The Importance of Integrated Marketing Communications
If we had to pick the biggest, buzziest buzz phrase of the year, it would have to be integrated marketing. Some call it omnichannel marketing, some prefer multichannel attribution, but whichever way you look at it, it’s all about functioning from a single perspective. Putting all your eggs in one basket can have multiple benefits for your business; here’s why we’re loving integrated marketing, and you should be too.
What does ‘integrated marketing communications’ actually mean?
In a small business or start up enterprise, chances are there is one person who is responsible for the majority of marketing efforts. This means that the messages, language and images remain consistent across all channels. This is what we call integrated marketing.
As businesses grow, or in companies which are already larger, there may be several people involved in marketing work. There could be sales teams, online and offline marketing teams, external agencies and more. This can often mean that the marketing message becomes watered down, and consistency muddied by the sheer variety of entities involved.
Bringing things back together, to function as a whole rather than separate parts, is what integrated marketing is all about. Numerous studies have shown that this teamwork based approach can be highly beneficial for a variety of reasons, helping to eliminate confusion and build increased loyalty among the target audience.
Why is integrated marketing important now?
Marketing integration has always been beneficial, but it is becoming more important today than it ever has before. There’s a good reason for this, and it’s all about digital.
In the past, marketing channels were pretty much limited to direct marketing such as phone or post, as well as advertisements on TV, radio and in print. With only a handful of channels to occupy, it was easy for brands to maintain a clear, concise message across all touch points.
But, in the modern world, there are infinite possibilities for marketing to occur, and for it to become confused, messages muddied, and loyalties smashed. Indeed, many brands rely on external agencies to manage various parts of their activities, often with different specialists in place for different outlets. The proliferation of channels for marketing has made it more important today than ever before that we strive for integration, to ensure a clear message at every touch point.
The benefits of integration
Marketing integration is not hard to do, but it can require something of a shift in culture if you’ve become accustomed to a disparate way of working. To make integration work for you, you’re going to need to be committed, consistent and confident it will get results. To help with this, here are just a few of the many benefits you can expect to enjoy when you take a more integrated approach to your marketing efforts.
- Better results: Traditional, disparate marketing will see businesses and their agencies planning separate campaigns for each marketing stream. Press releases, advertising, sales promotions and direct marketing will all have their own stomping ground, never the twain shall meet. With an integrated approach, however, all the components come together to work as one big, beautiful, shiny machine. The information from press releases is reinforced by articles and blog posts, advertising messages are bolstered by these outlets, and follow up using direct marketing further supports the communication, shepherding leads like moths to a light.
- Increased efficiency: Being consistent in your messages will not only make the overall impact stronger and more effective, it could save you money too. Images can be created once, then used across a variety of channels. Copy can be perfected, then repurposed for different media. And rather than using a host of different agencies, each with different specialisms, you can opt instead to work with one provider who is an integrated marketing expert. This could save you money on agency fees, and will almost certainly cut the time cost compared to dealing with multiple providers.
- Boosted brand awareness: Interacting with your customers in a consistent, focussed manner is beneficial for both your brand and the loyalty your audience feels towards you. Creating the same message across a variety of touch points serves to reinforce your messaging, helping the customer to feel comfortable and confident in who you are and what you stand for.
- Repeated success: Do you think your customers hear you the first time? They don’t. In fact, according to experts, the average customer needs to hear the message seven times before it really gets through. Integrated marketing helps you to reiterate the same message in a variety of different ways, so the chance of having it heard and acted upon is increased.
- Customer satisfaction: By integrating your campaign, you can be confident that customers will receive the same message, no matter where they encounter your brand. This means you can communicate with your customers to their preference, whether that’s by email, social media or otherwise, and be confident that they are receiving your key messages loud and clear.
- Organisational benefits: Achieving consistency in communication is always going to be beneficial for any business. It helps teams work together, saves wasted time and effort, and helps to streamline processes so that everyone works better together. By adopting an integrated approach to marketing, you can ensure that teams all function well together, and that there is less risk of confusion between departments, agencies and individuals.
There are many benefits to be had when you start to look at an integrated approach to marketing. To find out more about how this could work for you, or for help in getting started, why not get in touch with us today?
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