Explore the Strategy of Integrated Marketing
Is the whole really greater than the sum of its parts? In integrated marketing practice, the answer is undoubtedly yes.
Consider, for example, the recent Domino’s Pizza brand turnaround, constructed on the admission that their pizza used to taste like cardboard and ketchup. Domino’s built a risky campaign around the concept of truly listening to their customers, and integrated this concept into everything they did. On television, they highlighted customer reviews, both good and bad, and the products that had been dreamed up by employees around the country. Online, they invited feedback through their social media presences. They offered apps where customers could build their own pizzas for delivery. The campaign was strategic, collective, integrated, and most of all, successful.
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The world has become more increasingly connected by technology, requiring companies to develop marketing campaigns in multiple media channels. Because consumers are constantly plugged in to their mobile technology, they expect to be able to access a brand wherever they go (See also Mobile Marketing). If they hear a funny ad on the radio, they will pull out their smartphones to look up the company behind it – expecting to find a fully incorporated website waiting for them. If they scan a QR code on a poster, they expect to be led to a familiar-looking landing page.
This massive build-up of branding across platforms can solidify a corporation’s reputation. It can also make re-branding on the fly more difficult, forcing companies to communicate between multiple marketing departments to enact branding changes. Still, the risks of integrated marketing are well worth the rewards of recognition and cost management.
Integrated marketing is a marketing strategy that stresses the importance of a consistent, seamless, multi-dimensional brand experience for the consumer. This means that each branding effort – across television, radio, print, Internet, and in person – is presented in a similar style that reinforces the brand’s ultimate message (See also Brand Marketing).
Consider, for example, the Apple computer brand. Their advertising strategy is simple – showcase a sleek, modern product that works faster, smarter and in ways that the competitors never thought possible. This ‘no gimmick’ strategy is carried across all aspects of the Apple brand. Their products are packaged in crisp, white boxes with almost no text. Their stores are white, clean and minimalist – with products on display for intuitive use. Their commercials are stark, smart, and infectious. By branding their products as elite, intuitive, and futuristic, Apple is able to charge prices above those of their competition and still dominate the hardware market.
This style of marketing is becoming more and more important because media fragmentation and exposure have begun to desensitize consumers. Every day, they are hit with such a barrage of advertisements that only the most integrated and consistent brands stand out as memorable.
Consistency in integrated marketing does not mean lack of creativity. Slapping a single color palate across all media or using the same tagline on a highway billboard as a product homepage is not the epitome of integrated marketing.
Instead, a marketing team must work behind-the-scenes to devise a compelling, unified voice for a brand, and transition it appropriately into every aspect of the brand’s persona, from advertising to physical presence and customer service.
In today’s shifting advertising and marketing world, integrated marketing should be on the agenda for companies who:
Multi-billion dollar companies are typically in the post position to implement integrated marketing strategies, since their television and internet campaigns reach the largest amount of people (See also Corporate Marketing). Still, even smaller companies should use the technique, since integrated marketing creates competitive advantages and boosts sales.
Even already-successful companies can benefit from integrated marketing. IKEA was frustrated by their loyal customers coming to them only for kitchenware and throw pillows, so they began an integrated marketing campaign focused on getting their customers to make larger purchases with them. Their television ads, print ads, and online presence all worked together to show customers how they could use IKEA to build their dream rooms. IKEA saw sales growth of 9 percent for living rooms and 12 percent for kitchen, thanks to their efforts.
The 2012 Summer blockbuster ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ the third movie in the Batman series, integrated its marketing across all platforms. It started with an arrest warrant for “the Batman” being posted on the Warner Bros. website. The press release accompanying the warrant explained that Batman had left graffiti all over the world. Thus, director Christopher Nolan informed fans that they had to work to see this long-awaited trailer. By tracking down hundreds of physical pieces of graffiti from around the world and uploading them via social media or sending them over email, a new frame of the trailer was unlocked.
