Integrated Marketing- Why it's Important Today
You've heard the saying, don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Today, there is nothing more important when it comes to marketing. Why? Because people aren't going to see your message in the same place or platform.
The internet and growing social channels have transformed how people search and discover information, products and services. While integrated marketing has existed for decades, it has never been more important to create content and media stories that hit every audience.
Integrated Marketing (IM):
IM is creating a marketing plan that includes a variety of Marketing Mix elements in combination with one another to create awareness and build brand. Simply put this means not putting your eggs all in one basket, but strive to:
combine your advertising with, say, direct mail and personal selling
diversifying your advertising, engaging both nontraditional media and traditional media
create a PR campaign supported by online content and social media for amplification of the brand story
create opportunities for PR that can be followed up with an incentive program and direct email campaign. It is not difficult to understand and means lots of positive things for businesses of every size.
You just have to find the right combination for your business that will reach all audiences in an effective way.
IM is important, especially in today's "marketing world", because people no longer just get their news and information from the daily paper. To reach your target audience, you may have to use several marketing mix elements together to achieve your desired result.
The other day a man emailed me asking my advice on how to get the word out on his unique laundry service. Unfortunately, he has a small budget and, as creative as it may be, there are hundreds of laundry services here in Chicago, so I suggested he think outside of the box to attract new customers.
This business may get some PR down the road, but nothing substantial now since there really is no story behind the business. I foresee that it could get some column mentions here and there over the years as a convenience service.
With little to no budget, advertising is out of the question. I recommended, instead, that he work with a graphic designer to create a door hanger, or "double duty" piece, that can either be handed out at near by train stations, grocery stores, etc. or can be easily dropped off directly on the doors of every house with in a specific radius of the store - the piece would include a coupon for free trial. I also suggested that he create a customer rewards program to keep people returning to his business.
For service-oriented businesses the best way to drive traffic to your website is through meaningful, helpful content that offers authority and once people find you offer a discount or free trial to encourage them to call or buy. (See the Hierarchy of Effects mentioned previously). Once a customer tries a service or business and they have a positive experience, and they know that the more business they bring the closer they will get to a complimentary service, or "thank you" reward, the more likely they are to return.
In comparison, much larger businesses put a bulk of their marketing budgets into advertising and creating opportunities for public relations (to position the company positively). However, the first thing they invest in is a brand; a logo and branding statements that effectively communicate the company and create interest or a "need for" by consumers.
Even their advertising directions have become more diverse. With so many people on the web, they have to find a way to reach the large number of adults and young adults who get there news from the web, while still talking to people through radio ads (running during morning and evening rush hour) and traditional print mediums. They must also customize advertising to a variety of audiences who may be reading one of a large number of specific websites and magazines.
It may seem that marketing has become more complex with so many new outlets and a bazillion websites out there, but it's not so. In truth, it's become easier to directly target potentially interested consumers. It's all about researching your audience (demographic) to find out who they are, where they shop, what they're looking for, their lifestyle and how they get their news. Then evaluate your budget and put some real thought into the best, most cost-effective ways to market your business. The good thing is that there are a lot of them.
You may take tips from other businesses' marketing strategy, but always remember to customize it to your business. If your desired customer is a high-income woman, than create marketing pieces that are nice, beautiful and make a woman feel luxurious just looking at it. If you're looking for working or single parents, offer discounts and communicate messages relative to "taking the load off" or "doing the work for them". There are a million ways to say it and show it, find what works best for you and then make sure you get it directly into the hands of your consumer.