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A complete guide to integrated marketing communications (with examples)

What Is Integrated Marketing? Definition, Tips and Examples

Marketers today face the challenge of information overload: with dozens of different channels to choose from and new forms of digital marketing emerging all the time, it can be tricky to cut through the clutter to directly reach an audience.

Consumers, too, have endless branded ads to sift through day after day. That makes reaching and engaging them more involved than simply creating a website and social media accounts and waiting for customers to find them. If you’re restricted by a budget when it comes to promoting your website or business, this becomes even more challenging.

That’s where integrated marketing comes in. With integrated marketing communications, brands can relay their messages across various channels in a way that’s engaging, consistent and doesn’t break the budget. Let’s take a closer look at what it means, how you can create your own integrated marketing strategy and some examples of how other brands have done it right.

What is integrated marketing?

Integrated marketing is a strategic approach for promoting your products or services in a consistent way across multiple channels and touch points. The goal is to ensure that all marketing efforts work together to create a cohesive and impactful experience for your consumer.

Integrated marketing may involve a variety of channels including online ads, social media marketing, direct marketing, PR or even TV commercials. By grouping your marketing ideas into one campaign or coordinated effort, you can enjoy an easier time generating leads and creating a strong brand identity.

Discover more types of marketing: Digital marketing, Affiliate marketing

Integrated marketing communications offer a unified, cross-channel experience

Key elements of integrated marketing

In a nutshell, integrated marketing typically strives to achieve a few things:

  • Consistent brand messaging in which your messaging on one channel isn't wildly different from your messaging on another. This applies to everything from your brand voice to your core values. This makes it similar to mass marketing too.

  • Coordinated marketing efforts that involve various types of content and marketing channels, giving you multiple ways to reach your consumers.

  • Customer-centric approach in which your customers' needs come first and guides your strategy.

  • Data-driven decision making, which means that you're not relying on gut feeling but rather letting real-time and historical data inform your decisions.

  • Cross-channel collaboration in which your team members are working together to establish a unified front.

How to develop a winning integrated marketing strategy

It’s important that you develop a strategy before implementing integrated marketing for your brand. You’ll need to plan out certain aspects in advance, such as getting to know your audience and choosing which marketing channels to focus on. Here’s how you can get started.

01. Pin down your campaign goal

You probably have a reason for seeking out a new marketing strategy right now. Maybe you’re launching a new product, rebranding or trying to reach a new audience. Whatever your reasoning is, you’ll need to set your goal in order to be able to build an efficient integrated marketing strategy.

This reason will point you towards your goal. For example, if you have a new product, your goal might be to make consumers more aware of it and drive conversions. Knowing what you want as your end result will help you build your integrated marketing communications more effectively. It will also help you define key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your progress, and to identify when you need to make a pivot.

Define the goal of your campaign to built a cohesive strategy

02. Get to know your target audience

For a strategy that's based on communication and building a relationship with your audience, getting to know our audience at a deep level is imperative. A good place to start is to build a buyer persona that, together with your campaign goal, will steer you in the right direction. To do so, begin by answering some of these questions:

  • Who is in the target demographic? (Be specific, look at data like gender, age, location, and interests)

  • What’s important to my target audience?

  • What is the problem they are looking to solve?

  • Which platforms do they use the most?

  • How do these people prefer to communicate with the brand?

Depending on the goal of your integrated marketing campaign, you might want to tweak your buyer persona to be unique to each channel and consider market segmentation. At this stage, it also helps to map out the customer journey to the best of your ability. Use the data at your fingertips—such as Wix Analytics—to track the current behaviors and entry points of your existing customers. Start developing a hypothesis around the value of each marketing channel, and how individual touch points work together to convert your customers over time.

Along the same lines, plan a way to proactively re-engage leads across channels. Determine at which points you should be sending them product offers as opposed to educational materials (as an example), and in what formats.

03. Define your brand’s unique selling proposition

Your unique selling position is what sets your business apart from the competition. When it comes to developing your marketing integration strategy, learning where your brand stands in the market will allow you to pinpoint unique areas to focus your campaign.

Take your time performing competitive research, talking with your customers and consulting your team to understand where your brand shines. Find proof to back up your claims. For example, if one of your brand's pillars involves selling ethically sourced products—list out how you're doing this (e.g., "locally grown products"), as well as any social proof (e.g., any sustainability certifications you've earned).

This ensures that your messaging has substance. From here, you can look to create a brand messaging doc or other guidelines that can be used by all of your team members, no matter which channel they manage.

