It’s the launch day of your big campaign, and you’re ready. You’ve purchased the media space, researched the optimal time to reach your audience, and rewritten the content to perfection. But this isn’t a one channel launch. It is an integrated marketing campaign (IMC)––with multiple channels all working together toward the same goal––and there’s a lot at stake.
Your audience expected to have each of their senses piqued, and you delivered. But what does this mean for your brand? What are the benefits of an IMC?
First off, what’s an integrated marketing campaign?
The short answer is that an IMC takes your marketing approaches “from digital, to social media, to PR, to direct mail––and merges them with one dependable message.” Another way of thinking about it is full picture marketing. When you think about the full picture of your brand, what does that mean? You might be successfully engaging with your audience on social, but have you thought about other integrations?
Let’s say you have an accessory company. You sell everything from Italian leather purses to scrunchies. You have a great presence on Instagram with 10,000 followers and decent interaction on each post. So far, you’ve relied on this audience to carry all of your campaigns, occasionally posting on Twitter and Facebook for good measure. In some ways, this is the modern equivalent of putting out a magazine ad and calling it good. You might be reaching your audience, but are you optimizing your reach?
But what if you broke from that mold? You could use your following on Instagram to leverage a new integrated marketing campaign; complete with pop up shops in NYC, LA, Denver, and Miami, a new application utilizing augmented reality that allows users to ‘try on’ different accessories before they buy, and a viral competition to see how your superfans accessorize their lives.
Suddenly, you’re a lifestyle brand. And your audience has tangible experiences that have made you more real and authentic.
Why integrated marketing’s so important
Integrated marketing can have some incredible benefits for your brand. Recent research shows that integrating across four or more channels lets brands “outperform single or dual-channel campaigns by 300 percent.” In addition to that staggering statistic, IMCs can increase your brand value, make your brand consistent and experiential, and generate trust.
When you have messaging across multiple channels, you do more than increase your audience scope and reach. You “reinforce the message and can strengthen the outcome” of an individual campaign, which also reinforces overall brand messaging. You can also save time and money with a reduced need for duplication.
We talk a lot about brand consistency because it is so important. When integrating campaigns across multiple channels, the key is to maintain a consistent and cohesive message. Each iteration should not look the same, but they should complement one another. When done correctly, your brand message is seamless and memorable. Because, “as soon as your business’s message becomes blurred, unfocused, or inconsistent, you begin to lose your audience.”
Makes it an experience
An integrated marketing campaign gives you creative freedom. With options like pop up shops, podcasts, influencer campaigns, and TikTok competitions, your brand becomes an experience for your consumers. “Consumers want an immersive experience that is delivered on their own terms,” which means you find them where they already are. Even better if you can engage all of their senses––yes, even smell!
Maybe the most important benefit is that you will gain trust from your audience. And create it with the passive users who become invested in your brand. As you build your campaigns and keep them consistent across all platforms, you are giving your consumers reason to follow and believe in you. The more you do this, your audience is “more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt and click on the very enticing link that you have provided them with.” Or purchase your product, attend your event, the list goes on.
How to achieve integrated marketing
Now that you understand the benefits, it’s time to put it into action. Here’s how you go about a successful integrated marketing campaign:
Establish your integrated marketing campaign goal
First things first, what’s your goal? Do you want to increase site traffic? Conversions? Do you want to become a household name? Before launching a campaign of any kind, it’s essential to establish your goals. When you market on multiple channels, this is even more important. The biggest takeaway is to make your campaign SMART. That is that it’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Choose your channels
You can’t have an integrated marketing campaign without integration. Choosing your channels is a little like choosing a favorite amongst your children; it depends on the day and the behavior of the channel. Some options to consider are print and pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, PR, sales promotions, digital marketing, social media, events, and packaging. As with anything, test it out. If one of your channels is not performing, “don’t hesitate to add, remove, or test new ones.”
Define your audience
Once you’ve established your goals and channels, narrow down your audience for the best exposure and interaction. If your audience is vague and undefined, your campaign runs the risk of falling flat. Two key aspects of this are demographics and psychographics. Start by defining the age range, gender, and location of your ideal audience. Then narrow this down to their likes and dislikes, values, and habits. Luckily, this isn’t a guessing game. Use the tools at your disposal (like analytics) to make sure you’re on target.
Assign a channel manager
Whether your marketing team is small or large, you need to assign the correct parties to manage these channels. Instead of having one person manage all channels, you can maximize your results (and save them from a breakdown) by assigning a key player to each channel. Each manager will “be an expert on their channel…and will know how to tailor the campaign content to be the most successful.”
Today’s content consists of much more than words on a page. It also needs to be dynamic, feature a call-to-action, and tug on your audience’s emotions. Your copywriter and graphic designer need to align their messaging here and make sure the content fits the channel. To do this, you should establish visual guidelines, create tone guidelines, outline messaging, and write to your audience.
Figure out your CTA
If you established your campaign goal (and, really, you should have done that first), you will have a call to action (CTA). And a plan to convert leads from your campaign. Your CTA has two purposes: “to tell someone what they should do, and give them the motivation to do so.” This motivation could be signing up for your newsletter, participating in your sale or competition, or attending your event.
Measure your integrated marketing campaign
The last part of a successful IMC comes after the campaign launches. Where you revisit your key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics. You can track the traffic and reach of your campaign, its engagement, impact, sales, and total leads. The best part of measuring the results is that it could give you a template for future integrated marketing campaigns.
Integrated marketing campaigns in action
One of the best ways to understand the impact of an IMC is to see some in action. These campaigns are dynamic, intriguing, and also tend to inspire audience interaction.
GoPro: Be a hero
GoPro is a visual-forward brand with adventure in its DNA. When they released their Hero product, they launched their “Be a Hero” campaign, which spanned magazines, billboards, in-store displays, and digital marketing. What brought the integrations together were the heroes they highlighted. With GoPro footage, the brand showcased users’ incredible, daring footage and made it clear that “heroes are all around us.”
Snickers: You’re not you when you’re hungry
Playing with pop culture can be hit or miss. Snickers most certainly hit the mark with their “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” IMC. With commercials complete with celebrity cameos (like Betty White), print ad, social, and retail, they capitalized on the phenomenon that is hanger (hunger plus anger). The humor and accuracy struck a chord with audiences and subtly made Snickers synonymous with refueling after being hangry.
The popular pizza company, Domino’s, also makes our list for their “AnyWare” campaign. For this IMC, they created “a streamlined system of ordering that could be completed through almost any platform.” To generate buzz, they marketed the concept on social media, with celebrity talk shows, and through smart devices like Alexa. The brand took the one-click idea and turned it into a cultural phenomenon by making orders possible through practically any outlet.
Southwest Airlines: Transfarency
With travelers used to trick expenses, Southwest Airlines wanted to rewrite the script with its “Transfarency” campaign. The goal was to showcase its low fairs and transparent fees. With TV spots, social, and a landing page complete with a Mad Libs-style game, they let users know that Southwest Airlines put transparency and their users first.
Take the Savy approach
Creating an integrated marketing campaign takes some careful planning and commitment, but can make a big difference in your brand’s consistency and overall reach. If the task seems daunting, a digital marketing agency can help you fit all the brand pieces together.