A New Approach to Integration
Integrated marketing as a concept has been around for a long time, but whereas in the past you could get away with putting the same ad in several channels simultaneously and call it integration, nowadays there’s a whole lot more to it.
Integration literally is “the act of combining separate, but related elements together to create a stronger whole”. So what elements do we combine together to create integrated marketing? In our Multi-Channel Marketing Certificate we define it in terms of 4 main themes:
This is probably the one theme which every marketer would agree on – the need to communicate in a consistent way. This doesn’t mean all your messages are carbon copies of one another, but language about specific offers or product features, for example, should echo across your communications to avoid confusion. A consistent visual style makes your communications instantly recognizable, and can be as important for brand recognition as a logo or brand name. A consistent brand voice helps build trust and familiarity.
2. Channel Efficiency
In a nutshell this is about getting the best return on your media spend. This is what media planners do day-in and day-out. Clearly some channels are more suited to some audiences and some channels are more suited to different situations, environments and stages of the customer relationship. They need to complement one another to reinforce the message.
This is a more recent requirement. We’re not in the business of pushing messages out when we feel like it anymore; it’s becoming imperative that we fit in with our customers’ lives and timetables. People work and live at hours which suit them and seek information specific to them when it suits them, and we should make it as easy as possible to take the next step in the buying journey.
Finally, integrated marketing is not an isolated event in time; a single campaign for example. It’s a series of activities and interactions which encourage dialogue and by recognising where the customer is in terms of their relationship with us, it guides them along that path.