What Is Integrated Marketing And Why It Matters In Business

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Understanding integrated marketing

Integrated marketing is becoming increasingly important in a world where consumers are bombarded with countless advertisements daily.

In other words, only the most integrated and consistent brands will stand out as memorable.

Apple’s approach to integrated marketing is perhaps the most well documented, and for good reason. Their strategy, which is as effective as it is simple, consists of:

  1. A modern, minimalist product that is more functional and faster than the competition.
  2. Similarly minimalist packaging that serves its purpose without superfluous features.
  3. Clean, white, and spacious stores with a functional design and intuitive product displays.
  4. Commercials spanning decades that are intelligent, memorable, and make the best use of technology of the time.

Apple’s approach as a forward-thinking and innovative company that gives consumers what they want is consistent across all channels.

Over time, Apple has positioned themselves as industry leaders in the minds of their consumers and can charge higher prices for the same products offered by competitors.

Developing an integrated marketing plan

It’s important to understand that integrated marketing does not give businesses free license to develop one campaign and then repeat it on multiple channels. Modern campaigns must consider many facets of a single brand and the wider industry as a whole.

Here are a few steps that every business should work through.

1. Understand the product and market

Businesses must be aware of consumer attitudes toward their products, in addition to competitor positioning and technological advancements.

Ultimately, the business needs to understand its culture and company values before it can hope to target consumers who might be attracted to its brand.

2. Implementation

In the implementation phase, marketing teams need to work hard to deliver a consistent, integrated message across all channels.

These messages must consider factors such as design, product experience, and customer service.

When the last Kombi van rolled off the production line in 2013, Volkswagen asked Kombi owners to tell stories about owning the vehicle on a special website.

The resultant website campaign started a global conversation that spread to a variety of different channels after being promoted.

Although the Kombi was being retired, Volkswagen gained important brand exposure in the emerging Brazilian market.

3. Flexibility

Once an integrated marketing plan has gone live, it must be able to adapt to changing audiences and situations.

For example, movie producer Warner Bros created a marketing campaign specific to the third installment of the Batman series by sending consumers on a graffiti treasure-hunt.

U.S. department store Macy’s has Christmas-specific marketing campaigns, where its advertising focus shifts from saving money to gift-giving and Santa Claus.

During this shift, the company’s signature red logo and brand positioning remain consistent.

As we saw, integrated marketing communication (IMC) is an approach used by businesses to coordinate and brand their communication strategies.

Once upon a time, brands transmitted information to broad and somewhat untargeted sections of the population via television and radio.

Marketing campaigns were very much a one-way affair, with products and services advertised to consumers with little consideration for their particular needs or wants.

The term “integrated marketing communication” was coined in 1989 as businesses started to realize that a unified brand message across multiple platforms would reinforce the brand itself.

There was also a realization that other forms of advertising were more cost-effective and essential to facilitating growth.

Integrated marketing communication is a strategic approach to marketing integration.

It takes separate marketing functions and combines them into one, interconnected approach with a core brand message that is consistent across various channels.

To that end, IMC can be used to create clear and consistent communication across:

  • Owned media – customer service, direct messaging, social media, and user experience.
  • Paid media – direct marketing and offline or programmatic advertising.
  • Earned media – organic search (content marketing), public relations, and social media influencer outreach.

Integrated marketing communication examples

Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is an approach used by businesses to coordinate and brand their communication strategies.

Integrated marketing communication takes separate marketing functions and combines them into one, interconnected approach with a core brand message that is consistent across various channels.

These encompass owned, earned, and paid media. Integrated marketing communication has been used to great effect by companies such as Snapchat, Snickers, and Domino’s.

To better understand how a brand message may be unified and made more consistent, let’s take a look at a few real-world examples.

Domino’s AnyWare campaign

Domino’s realized that when its customers were hungry, they desired a simple pizza ordering process where they could avoid having to select from an exhaustive list of toppings or repeatedly be required to enter their credit card information.

To streamline the process, the Domino’s AnyWare campaign created a zero-click order process with pizza profiles for each customer and their favorite orders saved in the system.