Integrated marketing campaigns of the 21st century aren’t just mirrors of the same advertisement being repeated over different media platforms. Instead, each platform contributes to a larger brand story. To develop a successful integrated marketing campaign, a corporation needs to consider many aspects surrounding its brand, beginning with a strategic foundation of understanding of the product and market. (See also Product Analyst)
First, by understanding consumer attitudes toward the product, competitor positioning, and technological advancements, a marketing team can determine how to best reach potential customers. They need to know the focus of their brand, the corporate culture, and the identity that their brand is trying to express through its marketing efforts.
Then, the marketing team should consider how to implement their integrated marketing campaign. Beginning with the messaging, design, customer service and product experience, they will consider how to best exemplify their brand across all modes of marketing.
For example, consider Old Spice deodorant, a product that has recently become trendy again after decades of firm positioning as a stodgy, boring hygiene product. After the wild popularity of a humorous traditional television commercial featuring “the guy your guy could smell like,” Old Spice took the character a step further. After inviting their Facebook fans and Twitter followers to ask questions of “the guy,” the company filmed hundreds of video responses in close to real-time and posted them on their YouTube account. This shows how an effective television spot was integrated with an Internet campaign to pull in customers.
Finally, once an Integrated Marketing plan is rolled out, it can be tweaked depending on the audience and situation. For example, Macy’s Department Store, a brand that has made itself synonymous with holiday spirit (and the accompanying commercialism) markets itself differently during the holiday season than throughout the rest of the year. Their focus will shift from everyday savings to Santa Claus and gift-giving. However, the brand’s message, signature red color, and integrated positioning remain the same.
Because the nature of marketing in the 21st century is largely interactive, the easiest way to correctly integrate a brand across all platforms is to make the digital aspect fluid and specific. This means that integrated marketing professionals need to not only have a marketing background, but also a firm understanding of the ever-changing world of social media and online marketing.
A successful integrated marketing campaign should be led by a marketing manager with the knowledge and training necessary to manage and effectively strategize a comprehensive campaign. Typically, marketing managers oversee all activities within a company’s marketing, advertising, and promotional department. They establish brand guidelines and growth strategies, evaluate customer needs, and tweak marketing plans dependent on success. This position is a key component in ensuring the integration of a brand across all media.
Education and experience
Most marketing managers hold at least a bachelor's degree in marketing or a related major like communication, advertising, or business. Marketing managers generally begin in entry-level marketing positions and work their way up the career ladder.
A social media manager either acts as the voice of a brand or coordinates the voices of a variety of brands at larger companies. Day-to-day responsibilities include developing and implementing integrated social media and community marketing strategies, observing style guidelines, and monitoring brand reputation via active listening and social intelligence gathering methods.
Education and experience
In most situations, a bachelor’s degree in marketing or a related field is required to become a social media manager. However, social media management is unlike other management roles, since it often requires social media savvy and a younger perspective rather than years of experience. While social media management is still not an entry-level role, a passionate individual could acquire the title fairly quickly.
A marketing coordinator organizes and implements the day-to-day tasks of personifying a brand across all platforms. Usually responsible for communication with all the people who make a truly integrated marketing campaign possible, a marketing coordinator often knows the brand and its message better than anyone else.
Education and experience
Most marketing coordinators need a bachelor’s degree in marketing, event planning or a related field, but generally need less experience than other positions in the integrated marketing field. They should have excellent time management and organizational skills, and should be able to manage multiple projects on tight deadlines.
A marketing program offers young professionals with the training and communication skills they'll need to implement integrated marketing campaigns. Education at a marketing school will cover:
Because an integrated marketing campaign is so heavily dependent on coordinating all aspects of advertising and branding, a specialized school that teaches an overview of the entire field of marketing and all the possibilities it entails is ideal.
Marketing graduates have the advertising knowledge, branding smarts and communication skills necessary to build a successful career. Most organizations that hire an integrated marketing team require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in marketing. They also look for individuals with strong creative skills, an ability to see the big picture, and an attention to detail. It is important to earn a degree from a marketing school to ensure you have the proper background knowledge upon which to build your career. (See also Careers in Marketing)
To learn more about how a marketing degree can help you build a successful Integrated Marketing career, request information from schools offering marketing degrees today.