Integrated Marketing places your company’s identity, your brand, key product and corporate messages, positioning, visual images and sales under the same umbrella. It means your public relations materials say the same thing as your direct mail campaigns. Your advertising has the same feel as the home page on your website. Your sales pitches match your marketing messages. Your social media messages are similar on every platform.
This consistency builds a strong brand identity by reinforcing all your visual images and messages, and it saves you money. Through integrated marketing you can leverage the design costs of deploying your web presence, developing an ad or brochure by repeating key images and icons in all your communications pieces. By repeating images and messages – you ensure not only continuity in your communication’s campaign, but also your branding.
It’s an Attitude and it’s Customer-centric
Regardless of company size, maintaining this integrated attitude is not easy. Unless you adopt an integrated customer-centric attitude, you may end up coordinating functional expressions of key messages rather than building a truly integrated campaign This attitude must be part of who your company is each day and the training you provide for each employee.
Developing the attitude – a simple two-stage process.
1 As an attitude, integrated marketing, regardless of your product or service, starts at the top.
2 It’s an internal process where marketing, sales, and marketing communication convene to discern customer dilemmas and the solutions to these dilemmas.
From this meeting emerges the target market, the current dilemma, the category of products that meet market needs and your unique and special offering; It details what is different about your offering from competitive offerings.
Understanding the customer’s dilemma means you can integrate all the marketing communications elements into a unified, well-orchestrated campaign. You develop a relevant umbrella theme that accommodates all the various marketing communications tactics.
A 4 Step Implementation Process
First – understand the customer – intimately.
Your integrated marketing campaign must define and identify all of the customer needs across groups like sales, product marketing, engineering, and customer support. By integrating all perspectives you can then think about how your product addresses those dilemmas and develop a creative strategy that is focused on customer need.
Second – express that understanding with a key message.
This creative strategy should center on a theme that is a simple expression of customer need. The theme should emphasize an understanding of the issues, pressures, and constraints that the customer faces.
Third – integrate that message in everything.
This theme must be carried throughout all marketing programs. It should launch advertising campaigns, reinforce direct mail pieces be a part of trade show handouts, the web site, and all social media platforms.
Fourth – make it an attitude, not simply words and artwork.
Customers should be greeted at all levels with the idea that the company understood their dilemmas. When speaking with customers. the employees at all levels must focus on the same thing: understanding and solving the customer’s problem. Everyone in the company becomes a salesperson – discovering the customer need and offering a value-based solution. This integration as an attitude allows employees to offer solutions, not answers, to customer needs.
So, what’s the ultimate benefit of Integrated Marketing?
It provides a clearer picture of your customers’ dilemma, how you solve that dilemma and how you deliver value to your customers for which they are willing to pay. As a result, your company can offer your customers solutions, not answers. In the end, an integrated attitude allows you to communicate clear, consistent messages, to build a strong presence in the marketplace and, most importantly, to create happy customers.