04. Outline your marketing communication methods

Your marketing communication method dictates how and where you’re distributing your campaign. A common mistake is to start by choosing which channels to focus on before outlining why they're important or validating that they matter to your audience.

As you address this stage of your marketing plan, ask yourself:

  • Where do your customers spend their time? Going back to your audience research, which channels—online or offline—are a majority of your customers already using? Consider whether your brand is missing out by not being present or more active on these channels.

  • What channels are already valuable to you? What channels have worked for you in previous campaigns? Do you have more experience with one channel over another? It can be helpful to start with channels that you're already familiar with, and to use them as a baseline for newer channels.

  • What is the goal of each channel? Every marketing channel should have a defined purpose. Avoid taking a spray and pray approach, and instead, know why you're choosing to engage on those channels and how you plan on tracking success.

05. Decide who owns which channels

As you're coordinating your multichannel marketing efforts, you'll want to appoint clear channel managers. This ensures that all channels are accounted for, and that someone on your team is specifically responsible for becoming an expert on each channel.

Trends and behaviors are changing all the time—so your channel managers should find ways to stay up to date, plus measure success. They should additionally monitor activity on their respective channels, ensuring that any content that goes out jives with your branding guidelines.

06. Build reusable assets

Arm your team with messaging docs, graphics, videos, blog posts—or even templates—to help spread brand awareness across all channels. Keep in mind that one asset can be repurposed in multiple ways. For example, a three-minute YouTube video could be cut into shorter soundbites for Instagram, X or other social media channels. That same video could be converted into an audio file, or embedded and quoted in a blog post.

Similarly, a blog post could be turned into a video, presentation or downloadable e-book. The idea: work smarter, not harder. Rather than developing unique assets for every single channel, see what you can reuse from other channels.

Better yet, identify and repurpose your top-performing assets. See how behaviors vary across platforms or audiences and use that to inform your future decisions.

07. Set and analyze metrics

The goals you set initially will help determine the metrics you follow throughout your campaign. For example, you might look at social media brand mentions, website conversion rate, or an increase in engagement.

When using multiple channels, you should analyze the results from each separately to gain an accurate picture of how your campaign is performing on different platforms. The metrics for each platform might be different as well, so you’ll likely need to set multiple KPIs to accurately measure the results of your integrated marketing communications.

This step doesn’t only need to be done after your campaign is released, but can be tracked throughout in order to test different messaging and determine areas for improvement. Analyzing your campaign’s results will not only help you strengthen its performance, but also teach you how to optimize similar ones in the future.

Use channel analytics to asses your campaign performance across different platforms

5 successful integrated marketing campaigns

Sometimes the best way to learn is to see how others have done it before you. Check out these iconic marketing campaigns for inspiration.

Geico: The Gecko

Geico used a common mispronunciation of its brand’s name and ran with it, using an anthropomorphic gecko in its ads. This is a good example of how to get creative with integrated marketing.

Geico did more than just using the same tone or aesthetic, it created a mascot that relayed the brand’s story and message, all while using humor to draw people in. The campaign paid off, and resulted in a sales boom for Geico between 2002 and 2007, rendering it the fastest-growing auto insurance brand.

GoPro: Be a Hero Campaign

In order to advertise its durable action Hero cameras, GoPro launched the ‘Be a Hero’ campaign that turned its users into brand ambassadors. People submitted user-generated content like footage of themselves using their cameras doing everything from extreme sports to everyday things, like swimming in a pool.

GoPro used the “Be a Hero” messaging across multiple channels: in TV ads, on billboards, social media, and in digital communications. The campaign resonated with so many since it evoked the idea that with a GoPro camera, anyone could be a hero, an idea that helped the brand reach a whole new audience.

Domino’s: AnyWare Campaign

To draw attention to how easy it is to order a pizza from Domino’s, the company launched its ‘AnyWare’ campaign, which allowed customers to order via text, tweet and even on smart devices like watches, TVs, and voice-activated AI devices like Alexa. In order to do this, customers had to set up a pizza preference profile online to ease quick ordering.

Domino’s used integrated marketing to push this campaign on social media, TV ads, and press releases with the goal of driving traffic to its website to learn more about quick ordering. The pizza giant set a goal of having half of all its orders placed digitally, which it readily achieved through this campaign.

Dove: Campaign for Real Beauty

What started as a study on how women and society perceive female beauty ended up as a global campaign that helped redefine a brand. Dove began by releasing billboard ads asking people to text in a vote whether the women portrayed in the ads were beautiful or not. This extended into similar marketing messages on viral videos, TV commercials, print ads, and social media.

