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Why Your Brand Needs an Integrated Marketing Strategy

by Susan Perez in Advertising Discover the essence of integrated marketing and explore how the synchronization of diverse advertising channels can enhance the potency of your brand's messaging.

Marketing teams spend a great deal of time coming up with strategic approaches to increase engagement and campaign conversion rates. Strategies include digital marketing, omnichannel marketing, direct marketing, social media marketing, integrated marketing, and more.

In this article, we will delve into integrated marketing – what it is, why it is important to marketing teams, and how to implement an integrated marketing strategy for your campaigns.

What is integrated marketing?

Integrated marketing is a strategy that aligns all marketing channels to deliver a consistent message across all customer touchpoints. It aims to provide a seamless experience and avoid mixed messaging or a disjointed brand voice. Rather, integrated marketing campaigns have the same tone and same direction across all channels.

This marketing approach ensures that every aspect of your campaigns, including digital ads, print ads, PR tactics, blog posts, social media posts, and even TV commercials all share consistent messaging.

This image shows the New York Times' "The Truth is Hard" campaign launched in 2017, emphasizing their commitment to integrity and the challenges of delivering the truth through integrated marketing across billboards, video ads, social media, and print ads.

In 2017, the New York Times launched a campaign centered around one message: “The Truth is Hard”. Their integrated marketing strategy used multiple channels (a combination of billboards, video ads, social media posts, and print ads) but conveyed the same message—they are an organization based on integrity and that it takes a lot of work to deliver the truth.

The strategy resulted in the publication increasing their subscriber base and improving the public’s perception of them as a credible news source.

Why is an integrated marketing strategy important?

According to a recent report, 62% of business buyers feel like they are getting mixed messages from companies. Marketing leaders combat that by using customer data to personalize, optimize, and differentiate their marketing campaigns, ultimately communicating unified messages that seem to speak for their company as a whole. They do this by choosing an integrated marketing approach.

Integrated marketing works and multiple factors tell us why:

  1. Brand recognition and trust: By delivering a consistent message across various platforms, you can increase brand recognition and trust with your target audience
  2. Reaching more audiences: Using multiple channels, such as advertising, public relations, direct marketing, and social media, broadens your reach, helps you pull in new customers, and ensures you’re hitting your target demographic
  3. Better results: As the approach ensures all marketing efforts are aligned, and various channels are working towards the same goals, you’re likely to increase customer interactions, deliver a better customer experience, and overall enjoy better campaign success
  4. Cost-effective: Integrated marketing campaigns tend to be more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods, as they eliminate the need for separate campaigns on different channels; your entire campaign can use similar creative assets on all your channels
  5. More collaboration: The method encourages collaboration and teamwork between different departments and brings channel managers together to meet marketing needs
  6. Diversity: You can reach different demographics through various channels, ensuring that a diverse audience hears your message and feels connected to your brand

Difference between integrated marketing and integrated marketing communication

Let’s take a look at the subtle differences between integrated marketing as a whole and the more granular communications aspect of integrated marketing.

Aspect Integrated Marketing Integrated Marketing Communication
Definition Aligns all marketing channels for a consistent message Holistic approach ensuring consistency across all channels
Purpose Create a cohesive interface for customers Accelerate ROAS, faster revenue growth, customer-centric
Key Components Blends outbound & inbound marketing approaches Marketing magazines, sales ads, PR, direct marketing, etc.
Long-term Process Strategy to maintain consistency over time Ongoing process involving strategic planning and refinement
Benefits Reach a larger audience, improve results Build brand recognition, trust, loyalty, and connect with the masses

Key elements of integrated marketing campaigns

As you develop your integrated marketing strategy, you will consider various channels that will serve as your communication tools for your entire campaign.

There are six key elements in most multi-channel approaches, but please keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive, and there may be other channels you can opt to use.

  1. Advertising
  2. Sales Promotion
  3. Personal Selling
  4. Direct Marketing
  5. Public Relations
  6. Consistency and Complementary Use of Media

You’ll want to use a mix of channels in order to reach the widest possible audience and to identify your most effective channels. If one channel is not delivering the results you’d like, you can add new elements to the mix, A/B test your current elements or remove the element altogether.

