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.

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.

Connected Marketing Concepts

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.

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.

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 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.

Digital Marketing

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.

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.

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 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.

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”.

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.

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.

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.

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