To make ordering pizza even more convenient, consumers can now order from multiple platforms including Messenger, Slack, Google Home, and Alexa. 


Chocolate bar manufacturer Snickers launched the “You’re not you when you’re hungry” advertising campaign with celebrity cameos depicting how an ordinary person would turn into someone else when they were hungry.

The campaign launched on television and then spread to print advertisements, social media, and the product itself, where words such as “savage” and “hangry” occupied the space where the normal label would be.

After a 2015 Superbowl ad featuring celebrities such as Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi, there was an 18,000% increase in YouTube searches for Snickers chocolate bars.


The social media app Snapchat released a line of glasses in 2016 that allowed users to take photographs or create videos and upload them to a mobile device via Bluetooth.

To create buzz around the product, the company engaged in a marketing campaign where vending machines known as “Snapbots” were installed in select cities around the world.

Each machine sold glasses for $129.99 and became a place where fans could converse about the product while they waited in line.

Snapchat cleverly used integrated marketing communication to blend a physical vending machine with its digital app.

The company attracted more attention to the product than if it had used the app in isolation and, through word of mouth, created a positive feedback loop where social media buzz built on itself as more consumers wanted a piece of the action.

The New York Times

Faced with a reduction in consumer confidence in the news and a subsequent decrease in subscribers, The New York Times used integrated marketing to restore trust in newspapers and the media more broadly.

In 2018, the company released a short video promoting the clarity of its news production.

Those walking down one of New York’s many streets were encouraged to consider what truth meant to them with three short statements:

  1. The truth is hard to know.
  2. The truth is hard to find.
  3. The truth is hard to bear.

The initiative, known as the “Truth Is Hard” campaign, served to educate consumers on what journalists expose themselves to when covering the news.

Content was distributed globally and campaigns were also devised for social media. 

Thanks to a shift in public sentiment, The New York Times was able to double its subscriber base (compared to the previous six weeks) just 24 hours after the campaign was launched.

Wells Fargo

In response to negative publicity around allegations of fraud, financial services giant Wells Fargo utilized integrated marketing to restore consumer confidence in its services.

The so-called “This is Wells Fargo” campaign was launched in 2019 and reflected the company’s drastic overhaul of its operations and culture.

Wells Fargo introduced a new visual identity which included an updated logo, a modernized stagecoach, and digital-friendly colors and tones. 

For the first time in its 167-year history, the company also showcased employees as they assisted customers with their financial needs.

In one ad, team members who worked on a simple, secure, and centralized banking platform called Control Tower were featured.

In another, Wells Fargo promoted bankers whose role focused on helping consumers increase their financial health.

In both ads, the company explained how people and technology could be combined to transform the Wells Fargo customer experience with human ingenuity.

The campaign ran across broadcast, online, mobile, and print channels in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. 

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has always billed itself as an airline that offered low-cost fares without sacrificing customer value.

With new competitors entering the market, however, the company’s brand message had become difficult to maintain and somewhat diluted.

In response, the airline launched the “Transfarency” campaign in 2015 to reinforce and reiterate its brand message.

The campaign was based on the airline’s core philosophy of the same name, defined on its website as one where “customers are treated honestly and fairly, and low fares actually stay low – no unexpected bag fees, change fees, or hidden fees.

Transfarency was initially launched across television, radio, print, and various digital assets to explain the scenarios in which a customer may be required to pay for expenses such as checked bags or snacks and drinks. 

Accompanying the launch was the first update to the company’s aircraft livery since 2001 and a fun and interactive microsite with features such as:

  • A tool enabling consumers to compare Southwest Airlines fares with competitors such as United Airlines and Delta Airlines, and
  • A game called “Fee or Fake” which tested consumers’ knowledge of the fees that may be applicable on other airlines.

Key takeaways

  • Integrated marketing is a seamless and multi-dimensional form of marketing with a consistent message across different channels – whether that be TV, radio, or internet.
  • Integrated marketing is perhaps best exemplified by Apple and their consistent message as a minimalist, futuristic, and highly functional brand.
  • Integrated marketing campaigns are based on a solid understanding of product and market and are flexible enough to adapt to changing market conditions and consumer preferences.

What is integrated marketing with example?