Integrated marketing strategies and best practices

The best integrated marketing campaigns start with intention and are constantly analyzed to ensure they’re providing a positive customer experience and are delivering desired results.

Marketing teams who aim for successful integrated marketing campaigns should consider the following best practices:

  1. Define goals: Determine the goals of your campaign to help focus on what you want to achieve. It’s always best to set benchmarks for your integrated marketing campaigns to help understand what success will look like for you and how well or how poorly you are meeting your goals.
  2. Choose your marketing channels: Select the most effective channels for your product or service to reach your target audience and make sure your marketing messages are aligned across the different channels.
  3. Craft buyer personas: Understand your target demographic’s needs and preferences to tailor your message accordingly; correctly addressing the needs of your buyer personas can go a long way in a customer’s brand loyalty and increased engagement.
  4. Create a compelling Idea: Create a memorable and engaging idea that ties back to your brand values—you’re more likely to be remembered when you are authentic, loyal to your brand ethos, and focused on integrated campaigns that communicate an aligned message.
  5. Align your marketing materials: Ensure all marketing activities are consistent with your brand’s message and values. Your content elements should have the same direction—use the same tone, and use similar ads across all channels to make sure your brand’s message remains consistent.
  6. Use content personalized for each channel: Tailor your content to the strengths of each marketing channel to maximize impact. For example, a TV ad should focus more on visual images, whereas a print ad should emphasize copy— a billboard should quickly capture someone’s attention with bold design and copy, whereas a landing page should be optimized for SEO and conversions. There will be overlap between your channels, but be mindful about what goes where.
  7. Monitor KPIs: Establish metrics to track the success of your campaign and make data-driven decisions. Key performance indicators such as traffic, engagement, top content, lead generation, and sales can provide important insights that help you make decisions that will ultimately impact your bottom line.
  8. Iterate and improve: Continuously monitor and adjust your campaigns based on performance data to optimize results. This gives you an opportunity to better understand your customer’s journey and how you can best meet their needs.
  9. Collaborate internally: Break down silos between teams to ensure a unified approach to marketing—meet with channel managers, align on a strategy and a main marketing message, collaborate on creative assets, and time the activation of your assets appropriately. Integrated marketing campaigns require input from all stakeholders to work.

7 successful integrated marketing campaign examples

1. Think Small by Volkswagen

This image shows Volkswagen's "Think Small" ad campaign, crafted by DDB in the late 1950s, positioning the VW Beetle as a small, dependable car and a smart choice for American consumers. The campaign, successful in print, TV, billboards, and radio, revitalized Beetle sales with its simplicity and effectiveness.

Towards the end of the 1950s Volkswagen was struggling to sell its Beetle model. In the US, the trend was leaning towards sleek, stylish cars, which the Beetle was not.

VW’s ad agency DDB crafted a simple ad campaign that positioned the VW Beetle as a small, dependable car and a bold, smart choice for American consumers.

The message was simple, and it worked.

After a successful run in print ads and newspapers, they adapted the campaign for TV ads, billboards, and radio commercials, turning it into a highly successful integrated marketing campaign.

2. Microsoft and Carlsberg campaign

This image shows Microsoft and Carlsberg's integrated marketing campaign from 2017, promoting Microsoft's AI capabilities by showcasing how AI was used to brew new beer flavors, surprising and delighting users. Ads were run on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and in print publications like the Financial Times.

Few things surprise and delight users more than an unexpected pairing. The connection between Microsoft and Carlsberg, a massive beer brand, is not obvious. However, they pulled off a successful integrated marketing campaign in 2017.

Microsoft teamed up with Carlsberg to promote its AI capabilities by showing how the technology was being used to brew new beer flavors. The normally lengthy process that requires humans to physically taste samples was taken on by Microsoft’s AI technology, which was able to detect new flavors almost instantly and brew new beer.

