Your customers are in charge. They have taken control of where, how, and when they access information about your product. Now, more than ever, you need all your marketing channels to share a common goal and tell the same story. In short, you need an integrated digital marketing strategy.
“Buyers no longer learn about products and services through a single channel or follow a defined path through the sales funnel,” says Lisa Alloca from award-winning integrated marketing firm Red Javelin Communications.1 They have become adept at charting their own course across channels and devices to find what they’re looking for. Ensuring they receive a consistent message about your brand wherever they encounter it, “creates a surround-sound effect that amplifies your brand in an increasingly chaotic marketplace,” Alloca says.2
“Having an integrated marketing communications (IMC) strategy is the difference between advertising on purpose and getting lucky,” says Ahmed Kareh, who is Adjunct Professor at Brigham Young University and Managing Partner at Twistlab Marketing. “An effective IMC will outline a core message, highlight your competitive advantage, address the appropriate target market, and tailor the message to fit supportive media channels. Essentially, the message remains consistent, but the method of delivery will vary across platforms.”3
Six ways to increase the impact of your integrated digital marketing campaign
1. An integrated campaign needs an integrated team
“Consistency plays a large part in how your brand is perceived,” says Chris Blessington, Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Communications at Smartsheet, a collaborative work management (CWM) platform that enables sharing with stakeholders and teams.4 But how do you maintain consistency when you have various teams managing different tactics for multiple campaigns?
A CWM platform is valuable for keeping everyone aligned. The sharing tool that works for your team may be as simple as creating a Google Doc and giving everyone commenting access, or a Slack group, but collaboration is key if your aim is to weave a coherent story through every aspect of your campaign. If you work in a traditional business structure, tackle internal barriers by assembling a dedicated cross-functional task force for your campaign.
the message remains consistent, but the method of delivery will vary across platforms.
2. Invite your customers onto your team
“Marketing, is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell,” says Online Marketing Innovator and bestselling Author Seth Godin.5 Stories provide the context, and human emotion fuels that indispensable offline and online channel: word of mouth. But your customers can do more than help broadcast your stories. They can join your storytelling team.
In a 2013 campaign to mark the closing of the last assembly line for Volkswagen Kombi in Brazil, Volkswagen invited Kombi owners to share their experiences which they then used in a series of emotionally-charged ads. As a result, production of the Kombi Last Edition had to be doubled to meet demand, and the user-generated campaign won 10 international awards, including two golds at the 2014 Cannes Lions.6
“Marketing, is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell,” says Online Marketing Innovator and bestselling Author Seth Godin.
3. Remember that customer service is a marketing channel
You know what you want your customers to DO – you want new customers to make their first purchase, first-time customers to become repeat customers, and repeat customers to spend more. But how do you want to make them FEEL?
Customer experience is an important marketing channel, which means not only is your UX team part of your integrated campaign task force, but your customer service (CS) team should be too.
“The best time to do great customer service is when a customer is upset,” says Seth Godin.7 A customer who wants to raise a problem via email, telephone or social media, is a customer who’s ready to engage with your brand. So don’t waste the opportunity by failing to brief your CS team on your campaign goals.
“The best time to do great customer service is when a customer is upset,” says Seth Godin.
4. Be content-efficient
The content team has delivered clear, consistent and compelling content. Whether it’s a research paper, a case study or a blog post, your job as a marketer is to adapt and repurpose it, strategically and efficiently, says Marketing Entrepreneur Jennifer Lonoff Schiff, writing for strategy, leadership and innovation website, CIO.8
Andrew Stanton, President and Co-founder of integrated marketing agency Altitude, drives the point home: “Every piece of content you develop—a blog post, case study or video—should be used in as many places as possible.” As part of the strategy, create an editorial calendar to leverage content that works.9 Stanton suggests a well-received case study could be repurposed for a newsletter, and excerpts could be used to engage your audiences on LinkedIn and Twitter.10
5. Plan for success
Marketing could learn a thing or two from tennis and golf: the follow-through is important for your game. Ensure you have a lead nurturing follow-up plan in place, before your integrated digital marketing campaign brings new customers to your brand, says Triniti Burton, Marketer at B2B software solutions provider Integrate.11
Andrew Stanton, President and Co-founder of integrated marketing agency Altitude, drives the point home: “Every piece of content you develop—a blog post, case study or video—should be used in as many places as possible.”
Planning for success should be part of your campaign from the outset, so the experience continues to feel seamless to your new customers. Welcome them on board with messages that build trust and nudge them down the conversion funnel.
6. Measure what matters and learn from it
In digital marketing, you can measure almost everything, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Decide in advance what success will look like – depending on your business, it could be conversion or engagement – and make sure you have tracking in place that will capture accurate data.
If the data tells a good story, but especially when it doesn’t, study it to learn which of your marketing channels are most effective, and which are underperforming. The starting point for your next campaign should be based on your analysis of the data from the last one. Don’t forget to invite the analytics team to your brainstorm.
In digital marketing, you can measure almost everything, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
Ultimately, a cross-functional team with a single goal is your key to unlocking the power of your integrated marketing campaign.
- 1 Alloca, L. (Jan, 2018). ‘Why integrated marketing needs to be the foundation of your B2B strategy’. Retrieved from Forbes.
- 2 Alloca, L. (Jan, 2018). ‘Why integrated marketing needs to be the foundation of your B2B strategy’. Retrieved from Forbes.
- 3 Kareh, A. (Mar, 2017). ‘Seven steps to a better integrated marketing communications strategy’. Retrieved from Forbes.
- 4 Blessington, C. ‘5 Tips for a successful integrated marketing campaign programme’. Retrieved from Smartsheet.
- 5 Cohen, H. (Dec, 2011). ‘Seth Godin: 7 truths at the heart of marketing (& how to use them)’. Retrieved from heidicohen.
- 6 Grande, C. (Jun, 2015). ‘The end of the road: Kombi’s last wishes boost brand’. Retrieved from Campaign.
- 7 Cohen, H. (Dec, 2011). ‘Seth Godin: 7 truths at the heart of marketing (& how to use them)’. Retrieved from heidicohen.
- 8 Lonoff Schiff, J. (Feb, 2014). ‘7 ways to create a successful integrated marketing campaign’. Retrieved from CIO.
- 9 Stanton, A. (2015). ‘Integrated marketing essentials: the view from 30,000 feet’. Retrieved from Altitude Marketing.
- 10 Stanton, A. (2015). ‘Integrated marketing essentials: the view from 30,000 feet’. Retrieved from Altitude Marketing.
- 11 Burton, T. (Mar, 2018). ‘How to manage an integrated marketing campaign like a boss’. Retrieved from Integrate.