Your Guide to Integrated Marketing Communications
Creating a well-thought-out successful integrated business marketing plan takes time to research and plan. Creating a cohesive brand 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 marketing agency. “Months of strategizing and market evaluations are needed prior to rolling out a successful campaign.”
Why is an Integrated Marketing Communication Plan Important?
The benefits of creating an integrated marketing plan rather than individual channel campaigns, is that integrated plans are highly impactful. Integrated marketing plans reach a much wider audience since they are being seen on multiple channels helping you keep your company’s brand top-of-mind and building trust since your customers see the same consistent and cohesive messaged on all channels.
Here are 3 things you need to know to make your integrated marketing plan work:
1) Establish your marketing campaign goals
The first step before any decisions can be made on which marketing channels to advertise on is to set realistic and measurable goals. Your marketing goals may be to build brand awareness, increase traffic to your site, and or grow your ecommerce stores’ online sales. Whatever your goals are, its important to know which performance indicators to use so you can track how your new integrated marketing campaign is performing.
2) 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.
3) Assess and choose your advertising outlets
Although integrated marketing communications involves much more than a single channel advertising campaign, the bulk of the budget, and thus the planning, should be spent assessing the various possible advertising outlets. Should you advertise online using search engine marketing tactics such as video advertising, Google AdWords, remarketing or display advertising, or only using traditional media outlets? Examples of traditional advertising outlets could include radio, television, print ads, outdoor advertising, and direct mail campaigns. Before you can choose any media outlet, you need to understand who your customers are. Who should the marketing plan 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.
Elements of a Successful Integrated Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan should include adaptable, well designed, and well written marketing assets with consistent messaging. The marketing campaign creative should be carried through on all the company’s communication pieces including in-store banners and flyers, on the company website, and all other marketing pieces and advertisements. When it comes to distributing your marketing message to the masses, there are a few methods you should consider using. These include:
Your Company Website
Every successful 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, mobile friendly, equipped with ecommerce capabilities (if applicable to your product or service), and is highly informative. Consider setting up landing pages and use them in your digital marketing tactics with the same consistent voice used in the whole integrated marketing plan for a unified message. Your website promotional efforts should also consider content marketing where you write helpful blog articles and post them on your website and syndicate them on social media. And better yet, consider also publishing original stories on other relevant websites and link back to your company website.
Company, Retail Store or Restaurant Location
Marketing campaigns should always be carried through to your place of business, whether it’s a company office location, retail store or restaurant. The way to attract customers to your business will always start with being in an excellent location, as they say “location, location, location!”. Your store or office layout should be well thought-out, clean and organized, with well designed branded marketing pieces that all flow together both online and offline. Your employees should be trained to provide excellent customer service but also make sure they communicate the promotion or campaign messaging to all customers.
A successful integrated marketing campaign is going to require plenty of backup. Consider creating eye catching business cards, brochures, case study documents, in-store signage and flyers, 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 copywriting, backlinking strategies, search engine marketing, such as Google AdWords and social media marketing are just a few of the online outlets available to your business. Your customers are online so making sure you know how they would perform searches to find your business’ products or services. Integrated marketing plans aren’t static, they change over time. A customer might mention your company or product via a comment on a social media platform that could make a major difference to your campaign. Your business offering might also benefit from hiring an influencer. Influencers have a large fan base and will share your content on their social media networks which will amplify your reach.
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 marketing methods include direct mail, personal selling, and direct networking. Depending on the size of your budget, you will have to make strategic decisions and trade-offs between a variety of different methods in order to meet your campaign goals.
An effective marketing communications plan can take your brand to a whole new level of reach and engagement. Contact ZOO Media Group today to strategize about developing an impactful integrated marketing campaign built for success.