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
- Developing an integrated marketing plan
- Integrated marketing communication examples
- Key takeaways
- What is integrated marketing with example?
- Connected Marketing Concepts
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.
- A modern, minimalist product that is more functional and faster than the competition.
- Similarly minimalist packaging that serves its purpose without superfluous features.
- Clean, white, and spacious stores with a functional design and intuitive product displays.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- The truth is hard to know.
- The truth is hard to find.
- 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.
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 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.
- 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.
Connected Marketing Concepts
- Brand Awareness
- Brand Building
- Brand Equity
- Digital Marketing Channels
- Brand Positioning
- Marketing Mix
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