Dove went from a simple soap company to a brand that became synonymous with body positivity, making it a great example of how to use integrated marketing to rebrand. With this one campaign, Dove managed not only to spark a conversation and repurpose its brand but also increased its sales from $2.5 billion to $4 billion in the 10 years following its release.

OldSpice: Smell Like a Man

Another example of a company rebranding itself, Old Spice’s original The Man Your Man Could Smell Like commercial gained so much momentum that the brand launched it into an entire campaign. The 30-second TV ad was being shared so much on social media that Old Spice decided to run with it by creating more similar ads along with interactive videos on social media.

The company also rebranded its website, product packaging, voice, and messaging to reflect this new campaign that resonated so strongly with its audience. This resulted in millions of online video views, increased engagement, and doubling sales less than a year after the campaign launched.

Key benefits of integrated marketing techniques

Using an integrated marketing approach is effective in more ways than one, as there are significant advantages to unifying your brand messaging on all channels as opposed to running entirely unique campaigns on each one.

  • Cost-effective: When searching for new marketing strategies, the first question you’re likely to run into is whether it is effective and affordable. Integrated marketing is actually likely to be more cost-effective since you’re creating content that can be used for multiple purposes across several platforms. Not only that, but some integrated marketing campaigns rely on user-generated content, which can also help drive your costs down while increasing efficiency and engagement.

  • Builds brand relationships: A key purpose of integrated marketing is to form a relationship with the customer. This approach helps promote awareness and trust by being reliable in the messaging you deliver across all your channels. Your audience will slowly start to recognize your brand wherever it appears, and by being consistent with your brand experience, they’ll also grow to trust your messaging.

  • Creates cohesion: As consumers, we like things that fit together nicely. By running multiple unrelated campaigns simultaneously on your different channels, you’re presented with a disjointed picture of your brand. Consumers are already exposed to endless information every day, so instead of throwing another five different campaigns at them, present them with one that spans across the board to ensure you don’t overwhelm their attention span.

Common challenges of integrated marketing (and how to address them)

As you seek to recreate some of the examples from above, keep your eyes peeled for these common pitfalls.

  • Misalignment in priorities: Coordinating efforts across various marketing channels and team members can be challenging. Each channel owner might have different priorities, timelines and approaches, which can lead to conflicts and misalignment. To avoid this, make sure to set a common campaign goal that stretches across all channels.

  • Inconsistency in messaging: Try as you might, there's always a chance that your messaging gets confused across multiple channels. Even slight variations in messaging can dilute the intended brand image and confuse consumers. To avoid this, create clear guidelines and establish a primary point of contact if anyone has questions.

  • Difficulty juggling multiple channels: Integrated marketing may require investing in a wider range of marketing channels and platforms. Allocating resources effectively across these channels can be challenging, especially for smaller businesses with limited budgets. To avoid this, don't bite off more than you can chew. It's better to have fewer channels that you can devote more time into mastering than to have too many channels to stay on top of.

  • Difficulty integrating data: Combining data from various sources and channels to gain a comprehensive view of customer interactions can be difficult. That's why you'll want to make sure to use a platform like Wix, where you can manage multiple channels (such as your website, emails and social media) in one place.

  • Challenges measuring ROI: Determining the exact contribution of each channel to overall success can be challenging. From the get-go, you'll want to be extra specific about your goals per each channel and define the analytics tools (plus KPIs) that will help track performance.

Integrated marketing plan example

To help you get your integrated marketing campaign off the ground, we've put together this simple template for your business. It can be edited and adapted for your own specific needs.

Executive summary

Briefly summarize the key points of your marketing plan, including goals, target audience, strategies and budget. Include a heading and section for each one of these. Make sure to start with the broader ones, like goals and then narrow down to the more detailed ones, like budget.

Market analysis

To fill these in you'll need to do the following:

  • Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats faced by your business.

  • Identify your main competitors and analyze their marketing strategies strengths, and weaknesses. This research should help you improve your own plan.

  • Define your ideal customers, including their demographics, interests, pain points and buying behavior.

  • Identify relevant market trends in your industry to inform your marketing strategies and planning.

Marketing goals

Define the specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals for your integrated marketing efforts.

Examples of goals:

  • Increase website traffic by 20% in the next quarter

  • Generate 100 leads per month through social media

  • Achieve a 15% conversion rate for online sales

Marketing strategies

  • Create and distribute valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and engage your target audience.

  • Build a strong and engaged presence on relevant social media platforms

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