In marketing, the term integrated campaign is used widely and often loosely. Merely launching multi-channel ad campaigns doesn’t necessarily make them integrated. But before we go any further, let’s take a moment to understand the meaning of the word integrated. Dictionary.com defines it as: combining or coordinating separate elements so as to provide a harmonious, interrelated whole.
Now apply that to marketing where the ‘whole’ is the campaign message and the ‘interrelated’ is the various media channels and tools that work ‘harmoniously’ in their individual capacity as well as together to achieve desired business results. Be it print, broadcast, mobile, social media, outdoor, direct mail, telemarketing or a combination of all of the above, for a multi-channel campaign to be successful, marketers need to first identify the strengths of each channel and then understand how it can enhance user experience at every level, on each platform. Sounds easier said than done? Not if you have the right planning skills and monitoring tools to evaluate, track and analyse performance of the campaign at every consumer touch point along the way.
Adidas, Unilever, Visa, Pepsi, Lego, Ikea, Coca Cola and Samsung are a few brands that are examples to go by and have recently ranked among the top 40 brands to have the most effective integrated campaigns. What sets them apart? The ability to keep the ‘big idea’ at the heart of the campaign.
Here is our checklist for marketers taking the integrated approach.
What is the ‘Big Idea’?
The Big Idea is the core of an integrated marketing campaign because while the message and approach will (and should) differ with each platform, the Idea will (and should) remain constant. The consumer may experience the campaign in a variety of ways, but it is this Idea which will connect him/her to the brand. Marketers therefore need to be clear about what they are trying to achieve and how this resonates with the media channels they have in mind.
In a bid to break through the clutter on and offline, a lot of brands invest in an array of properties without assessing what is most effective for their brand. It is safer to select a few platforms that really work for your brand and stand out on them than to be everywhere without a coherent presence. Investing in the right monitoring tools help brands understand what their consumers are talking about and where they are talking about it and identify the right channels accordingly.
What is your brand’s target age group? Where are they most likely to consume the message you are pushing out? As with every marketing plan, understanding of the audience is paramount, but even more so when taking an integrated approach. This is because multi-channel marketing is about reaching audiences and in the era of smart phones and digital technology, it is about reaching them everywhere. Making sure the campaign reaches the various consumer-touch points is what integrated marketing is all about.
Simply pushing out messages across various media platforms is not enough – making sure they are received and engaged with, is essential. One of the challenges of integrated marketing is assessing response attribution where it is difficult to attribute which channel or touch points converted to sales. A marketing plan underpinned with the right analysis tools helps evaluate campaign effectiveness.
Photo Courtesy of David Singleton on Flickr