Integrated marketing communication combines separate marketing functions into one interconnected approach with a core brand message consistent across various channels. Take the case of how Snapchat released a line of glasses in 2016 that allowed users to take photographs or create videos and upload them to a mobile device via Bluetooth.

Visual Marketing Glossary

Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy where the marketing and sales departments come together to create personalized buying experiences for high-value accounts. Account-based marketing is a business-to-business (B2B) approach in which marketing and sales teams work together to target high-value accounts and turn them into customers.


Ad Ops – also known as Digital Ad Operations – refers to systems and processes that support digital advertisements’ delivery and management. The concept describes any process that helps a marketing team manage, run, or optimize ad campaigns, making them an integrating part of the business operations.

AARRR Funnel

Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.

Affinity Marketing

Affinity marketing involves a partnership between two or more businesses to sell more products. Note that this is a mutually beneficial arrangement where one brand can extend its reach and enhance its credibility in association with the other.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Bullseye Framework

The bullseye framework is a simple method that enables you to prioritize the marketing channels that will make your company gain traction. The main logic of the bullseye framework is to find the marketing channels that work and prioritize them.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Dilution

According to inbound marketing platform HubSpot, brand dilution occurs “when a company’s brand equity diminishes due to an unsuccessful brand extension, which is a new product the company develops in an industry that they don’t have any market share in.” Brand dilution, therefore, occurs when a brand decreases in value after the company releases a product that does not align with its vision, mission, or skillset. 

Brand Essence Wheel

The brand essence wheel is a templated approach businesses can use to better understand their brand. The brand essence wheel has obvious implications for external brand strategy. However, it is equally important in simplifying brand strategy for employees without a strong marketing background. Although many variations of the brand essence wheel exist, a comprehensive wheel incorporates information from five categories: attributes, benefits, values, personality, brand essence.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Customer Lifetime Value

One of the first mentions of customer lifetime value was in the 1988 book Database Marketing: Strategy and Implementation written by Robert Shaw and Merlin Stone. Customer lifetime value (CLV) represents the value of a customer to a company over a period of time. It represents a critical business metric, especially for SaaS or recurring revenue-based businesses.

Customer Segmentation

Customer segmentation is a marketing method that divides the customers in sub-groups, that share similar characteristics. Thus, product, marketing and engineering teams can center the strategy from go-to-market to product development and communication around each sub-group. Customer segments can be broken down is several ways, such as demographics, geography, psychographics and more.

Developer Marketing

Developer marketing encompasses tactics designed to grow awareness and adopt software tools, solutions, and SaaS platforms. Developer marketing has become the standard among software companies with a platform component, where developers can build applications on top of the core software or open software. Therefore, engaging developer communities has become a key element of marketing for many digital businesses.

Digital Marketing Channels

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Field Marketing

Field marketing is a general term that encompasses face-to-face marketing activities carried out in the field. These activities may include street promotions, conferences, sales, and various forms of experiential marketing. Field marketing, therefore, refers to any marketing activity that is performed in the field.

Funnel Marketing

interaction with a brand until they become a paid customer and beyond. Funnel marketing is modeled after the marketing funnel, a concept that tells the company how it should market to consumers based on their position in the funnel itself. The notion of a customer embarking on a journey when interacting with a brand was first proposed by Elias St. Elmo Lewis in 1898. Funnel marketing typically considers three stages of a non-linear marketing funnel. These are top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU). Particular marketing strategies at each stage are adapted to the level of familiarity the consumer has with a brand.

Go-To-Market Strategy

A go-to-market strategy represents how companies market their new products to reach target customers in a scalable and repeatable way. It starts with how new products/services get developed to how these organizations target potential customers (via sales and marketing models) to enable their value proposition to be delivered to create a competitive advantage.


The term “greenwashing” was first coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 at a time when most consumers received their news from television, radio, and print media. Some companies took advantage of limited public access to information by portraying themselves as environmental stewards – even when their actions proved otherwise. Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing practice where a company makes unsubstantiated claims about an environmentally-friendly product or service.

