Traditionally, companies delivered their message through only a few marketing mediums such as print, broadcast, and telephone. Today, there are many more ways to reach consumers offline and online, making marketing more complex and fragmented. With all these new ways to reach consumers, how do you deliver your message to the right target market on the right medium at the right time while still providing a consistent message and experience to your consumer?
Integrated marketing is an approach to develop and distribute a unified marketing strategy across all aspects of marketing communication. This new way to market to consumers offers a consistent experience throughout the buying cycle. But how do you make sure that you are providing this consistent experience?
Your marketing team is likely solely responsible for developing, implementing and analyzing your marketing strategy, but other departments can greatly affect this strategy. Once your marketing team has developed a clear message that embodies your image and value, unify this marketing strategy across your whole business. And you guessed right this doesn’t just mean your marketing and sales team. It is important to make sure the whole company lives and breathes your message. This will help to ensure that at any point along the buying cycle your consumer will gain the same experience. A key to integrated marketing is improving communication across departments, so that your message is consistent.
Once your integrated marketing strategy has been developed and clearly communicated to the whole company it is time to distribute it to the places that your target market spends the majority of their time. A company that is a prime example of how effective integrated marketing can be is McDonald’s.
Take a moment to recall what McDonald’s tagline is. You likely didn’t even need more than a second to recall their tagline: “I’m lovin’ it”. Now why is it so easy to remember McDonald’s message? You guessed right: integrated marketing.
In 2003 McDonald’s launched their world famous “I’m lovin’ it” campaign. They delivered this consistent message to over 100 countries across different marketing platforms. They also created a cohesive strategy to apply their message to all marketing mediums including the experience at their restaurants. Thirteen years later McDonald’s is still running the “I’m lovin’ it” campaign and has flawlessly adapted the campaign to new target markets that spend their time on new platforms all while delivering the same message making the impact even more powerful.
McDonald’s integrated marketing strategy worked because they allowed the time needed for the market to digest this new message. According to Steve McKee,” the average advertising campaign lasts approximately 2.3 years and…companies that maintain healthy growth over time tend to have longer-lasting campaigns, while those that struggle tend to change direction more frequently.” Here lies a common problem with integrated marketing strategies. Integration takes time. In order to integrate a consistent strategy throughout every aspect of your business, it takes patience and will not happen overnight. Even once your integrated marketing strategy has been adopted by every employee, it will take time to soak into the marketplace.
Integrated marketing is essential in order to create a consistent tone, branding image and message that will be distributed throughout traditional and digital marketing channels. By providing a consistent message to your different market segments you are creating an enjoyable experience that your consumers will come to expect when interacting with your company throughout the buying process.
— Christina Davidson is an SEO Content Strategist at Stream Companies, a full-service Philadelphia-area advertising agency.