Integrated marketing is a simple idea with a potentially complicated plan of execution. The goal is to create marketing campaigns that are independent of any given channel — the campaign comes first, then you decide how to apply it to each of the channels that you use.
By creating far-reaching, integrated marketing campaigns, you save yourself time and money that you would otherwise have spent on overlapping ideas. You make a bigger impact on your customers by showing them a consistent brand message, no matter where or how they’re interacting with your brand. And best of all, with modern technology, a lot of this outreach can be automated and analyzed far more comprehensively than ever before.
At the core of every integrated marketing campaign is a comprehensive knowledge of who your customer is. You need to know who they are, where they work, what they like, what their problems are, what they’re trying to fix, and how they live their lives.
We don’t mean that in a creepy way — you don’t need to know what they’re making for dinner so you can tell them to try some cracked pepper on that salad — but the more you can find out about your customers, the better you can serve them marketing that’s not annoying, but a true solution to their problem. One of the best tools in your arsenal to do that is through their mobile devices.
The Benefits of Integrated Marketing
The biggest reason to embrace integrated marketing is brand consistency. The average consumer sees 5,000 marketing messages a day, and that number is going up. Most of it is just noise at this point. If you want to cut through the clutter and make a lasting impression, you need to create memorable messaging, and that means consistency and relevance.
Another major benefit is cost. Creating marketing assets, writing blogs, designing graphics, crafting infographics, and so on takes time and money. When you reuse and repurpose your assets for multiple channels, you reduce the upfront investment of a campaign.
Finally, it eliminates confusion and keeps you top-of-mind. When you think of Southwest Airlines, what do you think of? “Transfarency.” Every time you interact with their marketing message, whether it’s in a magazine, on Instagram, or in one of their terminals, you’re met with the same message: no hidden fees, no bag fees, no blackout dates, and so on. When you’re comparing airlines in your head, it’s easy to weigh the pros and cons of Southwest because you know exactly what they are. That’s the kind of memorable marketing you’re going for.
How Location Data Can Help
One of the biggest challenges facing marketers today is finding out what all their customers have in common, and one often-overlooked characteristic should be obvious: they all have smartphones. As of 2019, more than four out of five American adults owned a smartphone, up from less than 50 percent seven years ago. Yet even with that kind of ubiquity, most marketers aren’t taking advantage of what they can learn.
A quick caveat: the world of location-based marketing and even personalized marketing is changing rapidly, and we don’t know where it’s headed. Consumers are deeply concerned about their privacy, and the last thing you want is to come off as invasive. Besides that, regulations like the GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act are making it more difficult for marketers to use personal data. Difficult, but not impossible.
Marketers can still get anonymized location data through a variety of first- and third-party sources, then use them to learn about their customers. Google and Facebook both use location tracking, and most customers opt-in to allow it since it adds functionality to those apps. Since Google and Facebook are the ones serving ads, their location data becomes yours.
That location data adds another layer to what you know about your customers. You can tell who visits the gym more than twice a week. You can tell who commutes by car and who commutes by public transit. You can use geofencing to serve search ads to people who are near your retail locations. You can plan out-of-home advertising around the areas where you know your customers are going. The possibilities are endless.
Integrated marketing is a major step forward for a lot of businesses, turning a mosaic of different marketing channels into one coherent message. It only works if you know your audience, know the channels they use the most, and take advantage of the technology at your disposal. If you’re not using mobile data and location information to inform those decisions, you’re missing out.