensuring this is personalised to where your customers/clients are active and responsive. Be smart with your channel choices, don’t spend all of your money on a double-page spread if you could do a targeted email campaign at a lower cost, with just as much cut-through.

Ensure longevity

Companies who are dependent on one channel will not be able to keep up with those who utilise all channels but, more importantly, you can ensure longevity. Afterall, marketing is dynamic and, as recent years have shown, the popularity of different channels and means of communication aren’t stable. That said, pick your channels and set the volume of your reach wisely, they must contribute to your overall objectives and result in an ROI you are comfortable with.

A step-by-step guide to creating your own integrated marketing plan

To ensure that you are creating an integrated campaign, as impactful and stress-free as possible, I have broken the process down into manageable chunks: 

 

  1. Establish your overall goal: you may want to achieve an overall business goal like improved profits, or it could be more specific such as increasing awareness of a new product. Whatever you choose, make sure that your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound). Likewise, ensure that you know what KPI you are measuring (e.g. clicks, views, sales) and how you are going to measure this (e.g. Google Analytics, social media engagement).
  2. Look at what segment you want to target within your audience (read more about how you can segment your audience here), identify what channels they are active on and how they interact with brands as a means to guide your channel decision.
  3. Create a calendar plan so you can see all of the below activity. I find it useful to do this in a spreadsheet, with dates and objectives across the top, channels down the side and pieces of marketing activity e.g. social posts, email broadcasts etc. plotted on. 
  4. Choose the appropriate channels to reach your targeted segment and set individual goals for these channels. For instance, achieving a high reach is likely more appropriate for a social media campaign than it is for an email one (not in all cases, though!) 
  5. Create the content that your targeted segment wants to see and is appropriate for the channel and goals in question. If you’re not sure if the content you’re creating is consistent – ask people! Show them three-four examples and see if they get the message. Another fool-proof way to ensure this is to repurpose the content. For instance, you can turn a YouTube video into a GIF that could be shared on your Twitter page. Likewise, a blog post can be simplified and turned into an email newsletter piece of copy.
  6. Launch and manage the campaign. Remember, a campaign doesn’t end when you click publish: a successful campaign involves customer engagement as your customers aren’t passive receptors of information. You need to respond to engagement to maximise effectiveness and extend your reach.
  7. Measure the success: use the tools previously identified to assess the results of your  campaign. Not only does this allow you to track your progress but through analysing your successes and the not-so-fruitful tactics, you can develop a set of best practices for future campaigns.

 

Implement these steps and well you’re on the way to marketing success. Remember consistency is key!

Danielle Slater - On The Dot Marketing