The marketing landscape is constantly changing. Customers are getting more difficult to reach. The tactics that used to be the bread and butter of any type of marketing efforts are all but obsolete now. So maybe you’re a business that has shifted its marketing efforts into the digital realm, but you are seeing poor results. Using an integrated marketing campaign might be exactly what you need to improve your overall marketing strategy.
What is an Integrated Marketing Campaign?
The success of marketing campaigns in today’s mobile, multi-channel and social-driven landscape is based on an integrated approach. So, what exactly is an integrated marketing campaign? The simplest definition is a marketing campaign that uses multiple channels in a cohesive way targeting a clear-cut audience to accomplish specific and measurable goals. Let’s break it down a little more.
The best way to approach an integrated marketing campaign is to break the process into 3 steps. These steps are Preparation, Execution, and Measurement.
Preparing a Marketing Campaign
Preparation for your integrated marketing campaign begins with identifying goals. How are you going to measure success for your campaign? Any goals that you identify during this step will need to be clear, specific, and measurable. For example, many businesses want to increase sales as the goal of a marketing campaign. Instead of leaving it there, set a measurable goal that specifies how much you want to increase sales over a specific period of time. Identify 2-3 of these specific goals before considering how you want to accomplish them. You should also identify precisely how you plan on measuring these goals. By starting with the goals, it allows you to have a reason behind every tactic that you choose to employ in your integrated marketing campaign.
Once you have established your goals, it’s time to identify your audience. This doesn’t always mean your entire potential audience. The campaign’s goals will guide you in identifying who you should be targeting. For example, if one of your campaign goals is to grow the number of women between the ages of 21 and 35 in your customer base, you don’t even need to think about the target audience since it’s written directly in one of your goals. Try to make your target audience as specific as possible and write a brief explanation of “why?” for the target audience(s) that you identify. Does your target audience choose price over quality? Does your target audience hold certain moral or philosophical beliefs? These are all things to consider when building out your target audience(s) for your integrated marketing campaign.
The third part of the preparation stage is figuring out your budget. Avoid using ranges for budgets and instead, be as specific as possible. Do you have an overall annual marketing budget? Figure out what percentage of that budget you want to apply to your integrated campaign.
Now that you have a budget identified, it’s time to look at what channels to use in your campaign and why. Potential channels include search engines, websites/blog, video platforms, organic social media, paid social media, public relations and earned media, word of mouth, loyalty programs, printed materials, television, radio, and more. The key here is to make sure that there is a close tie with each channel and how you plan to utilize it and also a close tie to your goals, your target audience, and your budget.
The final part of preparation is determining a time frame for your campaign. Is this a year-long effort? Does it only need to run for 60 days? Identify the specific time frame for your campaign and write an explanation as to why that time frame is in line with your budget, your target audience, and your goals.
Executing An Integrated Marketing Campaign
Now that you have clearly defined goals, specific target audience(s), a clear budget, and all the channels you want to use in your campaign along with an explanation for how each will be used in tandem with each other to accomplish the goals. It’s now time to build everything!
The root of any successful integrated marketing campaign is having a consistent brand. If your business doesn’t have a strict set of brand guidelines or a brand platform to work off, it might be a good idea to start there before attempting an integrated campaign. Look at your brand’s values and core beliefs to see if any of them can be used in the messaging for your campaign.
Write a creative brief that includes your brand guidelines and brand voice/personality that will need to be followed along with any specifications for each channel. Your brief should be clear enough that a designer or copywriter who is unfamiliar with your brand can create the necessary materials that will work in your campaign. If you will be developing the materials yourself, this step is still very helpful as a reference to help inspire you and keep you on track.
If you plan to publish and place all of the materials yourself, there are a lot of resources out there that can help make it easier. For example, if you have never placed an ad with Google Ads before, Google’s help section has lots of helpful information that can guide you to success. Another option is to hire an agency to help you with the creation, placement and publishing of materials.
Measuring Marketing Campaign Success
Alright, so your campaign is running! Excellent! Now what? It’s time to keep track of how the campaign is performing. Remember when we talked about making sure that your goals are measurable? Well, this is where that will come in handy! Google Analytics provides many of the resources you will need to measure and track most of your goals, even the ones that might not relate directly to digital marketing channels. If one of your goals relates to e-commerce sales, make sure that e-commerce tracking is enabled and configured when launching your campaign so that you can see revenue and conversion data within Google Analytics. The goal of measuring your goal performance is to see where adjustments need to be made to messaging, creative, placements, budget allocation, etc. By staying on top of the performance of your goals throughout the campaign, you will greatly improve your chances of success.
Another purpose for measurement is to determine goals and strategies for your next campaign. If one channel performed poorly in your previous campaign, it might make sense to consider not including it in your next campaign. Maybe the detailed results of your integrated marketing campaign will help you to request a budget increase for the next campaign.
Businesses today have a slew of resources and platforms to use for marketing. Having an integrated approach will help to specify what you are trying to accomplish and will create a cohesive message for attracting new customers and retaining existing customers.