Grassroots Marketing

Grassroots marketing involves a brand creating highly targeted content for a particular niche or audience. When an organization engages in grassroots marketing, it focuses on a small group of people with the hope that its marketing message is shared with a progressively larger audience.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Hunger Marketing

Hunger marketing is a marketing strategy focused on manipulating consumer emotions. By bringing products to market with an attractive price point and restricted supply, consumers have a stronger desire to make a purchase.

Integrated Communication

Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is an approach used by businesses to coordinate and brand their communication strategies. Integrated marketing communication takes separate marketing functions and combines them into one, interconnected approach with a core brand message that is consistent across various channels. These encompass owned, earned, and paid media. Integrated marketing communication has been used to great effect by companies such as Snapchat, Snickers, and Domino’s.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Myopia

Marketing myopia is the nearsighted focus on selling goods and services at the expense of consumer needs. Marketing myopia was coined by Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt in 1960. Originally, Levitt described the concept in the context of organizations in high-growth industries that become complacent in their belief that such industries never fail.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Meme Marketing

Meme marketing is any marketing strategy that uses memes to promote a brand. The term “meme” itself was popularized by author Richard Dawkins over 50 years later in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. In the book, Dawkins described how ideas evolved and were shared across different cultures. The internet has enabled this exchange to occur at an exponential rate, with the first modern memes emerging in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


Microtargeting is a marketing strategy that utilizes consumer demographic data to identify the interests of a very specific group of individuals. Like most marketing strategies, the goal of microtargeting is to positively influence consumer behavior.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measure of the ability of a product or service to attract word-of-mouth advertising. NPS is a crucial part of any marketing strategy since attracting and then retaining customers means they are more likely to recommend a business to others.


Neuromarketing information is collected by measuring brain activity related to specific brain functions using sophisticated and expensive technology such as MRI machines. Some businesses also choose to make inferences of neurological responses by analyzing biometric and heart-rate data. Neuromarketing is the domain of large companies with similarly large budgets or subsidies. These include Frito-Lay, Google, and The Weather Channel.


Newsjacking as a marketing strategy was popularised by David Meerman Scott in his book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. Newsjacking describes the practice of aligning a brand with a current event to generate media attention and increase brand exposure.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Push vs. Pull Marketing

We can define pull and push marketing from the perspective of the target audience or customers. In push marketing, as the name suggests, you’re promoting a product so that consumers can see it. In a pull strategy, consumers might look for your product or service drawn by its brand.

Real-Time Marketing

Real-time marketing is as exactly as it sounds. It involves in-the-moment marketing to customers across any channel based on how that customer is interacting with the brand.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Reverse Marketing

Reverse marketing describes any marketing strategy that encourages consumers to seek out a product or company on their own. This approach differs from a traditional marketing strategy where marketers seek out the consumer.


Remarketing involves the creation of personalized and targeted ads for consumers who have already visited a company’s website. The process works in this way: as users visit a brand’s website, they are tagged with cookies that follow the users, and as they land on advertising platforms where retargeting is an option (like social media platforms) they get served ads based on their navigation.

Sensory Marketing

Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive sensory marketing brand experiences. Long term, businesses must develop sensory marketing campaigns that are relevant and effective in eCommerce.

Services Marketing

Services marketing originated as a separate field of study during the 1980s. Researchers realized that the unique characteristics of services required different marketing strategies to those used in the promotion of physical goods. Services marketing is a specialized branch of marketing that promotes the intangible benefits delivered by a company to create customer value.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is a marketing strategy skewed toward offering a great experience to existing customers and incentivizing them to share it with other potential customers. That is one of the most effective forms of marketing as it enables a company to gain traction based on existing customers’ referrals. When repeat customers become a key enabler for the brand this is one of the best organic and sustainable growth marketing strategies.

360 Marketing

360 marketing is a marketing campaign that utilizes all available mediums, channels, and consumer touchpoints. 360 marketing requires the business to maintain a consistent presence across multiple online and offline channels. This ensures it does not miss potentially lucrative customer segments. By its very nature, 360 marketing describes any number of different marketing strategies. However, a broad and holistic marketing strategy should incorporate a website, SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, public relations, in-store relations, and traditional forms of advertising such as television.

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