Is “Integrated Marketing” the Next Big Thing?



By Randy Strong
January 2, 2015

“Integrated marketing” is not a new concept. It is a fundamental strategy that business students study and experienced marketers practice intuitively. But it seems to us like there has been a lot more buzz about the term lately.

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All the pieces of your marketing puzzle should work together.

Integrated marketing is a term I have used since the early ‘90’s when selling Major League Baseball programs and it always amazed me that even big business did not implement this strategy with greater frequency.

Let’s remind ourselves of what the term means. “Integrated marketing” is defined by BusinessDictionary.com as a “Strategy aimed at unifying different marketing methods such as mass marketing, one-to-one marketing, and direct marketing. Its objective is to complement and reinforce the market impact of each method, and to employ the market data generated by these efforts in product development, pricing, distribution, customer service, etc.”

For the marketer, “integrated marketing” works when you have a single brand identity that is so strong that it remains consistent and recognizable regardless of the medium. The biggest, most powerful brands in the world are great at this. Think Starbucks, McDonalds, Target.

Back in 2012, the May issue of BusinessWeek included an article called “Integrated Marketing: If You Knew It, You’d Do It” in which fragmentation is described as “public enemy No. 1” in today’s marketing environment. The proliferation of marketing platforms has certainly contributed to this fragmentation, with social media being the primary culprit.

If you are going to use all of the marketing channels available to you, you’re going to need help, and that can mean multiple people working in different mediums. Developing and sticking to a single brand identity across platforms can be very challenging.

Now that the bloom on the rose of social media is starting to fade, we see marketers taking a fresh look at traditional media and asking themselves how they make all their new tools work with the old ones.

We believe that marketing success comes not from focusing on any specific marketing platform and not from trying to use all of them.

Know Your Brand

For any marketing program to work, first and foremost you have to know your brand. What is the image you want to present to the world?

Know Your Market

Second, you need to know who it is you want to reach. Who is your target market?

Evaluate Platforms Based on Potential ROI

Now you’re ready to evaluate which platforms will help you best reach your target markets and prioritize them based on potential ROI.

Different platforms call for a different tone. On Facebook you want to be fun and friendly, magazine ads must be visually gripping, print publications give you a chance to present a longer, more informative message.

But you must have a consistent voice across all platforms as if one person was in many places at one time, reinforcing your connection to a specific customer each time you come in contact with him or her.

Regardless of your budget, you can and should ask how you can diversity the marketing platforms you are using while maintaining and reinforcing a strong brand identity.