And OK, we'll admit it, this isn't the sort of topic that tends to get pulses racing at the average dinner party. But we can tell you that it will get your MD or Finance Director frothing at the mouth when they see what's possible when you integrate your marketing. So if you want to impress them - read on.
Learning from the winners
If you look at all the big brands they tend to show off 3 key traits. They're disciplined on who they want to talk to. They're consistent across channels. And they deliver creative freshness without straying off message. Sounds simple enough but it's hard to pull off in practice. It's equal amounts strategic nouse and creative cut-through. In the end though, an integrated approach can make your marketing more effective and save you money. Let's take a look at how:
Aside from having no target, the second biggest mistake a business can make is to try and hit too many home runs in a year. While we'd always advocate the right message to the right customer at the right time, this can quickly descend into a game of spreadsheet tennis. The key with segmentation and targeting is to have as few targets as possible. So once you've identified the segment that you think you can win, it pays to put your chips on that audience for the next 12 months, alongside your ongoing brand building work.
Now you've decided who you want to target, now it's time to hone in with a laser like focus on what you want to say to them. Ideally you want one big brand building message that has such a broad appeal that everyone who could potentially choose your brand "gets it." Then it makes sense to have a more targeted message, tailored message aimed at a specific target customer profile. The key point it it's far better to do these 2 things well for a year than trying to do three or four half heartedly.
So here's the rub. Many brands try to explain what they do in a rational way. But when people aren't in shopping mode - you're actually in the entertainment business. Far better in our experience to take your position and bring that to life by telling a story about what the brand can do for them, rather than just describing what it does. What we're looking to find here is an idea that you can communicate in different ways in different media. There's another reason for this beyond grabbing the attention. As media becomes more fragmented, paradoxically, our ideas have to be bigger to stretch across them all. If you start with a small idea designed for just one media, it will always be tough to make that idea work in a big way.
When people skip between your website, your promotional leaflet and your ad campaign, they expect to see a brand speaking with one voice. So the first thing that integration has to do is make very different media types sing from the same hymn sheet. All your touchpoint have to align. In other words, you want to play that big brand game of consistent look and feel.
What happens when you put all this together?
Put simply - integrated marketing delivers business results. In a study by Analytic Partners, they found that each channel increases your return. While adding a second channel increases performance on average by 19%, using five channels increases performance by 35%. The Effies (who measure marketing effectiveness) found the same too. Using 1-2 channels gives your marketing an effectiveness score of around 20%. Use 4-8 channels and you will likely double your effectiveness.
That's because integrated marketing gives people a funny feeling that something "just works." They see your Instagram post and instantly recognise it as coming from the same company that did the door drop to their office last week. They see your store and it feels like the same brand they heard in your radio ad. It's like getting to know a person. Once you know them you might start to like them. And if you like them it's more likely that you'll trust them enough to spend money with them.
And the real beauty of integrated marketing is that you save money too. By having a clear strategy of which customers you are focussing on, you know what to focus on saying. And because you know who you're talking to, you'll know how you're going to work the channels, you've eliminated a lot of the guesswork that's involved in putting a campaign together. Better for you. Better for your agency teams. And better for your bottom line.