You see integrated marketing all the time, and probably take it very much for granted. That’s because when it’s done well, you don’t necessarily notice it.
It creates a seamless brand experience across channels and platforms. That’s the idea behind integrated marketing.
If you’re looking to create a cohesive experience and keep your brand at the top of potential customers’ minds, you’re in the right place.
Integrated Marketing Strategies to Build Amazing Cross-Channel Campaigns
Think about your day-to-day. You probably check your email, open up Facebook, scroll through Instagram, drive past billboards, and get annoyed at an ad on YouTube interrupting that cat video you were watching. Maybe you listen to a podcast while you’re driving to work.
All of those are opportunities for brands to engage with you. If you see ads for the same brand on different platforms, but the ads are all for different services or promoting different deals, you’d find it tough to get a sense of the brand.
On the other hand, if you see a Facebook ad that reminds you about the email you got about that same offer, and click through to their website and see that offer front and center, with the same messaging and branding, you’ve had a smooth, seamless transition across channels.
That’s what your goal is with integrated marketing.
Isn’t That Just Multi-Channel Marketing?
Sort of. Multi-channel marketing is the process of marketing to prospects across many channels – instead of just running, say, an email campaign, you also run ads on social media and Google and anywhere else you can reach your audience.
It’s essentially a given in today’s marketing teams. Marketers will often research which channels their target audience are active in, and look into how those users engage with each channels and move across them.
Integrated marketing takes that concept up a notch. Instead of developing individual, separate campaigns for each platform and channel, you synchronize them and align them so that your entire network of channels becomes one big machine.
It’s a process that has many benefits: it builds brand authority and trust when visitors see consistent messaging across multiple channels, it gives you much greater reach, and it means you can save money by adapting assets across your channels.
To make integrated marketing work well, you first need to have a good grip on multi-channel marketing, so you can build off of it.
Step 1: Preparing Your Multi-Channel Setup
The very first thing you need is a solid set of buyer personas. A deep understanding of your target audience is crucial to successful marketing in general, and this is no different.
The next thing you need to do is some research. Take those buyer personas and dive deeper into not just who they are, but where they are. Do they spend time on Twitter? Or Facebook, possibly Instagram? Do they listen to podcasts that you could pay for a mid-roll ad?
Find out where your target audience is spending their time, and you’ll have your list of channels. You’ll have a much better impact if you’re strategically targeting channels that you know your audience uses, instead of just casting as wide a net as you can and hoping.
That said, you might not use all of those channels for every campaign.
Step 2: Conceptualizing Your Campaign
What’s your campaign’s context and goal? Have you just launched a new product or service that you want to build awareness of? Maybe you’re planning an upcoming sale that you want to generate some buzz around.
When setting a campaign goal, you’ll get best results if you make it both detailed and attainable. Don’t pick something like “generate leads” – that’s far too general.
Set a definite goal and a timeline for it. Instead of “generate leads”, set your goal as “generate 50 leads in a 90-day period”.
If your goal is more centered around brand awareness, you can still do this – pick something like “generate 100,000 impressions in a 30-day period” instead.
That way, you can concretely track your campaign’s performance.
Step 3: Break It Down by Channel
Once you have a clear idea of your campaign’s goals, it’s time to pick which channels you want to use for your campaign, and set goals for them.
For example, if your goal is to drum up awareness of your new brick-and-mortar location, you’ll probably want to focus on geographically-targeted channels such as local radio, billboards, and print ads – as well as geo-targeting on social media ads.
On the other hand, if you’re aiming to generate leads for a software offering, offline ads like billboards aren’t a very efficient or effective way of spending your budget. You’ll get much better results with something like an email lead generation campaign.
When you have a set of channels for your campaign, break your main goal into smaller goals for each channel.
If you’re gunning for 50 leads, look at your historical performance for each channel (if you’ve used it before) and set how many lead you can expect from that channel, and what micro-KPIs (such as clickthrough rate, conversion rate and impressions) you’d need to achieve to reach that number.
If you don’t think you can achieve your overall goal with the channels you want to use, based on historical performance of those channels, consider adjusting your goal to something you can achieve.
Step 4: Plan and Create Your Assets
By this point, you have a clear campaign concept and a detailed breakdown of your goals for each channel you plan on using.
Now it’s time to actually create the campaign. Each channel has specific types of assets that are required, or work well – images and short video clips for social media, sound clips for podcasts or radio ads. Decide on your messaging, right down to which hashtags you want to use.
The important thing here is to keep these assets consistent with each other and your branding guidelines. You can repurpose pieces of content for other channels. For example, if you produced a short video, you can also use stills from that video as image assets, turn a portion into a GIF, create a related hashtag and a blog post.
Of course, when designing and creating your assets, keep your buyer personas in mind as well.
The whole purpose of an integrated marketing campaign is to reach the right people and give them a consistent experience across any channels they use to engage with your brand.
Use the same messaging, imagery, and even typography across all your campaign channels.
If you have multiple people managing your various channels, make sure they’re communicating openly and clearly.
Step 5: Plan for Leads
Even if your campaign isn’t meant to generate leads, it probably will – at least a few. Make sure you’ve planned ahead for them. If someone wants to convert, it should be easy, even if it wasn’t the campaign’s primary goal.
Set up a landing page or a form for people to fill out – something that relates well to your campaign. Even if it’s just a brand-awareness campaign, make it easy for people to convert.
Think about your buyer personas and the context of your campaign. How would someone convert? Would they sign up for your newsletter, for example? Perhaps you have a piece of downloadable content that’s related to your campaign that people would fill out a form for.
Any campaign is going to generate attention – there’s no reason not to capitalize on it.
Step 6: Launch, Track and Improve Your Campaign
Actually getting your campaign live is possibly the easiest part of the whole thing – all you have to do is schedule your posts and ads.
The trick is to keep tabs on all the KPIs you determined earlier. Since you drilled down and determined all the micro-KPIs you need for each channel, you can easily compare your actual performance with your targets for each metric.
And that tells you, in turn, what you need to do to improve for next time. Take what worked with this campaign, and apply it to your next campaign. Try something new in the areas that underperformed, and you’ll consistently improve your campaigns.
A well-executed integrated marketing campaign is a powerful tool, and actually requires less work than disparate campaigns on individual channels, since you can repurpose assets across most channels.
Presenting a unified experience for potential customers is fantastic for building brand awareness – and when you do it right, it feels smooth and natural. There’s no disjointed feeling when moving from one channel to another.