Think back to your school days. You may remember an exceptional teacher who got through to you — one who helped you make a solid connection, clarifying the material until you arrived at that “ah-ha” moment.
Powerful, meaningful connections like these are the essence of successful marketing campaigns.
But it takes more than a creative slogan to make a message click — it requires a strategic approach with messaging that is relevant to the audience, delivered in a manner that is engaging and consistently brand-driven. In my experience, I’ve found the most effective way to make those connections is to employ an integrated approach.
What is integrated marketing? A truly integrated marketing campaign maximizes the benefits of multiple channels in one coordinated effort. It delivers a clear, concise brand-driven message that remains consistent across all channels.
I often see customers approach integrated marketing backward: They start with the end product first, taking a brochure which they distribute at a trade show — and then, mail to customers, upload it to their website, post it on their social media sites and then re-flow it as a blog post.
In marketing, “consistency” does not necessarily mean “the same.” What’s missing, most often, is a strategic approach that includes four key elements.
The right strategy
Identify your goals first: Do you want to inform and educate people? Prompt them to take action? This critical planning phase identifies your market, target audience, relevant messaging and effective marketing channels.
Consider that you might have multiple audiences — existing customers, people who have visited your website, etc. — the campaign messages must speak directly to these individuals with content that’s relevant to them, while still promoting brand continuity.
Each marketing channel has its strengths and limitations; consider this as you identify the best means to reach your demographic. By having a consistent, impactful message woven together using different channels (social media, printed material, promotional items, SEO, etc.) you can ensure consistency and leverage the impact of the cross-channel reach.
Consider that once you send a message to someone, it’s now old. As you continue to connect with this person, you need to change things up, ensuring the message is different, yet still relevant to them. Using multiple channels allows you to reconnect with your audience throughout the campaign to reinforce your message, drive relevancy and prompt action.
Data and tracking
A campaign has many moving pieces. It’s wise to consider all variables when crafting your campaign: Which channels will you use (who uses these channels, what are they using them for)? After you make the initial connection, how do you nurture that contact?
By tracking online activity, looking at where your audience is spending their time (i.e., Twitter vs. Facebook) and capturing responses, you can build a solid data set that defines next steps as you measure results and then adjust and re-deploy to hit the right target, with the right message, using the right channel.
Among its benefits, integrated marketing promotes a consistent voice and brand image, while delivering cost efficiencies in creative/content development, planning and delivery. Another advantage: As you look at different channels and track results, you can drive marketing dollars into the appropriate channels that are most effective.
As with any marketing effort, give your integrated marketing campaign reasonable time to produce results. Build a foundation and then develop a plan based on your business segment, market and audience.
With the right message, aimed at the right audience, using the right channels, you’re well on your way. ●
Tim Connor is president and CEO of The Shamrock Companies Inc., a leading provider of integrated marketing, communications and project management solutions with headquarters in Westlake. Founded in 1982, the company serves a diverse, national client base utilizing four fulfillment warehouses and 15 sales offices across the United States. For information, visit www.shamrockcompanies.net.
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