This is a guest post by Sarah Oxley.
Integrated marketing is the current driving force behind marketing. It isn’t a new principle, but it’s not an easy one to grasp, either. Many large corporations are now only just coming to grips with it, and so SMEs (subject matter experts) are finding adopting this marketing method rather daunting. This needn’t be the case, as I believe that SMEs will have a much easier time implementing integrated marketing methods than their large counterparts.
What is Integrated Marketing?
Integrated marketing says that a combination of communication tools (offline and online) should be used simultaneously to communicate your brand universally to your target audience. This is not to say that the message should be the same throughout. Your brand and message needs to be tailored according to the media you’re using, but your core brand, for example the solution you are offering consumers, should be the same throughout.
Online and Offline Together for Experts
When talking about marketing online, we’re referring to your website, blog, e-mail
communications and social media activities; offline marketing refers to print, such as posters, newspaper ads, flyers, and business cards, as well as radio communications. These should all be considered fair game for a solid integrated marketing strategy.
More media sounds like more work, so how can that be beneficial for SMEs?
Well, unlike large corporations, SMEs have to be much more versatile to begin with. To be successful, you need to use as many tools as you can get your hands on, and use them in a thrifty and smart manner.
You’re likely already using several online tools such as your company website, blog and social media accounts to talk to your target audience, as this is much cheaper than a huge TV campaign. You’re also likely to be doing a lot of networking, especially if you’re in the B2B business, so you’re aware of the importance of communicating a consistent message and using print media such as flyers and business cards to deepen your communications. Consider what other methods might be beneficial to bring in.
How To Achieve Integration
In order to integrate your communication, create consistency through your marketing tools, which can remain the same throughout your communications.
Didn’t I just say not to use the same message? Yep, but I also said to keep your brand the same. The tools that can be kept the same, and should
be kept the same are your brand name, logo, mission statement, and the personality of your brand.
It’s vital to have a logo and brand design which can be used throughout all media. (A complicated logo design, which isn’t adaptable online, is not a wise choice.)
Regarding communication consistency, if you interact with your target audience online say through Twitter, and, for example, you set the tone for these conversations as a little quirky, casual and fun. You get a good response, and your audience seeks you out via your other communications, such as your website, or a flyer they’ve recently got from you. The tone of the flyer and website are serious, straight-talking and more professional. This may stump your audience a bit.
Not because there’s anything wrong with having a more corporate personality to your brand, as we can’t all be Old Spice, but it’s not what your audience was expecting from you. Approach your audience throughout all media channels in the same manner, and you’ll get your desired response without causing confusion.
Such is the essence of integrated marketing.
This article was written by Sarah Oxley, marketing enthusiast and champion of print media such as business cards and flyers, which can be purchased online. Sarah is a marketing and advertising graduate, who likes discussing all things marketing.
McKee, S., 2012, Integrated Marketing: If You Knew It, You’d Do It [online], Bloomberg Business
Week, Accessed: 03/08/2012, http://www.businessweek.com/printer/articles/24494-integrated-marketing-if-you-knew-it-youd-do-it
Photo: vivekchugh on Stock.xchng