The integrated marketing campaign included ads that were run on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and in print publications like the Financial Times.

3. Waze’s “On the Road” campaign

This image shows Waze's "On the Road" campaign, created in partnership with the New York Times, featuring interactive content based on real app data. The campaign aimed to uncover driving trends and reasons behind them, offering informative and shareable content through an interactive page with catchy graphics.

Waze partnered with the New York Times to create an interactive campaign that was based on real data from the app.

The campaign was centered around the fact that in 2017, Americans had driven 1.3% more than they had in 2016, and it wanted to uncover where they were driving and why.

Along with the New York Times, an interactive page was created where users could answer quiz-like questions and uncover interesting data points.

The graphics were catchy, and the content was informative, interesting, and easily shareable across multiple channels.

4. Chicago’s Field Museum campaign

This image shows Chicago's Field Museum campaign for their mummy exhibit in 2018, blending traditional advertising with social media content to generate interest and attract visitors to the museum.

In 2018, the Chicago Field Museum wanted to create a holistic marketing campaign to promote their new exhibit focused on mummies.

They used a mix of traditional advertising, like billboards with social media posts and videos showing patrons interacting with the exhibits.

The campaign was successful in generating interest and bringing people to the museum to check out the exhibits.

5. O2’s “Be more dog” campaign

This image shows O2's "Be more dog" campaign, featuring a cat embracing a dog's enthusiastic lifestyle to convey the message that embracing technology can enhance life. The campaign, shown on YouTube, TV, and digital platforms, creatively captivated customers and boosted O2's market share.

O2 is a mobile network in the UK that was experiencing some tough competition from rival networks like EE, who had secured a big name like Kevin Bacon to appear in their ads.

To gain market share and captivate new and current customers, they knew they needed a successful integrated marketing campaign.

They creatively used humor as the basis for their campaign, and it paid off in a big way.

They launched a campaign featuring a cat – known for being a moody, low-energy creature—deciding to live life more like a dog (more enthusiastically). By embracing a dog’s life, the message is that people who embrace technology can get more out of life, too.

Ads were shown on YouTube, in TV spots, and in outdoor and digital apps.

It was a unique campaign, and it worked.

6. Budweiser Superbowl campaign

This image shows Budweiser's iconic "Whassup" campaign from the 2000 Superbowl, featuring friends greeting each other while enjoying Budweiser, a hugely successful integrated marketing effort.

It was the year 2000, and people everywhere could be heard saying “Whassup” to anyone who would listen. Raise your hand if you know what we’re talking about.

The phrase was a result of a smashingly successful integrated marketing campaign by Budweiser, originally airing at the Superbowl that year. It showed friends calling each other and greeting each other by saying “Whassup” over and over again while enjoying a Budweiser.

It was so catchy and so well-received that it quickly made its way into pop culture and stayed there for quite some time, attracting hordes of people to Budweiser’s website to learn how they could say “Whassup” in more than 30 languages.

7. Wells Fargo’s “Re-Established” campaign

This image shows Wells Fargo's "Re-Established" campaign, launched from 2017 to 2019, aiming to regain customer trust after fraud claims. Using video, ads, and social posts, they highlighted innovative tech and personalized experiences to differentiate from competitors.

In 2017 through 2019, Wells Fargo, the third largest bank in the world, was hit with fraud claims and was looking to rebrand itself as a way to win back confidence with its loyal customers as well as new customers.

They decided to use an integrated marketing strategy to help sway the perception of its audience.

Their strategic approach was to show how their innovative technology and personalized experiences differentiated them from other competitors.

Using video, traditional advertising, and social posts, they highlighted their financial services and their strengths and ultimately regained the trust of their target audience.

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Susan Perez

by Susan Perez

Susan Perez is a content marketer at airSlate. Throughout her career, she has overseen the writing and execution of content campaigns for various SaaS companies, the health and wellness space, the financial industry, and more. Outside of her passion for words, Susan is happiest hanging out with her family, jamming to live music, chasing the sun, and eating a delicious bowl of cacio e pepe.

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