Integrated Marketing Why Brands Need to Master It
Posted by Bernie Borges on Apr 16 2012
Brands Must Embrace Integrated Marketing
Today’s marketers have the daunting challenge of executing integrated marketing campaigns across multiple media channels. Marketing executives are under intense pressure to reach their audience across offline and online channels, while measuring the contribution of each channel to leads or sales results.
Marketing executives have more choices than ever to reach their target audience including offline channels such as print, television, radio and events, and online choices include owned web assets, social media and mobile.
How does a marketer develop integrated marketing campaigns in measurable and effective ways?
Start With Your Target Customer
Marketing 101 requires you to know everything about your target customer including where you can find them so you can engage them there. Today’s consumer (B2B or B2C) is usually not confined to one medium however. So, marketers must integrate offline and online channels to build brand awareness, brand preference and desired actions. A growing challenge for marketers though is the increasingly blurred lines between offline and online content consumption by our target audiences.
Let’s take a high level look at considerations for marketing executives when designing integrated marketing strategies.
Business to Business Integrated Marketing
A B2B marketer is primarily focused on two goals: brand awareness and lead generation. Whether you’re a little known B2B brand or a mature, well established B2B brand, integrated marketing is crucial to success.
Most B2B marketers allocate resources to brand building and lead generation programs through combinations of trade advertising, webinars, conferences, SEO, PPC, social media, content marketing and more recently mobile marketing. To achieve effective and measurable results, marketers should study the behavior of each of their target persona. For example, if your ultimate decision maker is a C level executive and your analysis suggests that he or she reads certain trade publications, attends certain industry events but they are not very active in social media, your integrated marketing approach might look like this. Your advertisement in a trade publication would address brand awareness with a possible call to action to visit relevant content on your website or your blog or a landing page with content that specifically appeals to the C level executive. In most B2B situations, the C level exec relies heavily on staffers to research, evaluate and recommend potential vendor solutions. Typically, these staffers are savvy users of digital channels to conduct their research using search engines, social media and blogs. If you truly understand the personas of your prospects, your reach should include content marketing strategies across your LinkedIn company page, a Facebook business page, a Google+ company page, a branded Twitter account and of course a content rich blog. All of the above digital channels should offer highly relevant content providing the opportunity to engage with your brand offline or online in order to drive them into your sales funnel. The content targeted to staffers should specifically address their important issues during an evaluation.
Picture a conversation at your prospect’s office where the staffers present their list of potential vendors that address an important business issue to the C level executive who responds favorably because the integrated marketing met both audiences where they spend time, and the content spoke specifically to each persona. In this example of integrated marketing the key ingredients were:
- Persona analysis
- Relevant content for each persona
- Efficient reach across offline and online channels
- Calls to action to engage each persona
- Nurturing prospects through the sales funnel
Business to Consumer Integrated Marketing
As I mentioned earlier, the lines are blurring between offline and online channels. Truly integrated marketing seeks to engage a consumer in ways that are appealing to the target customer without regard for medium. Of course, all the marketing 101 principles mentioned above apply. Consumer brands seeking to engage their target consumer need to integrate channels in a blended way that engages, entertains and compels the consumer to share their experience. For example a print campaign (billboard, mail, magazine or retail POP display) should offer the consumer an easy option to visit the brand’s offer online. QR codes as well as social sharing incentives such as specials on Foursquare offer the consumer an easy way to engage with your brand, respond to a call to action and share the offer with their social circle.
The rapid rise in popularity in Instagram and Pinterest also offers brands the opportunity to engage their consumer through integrated marketing. For example, if your brand participates in live physical events, taking a lot of pictures and shooting video allows the participants at the event to share it with their online community when you post the video and pictures to your Facebook page and your Pinterest account.
The key ingredients in B2C integrated marketing include:
- Appealing to the audience’s emotional needs relevant to your product
- Making it easy to consume a brand’s offer through mobile or desktop access
- Delivering content and offers with an element of emotion or entertainment
- Blending offline and online content in the consumer’s experience
- Offering incentives for the consumer to share your content through digital channels
Integrated marketing is not an option for brands to reach, engage and win customers. The blurred lines between online and offline marketing present opportunities for brands to reach target customers in effective and measurable ways.