Integrated Marketing White Paper
As technology advances, the world has become more connected than ever before. Today, consumers around the globe are constantly using their mobile devices to connect not only with their immediate surroundings but with the rest of the world as well. In fact, a Pew Research Center study found that both internet use and smartphone ownership are on the rise in countries with emerging or developing economies. Due to this proliferation of technology, more people expect to be able to connect with their favorite brands wherever they go and however they access the internet.
As a result, brands are increasingly forced to formulate marketing strategies that incorporate multiple channels and recent trends in marketing spending reflect this shift. Forrester’s U.S. Interactive Marketing Forecast for 2014-2019 revealed that by 2019, marketing leaders will spend more than $103 billion on “search marketing, display advertising, social media marketing, and email marketing — more than they will on broadcast and cable television advertising combined.” Clearly, intelligent companies are beginning to utilize new tactics in order to capture customer interest as well as important data across digital platforms.
At LINKS WorldGroup, we recognize that digital, mobile and social media have become an integral part of any modern marketing strategy and we constantly stay on top of developments in the marketing industry in order to supply our clients with the optimal return on their marketing investment.
Leading marketers and organizational decision-makers are faced with similar challenges when it comes to marketing spend and how to provide the optimal return on a marketing investment. As the number of marketing channels continues to grow, media and audience attention becomes increasingly fragmented — reducing any message’s chance of getting through to its intended target.
In order to compete in the modern marketing landscape, companies must frequently connect with customers through their preferred channels and the more touchpoints that exist between a company and potential customers across various channels increase the likelihood of engagement, interaction and loyalty. Before the age of smartphones and likes on social media, there were far fewer avenues to connect with an audience through targeted marketing strategies, but the adoption of technology is rapidly changing that.
Have you ever noticed a brand following your every move? One day, you’re browsing a company’s website for a product, then the next day, ads for that product pop up all over your social media newsfeed. Within a few days of the original search, you’re sent an email promoting the same product you were browsing for the other day. Finally, the next thing you know, you’ve been sent coupons for the product you were browsing for by way of snail mail.
This strategy is called multichannel marketing and it is being increasingly adopted by brands and marketers around the world. Multichannel marketing is when companies interact with potential customers through more than one channel — directly and indirectly.
Unfortunately, solely utilizing a multichannel approach to marketing is not enough for customers these days. More often, customers expect a consistent identity from brands — from message to message and across mediums. Consistence in marketing both online and offline is crucial in making sure consumers understand the marketing message.
One way to overcome this fragmentation and deliver a consistent message across channels is through integration. According to the American Marketing Association, integrated marketing communications is “a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.”
As a matter of fact, this process of integration is increasingly preferred by customers and marketers alike. According to the 4th Annual Consumer Insights Survey conducted by the E-tailing Group, 72 percent of consumers want an integrated approach to marketing. Additionally, “The Multichannel Maturity Mandate” from Forrester found that 76 percent of marketing professionals agree that successfully integrating multiple channels under a single, integrated marketing strategy is crucial to their long-term success.
At LINKS, integrated marketing is the holistic approach to communications in marketing and it means communicating a consistent identity between messages and across mediums. Truly successful multichannel marketing presents the right offers to the right people at the right time through the right channels — both online and off. Integrated marketing highlights the importance of a seamless and consistent brand experience for consumers. Only the most seamless and consistent integrated experiences stand out as memorable to customers.
Consistency in integrated marketing does not imply a lack of creativity, though. In fact, devising a compelling integrated marketing campaign requires a great deal more creativity than the average marketing campaign. Integrated marketing campaigns are not just reiterations of the same advertisement repeated across multiple platforms. With integrated marketing, each channel makes up a small piece of a cohesive whole.
Integrated marketing campaigns that utilize traditional and nontraditional channels — both online and off — unlock wonderful value, as the utilization of multiple channels reinforces the message and oftentimes strengthens the preferred outcome by increasing the likelihood that consumers will take action.
In order to develop a successful integrated marketing campaign, companies need to consider numerous aspects about their brand and gain a complete understanding of their product or service, market and customer base. Developing these understandings will allow marketers to collect crucial data, develop personalized campaigns, spend their organizations marketing dollars effectively and track the results, allowing for continued optimization down the road. By understanding how consumers feel about your brand or the product, where your competitors are positioning themselves and how far marketing technologies have advanced, a marketing team is able to determine the best way to reach potential customers.
Upon gaining this understanding, marketers need to be able to leverage valuable variable data to create and execute consistent multichannel campaigns across all channels and effectively track a campaign’s success. Effective utilization of this data will provide the optimal return on you or your client’s marketing investment. Without this valuable data, finding the right ways to communicate with targeted new prospects and retain existing customers becomes nearly impossible. Sure, we all know the open rates on our email campaigns, how many likes our company and our clients have on Facebook and how many Twitter followers we’ve accumulated, but what metrics actually matter when determining the return on a marketing investment?
Think about your company’s or your client’s business objectives and the underlying marketing metrics that allow you to quantify what methods are best at driving those business objectives. Whether your objective is increasing revenue, generating more leads, generating more revenue from existing customers, acquiring new customers or increasing a brand’s value, metrics exist that reveal the most effective method of driving that objective.
Ideally, each business objective gets down to the nitty-gritty details of each offer, campaign and channel. If we are able to capture data at such a granular level, not only will campaign performance results be obvious, but we’ll have accumulated data that exhibits which integrated marketing tactics do — and don’t — drive the optimal result.
With any marketing metric, you’ll want to be able to demonstrate that your efforts are moving the needle and that you are finding ways to optimize your integrated marketing campaign.
In the end, the most effective marketers don’t guess at which marketing tactics and which channels are best at delivering on specific business objectives. They have mastered the metrics that matter in order to drive the optimal return on marketing investment. Effective integrated marketing campaigns don’t just acquire new customers, but retain old ones by making them feel more important and engaging them where they want to communicate. Much more than just personalization, consistent imagery and messaging that makes the consumer feel noticed and valued, effective integrated marketing campaigns build brand loyalty.
Clearly, integrating your marketing message and using both online and offline tactics for a campaign can increase visibility, while only minimally increasing marketing costs. The integrated approach to marketing delivers a number of benefits by increasing brand loyalty, cultivating consumer relationships and boosting profits by increasing sales. While perfect integration is not possible, unifying your company’s or your client’s marketing efforts will give you an advantage and put you on a pathway to success.