A well-thought-out integrated marketing plan takes time. Creating a cohesive message that’s capable of being transmitted across multiple platforms isn’t easy. But thankfully, there are a few things you can keep in mind to make the task more manageable. “The planning stages of an integrated marketing communications project are crucial,” remarks Sandra Dugas, Partner and Marketing Director at London, Ontario's ZOO Media Group. “Months of strategizing and market evaluations are needed prior to rolling out a successful campaign.”
1) Know Your Business Inside and Out
An integrated marketer needs to know exactly what makes a business tick. What makes your company stand out from the pack? What makes it similar? What are your weaknesses and strengths? Integrated marketers need to know much more than just your product and target group. They need to know what drives your company and what sorts of goals you’re hoping to achieve. The more an integrated marketer knows about your company, the easier it will be for them to find the cause-effect chains that will result in positive long-term outcomes for your company.
2) Assess Advertising Outlets
Although integrated marketing communications involves much more than advertising campaigns, the bulk of the budget, and thus the planning, should be spent assessing possible advertising outlets. Should you advertise online using search engine marketing tactics such as Google AdWords, remarketing or display advertising, or only using traditional media outlets? Who should the advertisements target? How many advertisements should you run simultaneously? Your advertisements will be the cornerstone of your integrated marketing plan — the foundation from which all other elements will be built.
When it comes to distributing your marketing message to the masses, there are a few methods you should consider using. These include:
Every great integrated marketing strategy needs a solid home base, better known as the company website. It’s important to make sure that your website offers clear and concise information — information that relates directly to the other marketing materials you’ve included in your strategy. Make sure that your website is easy to use, equipped with e-commerce capabilities (if applicable to your product), and highly informative.
A successful integrated marketing campaign is going to require plenty of backup. Consider creating eye catching business cards, brochures, case study documents, white papers, and post cards that build and help define your brand. These materials will provide the customer with important messaging, as well as a wealth of information on your products and services.
Email newsletters, SEO linking campaigns, search engine marketing and social media marketing are just a few of the online outlets available to your business. Your customers are online so make sure you’re listening to their suggestions. Integrated marketing plans aren’t static, they change over time. Something a customer mentions to you via a comment or Tweet could make a major difference to your campaign.
No other networking opportunity will afford you the ability to meet so many potential customers in such a short span of time. Trade shows are also a great place to test drive an integrated marketing concept for the first time. The feedback will be direct, immediate, and great for research purposes.
Other methods include direct mail, personal selling, and direct networking. Depending on your budget, you will probably have to make trade-offs between a variety of different methods in order to meet your campaign goals.
A good marketing communications plan can take your brand to a whole new level of engagement and success. Contact ZOO Media Group today to strategize about developing your next integrated marketing campaign.