You may already be doing this, but without actually putting a label to it. That’s mostly because the definition of what is integrated marketing keeps shifting to keep up with changes in customer behavior, new communication platforms, and arrival of disruptive sales and marketing technologies.
Shifting Definition of Integrated Marketing
This is the current wikipedia definition of IMC (integrated marketing communications):
“An expansion of modern and traditional marketing strategies, to optimize the communication of a consistent message conveying the company’s brands to stakeholders.”
The wiki page also tracks the history of IMC, and how it has shifted over the decades. For instance, at the start of the new millennium, Schultz, D. & Kitchen, P.J gave the world a new definition for IMC as:
“a strategic business process used to plan, develop, execute and evaluate coordinate measurable persuasive brand communication programs over time with consumers, customers and prospects, and other that are targeted, relevant internal and external audiences.”
This may sound like jargon speak for non-marketers, so let’s look at an actual integrated marketing campaign that worked out nicely. That should explain the concept, and then we’ll figure out what you need to do to implement something like that.
Dow Integrated Marketing Solutionism Campaign
A well-known example of integrated marketing campaign is the Dow Chemical Company’s “Solutionism” campaign. The unifying theme for it was “Solutionism. The New Optimism,” and they put out the same message through print, digital, and even on mobile.
The idea behind the campaign was to highlight Dow’s contribution to science, technology and research that has resulted in wildly popular solutions (such as green rooftops and gluten-free bread) to pressing global problems.
Crafted by Draftfcb Chicago, the print ads for the campaign included QR codes that readers could scan and be led to a video that provided in-depth information about solutions created by Dow that are helping people all over the world. Tens of thousands of people scanned the QR code, taking them from print to mobile and then video for a reinforcement of the same message.
If you hammer home the same message like this on every channel your customers are on, it will start to register. Your brand gets associated with the message, and it can provide long-term gains if you say the right thing. It’s a big deal for a chemical company like Dow to be perceived as environment-friendly and an entity that is helping you lead a healthy and green lifestyle.
How to Implement Integrated Marketing?
The idea of an inside-out unifying theme or message across all your marketing platforms is appealing, but it’s harder in today’s fragmented culture. An integrated marketing campaign covering print, television, your website, SEO, email, social media, mobile, local search, word of mouth, offline locations and events, brochures, hoardings, etc. would drain your budget without reinforcing the same message to the same customer across multiple channels.
You need to take a more customer-centric “outside-in” approach where you start talking to your customers to find out how they want you to reach out to them. The marketing campaign is then crafted across multiple channels with the goal of building a better relationship with customers.
For example, Lucep’s USP is that the website widget and mobile application combine to enable instant response to website visitors who want to talk to you. So Lucep’s integrated marketing plan is to talk about the benefits of instant response on the website, in mailers, and at events that Lucep participates or organizes. When a website lead asks for a call back, it is instantly responded to within 60 seconds, and the same message gets reinforced as the lead moves from the website to a sales rep on the phone – that we get back to you instantly, and you can use Lucep to do the same with your customers.
Another thing you can do is integrate the actions your sales and marketing divisions take into a seamless experience for leads. For example, a lead who raises a query on social media that your marketing team responds to may then expect an instant response as they move ahead in the buying cycle. If your marketing division treats it as a normal lead and adds into your CRM or other lead management system for Sales to chase it down at their convenience, there’s a good chance that someone else will have responded back instantly on social media and closed the sale.
A seamless integration of marketing and sales (smarketing) will help you get rid of such inefficiencies in your process, and it can become a valuable component of your next integrated marketing campaign.