It wasn’t so long ago that there were only a handful of channels you could use to market your business. TV, magazines, mail, and out-of-home ads like billboards were pretty much the only options. Then came paid search results, Facebook, Google’s ad network, podcasts, location-based targeting, and an ever-growing list of social media apps.
Companies scrambled to establish a presence on each of these platforms, but without much thought to how their various channels could work together. To this day, a lot of companies hire different agencies for their website than they do for their social media and advertising, and those agencies might not even communicate.
In recent years, that’s led to the rise of integrated marketing — a focus on presenting a united, consistent message across every channel that you use for your marketing. Successful companies don’t just splash their logo on every network they can find, they take a more strategic approach. Here’s why that matters.
The whole idea of an integrated marketing strategy is that no matter where your customers and prospects are interacting with your brand, they’re seeing the same message. That message will depend on the campaign you’re focused on — maybe you’re trying to advertise a new product, differentiate yourself from a competitor, or expand to a new target market. Whatever that message is, it has to be everywhere.
Consistent messaging isn’t just about what you say, though — it’s about how you say it. Different brands like to take a different voice and tone when they talk to their customers. Some are formal and informative, others are humorous and edgy. Whatever you think is best for the product you’re offering and the people you’re talking to, you need to use the same voice and tone across all of your channels.
The verbal messaging associated with your brand is only half of the equation. The other half is visual. With very few exceptions, you have some control over the visual appearance of your brand’s presence on the internet:
- Website: completely under your control when it comes to fonts, colors, logos, and imagery
- Social media: you don’t control the layout or the fonts, but the images you post and your profile picture should reflect your brand
- Online ads: usually completely up to you what they look like, within the size constraints of the placement
- Search ads: since they’re text only, this is generally the one place your branding doesn’t come into play
It’s just as important to make sure that you present a unified visual impression as it is to put forward a unified message. Make sure your images are carefully selected, brand colors are used whenever possible, and your profile pictures are high-res and the same across platforms.
Major Cost Savings
Finally, integrated marketing can present some serious savings. First, it encourages you to recycle content. What better way to make sure that your content is consistent across channels than by literally using the same content? We don’t mean just posting a link to the same blog on every channel — though that’s an easy way to stay in people’s news feeds — but with a few tweaks, one piece of content can work in a lot of channels.
Imagine you put a lot of work into a whitepaper that explains the benefits of your product in great detail. The format doesn’t lend itself to every channel, so you pull out little bite-size bits and pieces for various channels:
- Specific pieces of the whitepaper can be turned into individual blog posts, which you publish links to on social media. At the bottom of the blog, there’s a CTA for people to download the whole thing.
- Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are perfect for the most impactful quotes from the whitepaper, accompanied by a link to the landing page where readers can download it.
- Search ads can link back to the same page, targeted to the user queries that the whitepaper can answer.
- Images and graphics from the whitepaper and blog can be posted on their own to social media, piquing interest in the topic.
- The points in the paper can be turned into a slideshow or video that gets posted to Youtube or other channels.
You can see how with a little extra work, one high-quality piece of content can be stretched to provide a unified message across all of your marketing channels. This not only keeps your messaging consistent, but saves you time and money.
Integrated Marketing: Worth the Effort
We live in an increasingly digital world, where consumers see tens of thousands of marketing messages on a daily basis. If you want to cut through the clutter and make an impression, you have to take special steps to be noticed — and a fractured, scattered approach isn’t going to cut it. Integrated marketing brings all your channels together into one front, seeking out your customers wherever they are. It’ll take some time to get your feet under you, but it’s worth it.