How to Build an Integrated Marketing Campaign
What is Integrated Marketing?
The main idea is that integrated marketing is a strategy to get all your marketing channels to work together on one unified campaign.
Remember, this only applies for the course of the campaign, not forever — Coke’s Share a Coke campaign and Old Spice’s Smell Like a Man campaign were splashed on every channel for a while, but they gave way to new products and focuses. The point is that when you launch a campaign that highlights a new product, a new service, a rebrand, or some other major company message, that campaign should dominate your messaging no matter where it is.
Over time, your company is going to go through a lot of different messaging. That’s normal, and everyone hops from campaign to campaign — we haven’t heard “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” in decades. What’s important is that you’re not putting out a different message at the same time.
When companies do this wrong, you’ll notice. They’ll talk about their pricing in one ad, their scalability in another, and their features in a third. It’s impossible to boil down exactly what they’re trying to say because they’re saying so many different things, so their message gets lost in the shuffle. When someone asks, “Why does Company X want me to buy their product?” the answer should be clear.
Building an Integrated Marketing Campaign
So now that you’re refreshed on what integrated marketing is, it’s time to start building a campaign. A campaign is a long-term strategy, so you shouldn’t be doing this often. A given campaign should last at least six weeks, but some last years and cement themselves in the national consciousness:
- Apple’s Get a Mac (remember “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC”?)
- Nike’s Just Do It
- Dove’s Real Beauty
- The Marlboro Man
- Got Milk?
- De Beers’ A Diamond is Forever
- Dos Equis’ The Most Interesting Man in the World
The length of a campaign will depend on what you’re trying to accomplish with it. If you’re launching a new product, it doesn’t make sense to keep pushing that product a year after launch. If you’re rebranding your whole company, it might take a long time to alter your public perception. Regardless of the length of your campaign, you’ll set it up the same way.
Start with Campaign Goals
As we mentioned a second ago, there are a lot of different reasons to launch a marketing campaign. You might be launching a new product or expanding into a new market. You might be rebranding your company or trying to call attention to a little-known aspect of what you do. You might want to increase awareness, engagement, or conversions.
These aren’t the same as your company goals in general, though they should probably be aligned. Keep your campaign goals specific — each campaign should be focused on one goal at a time. You might be trying to increase sales in general while also launching a new product, but those need to be different campaigns.
Keep Your Goals SMART
You’ve probably heard this acronym before, but it’s a great idea, so we’ll go over it again. SMART goals are:
- Specific: don’t make vague goals; use specific language and measurables so that you know when you’ve hit them.
- Measurable: assign numbers to your goals. “Increase website traffic” isn’t a measurable goal — “increase traffic by 25 percent” is.
- Attainable: if your blog traffic went up by five percent last month, don’t set a goal to increase it by 25 percent this month. Instead, pick something more realistic, like eight percent.
- Relevant: every business is different, and it’s up to you to pay attention to the goals that will actually make you better. If you get most of your business from paid search ads, it probably doesn’t make much sense to put all your efforts into a new social media channel.
- Time-bound: set yourself deadlines. If you’re trying to raise blog traffic by five percent, how long do you think that should take? Five percent in a month is very different from five percent in a year.
You don’t absolutely have to structure your goals this way. SMART goals are more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules. But your goals are much more likely to be successful if they’re clear.
Choose the Right KPIs
KPIs are Key Performance Indicators — the measurable results that you choose to determine whether you’re actually doing better than you did before. The KPIs that matter to your company and your campaign will depend on what you’re prioritizing, and that’s fine — what matters is that you lay them out ahead of time. For example:
- Top content
- Lead generation
As long as you stick to the KPIs that you select at the beginning of the campaign, you’ll have a good sense of whether your integrated marketing strategy is having the results you wanted.
Finally, never forget about sales. Sales are not the primary goal in every campaign, but obviously sales are what keeps the lights on. You should try to predict how the campaign will affect your bottom line, even if that prediction is that you’ll lose money.
Choose Your Channels
Part of the difficulty of modern marketing is that there are simply so many channels to pay attention to. If you have the marketing budget of Coca-Cola, you can probably cast a wide net over every channel out there. If you don’t (and we feel comfortable guessing that you don’t), you’ll have to be more judicious about the channels you put money into.
Finding the Right Channels
It’s all about meeting your audience where they are. Facebook used to be the universal social media platform, but that’s shifting — usage among Generation Z and Millennials is way down on Facebook in recent years.
You should also consider how your product fits the platform. If you sell database software, for example, it’s probably not the sexiest thing to look at (no offense), so a visual medium like Pinterest or Instagram probably isn’t the best use of your time. If your brand doesn’t fit the professional set, don’t bother with LinkedIn. And so on. Consider the right combination of channels for your product and your audience. Here are some of your options:
- Advertising (in many forms)
- Direct marketing
- Personal selling
- Sales promotions
- Digital Marketing
- Social media
- Events and sponsorships
- Defining Buyer Personas
A buyer persona is an idealized version of your perfect customer. It should include their preferences, browsing habits, buying habits, income, age, location, and any other factors that might be relevant to your business.
It’s worth your while to define buyer personas for each of the channels you’re planning to market on — the people who frequent your Facebook page will overlap with the people who subscribe to your email list, but they won’t be exactly the same people, so you’ll need to know the difference. It might even behoove you to create segments within each channel — for example, if you have several notably different subscription levels for your product, you’ll probably have to segment your emails for each level.
Identify Channel Managers
Your next step will be to figure out who’s in charge of each channel. We’ll get your first idea out of the way — no, you can’t manage all these channels with one person. Depending on the size of your company and your audience, you might not even be able to manage each channel with one person.
You’ll need to work out before you start who’s in charge of each channel and how their duties overlap. Is the person posting to Facebook in charge of responding to comments, or do you have a separate person handling feedback on all channels? Is the person responsible for creating emails also in charge of scheduling and publishing? You’ll need clear communication between all your channel managers and content creators to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.
Finally, it’s time for execution.
Creating content is the cornerstone of any integrated marketing campaign — the best strategic planning in the world will be meaningless if you can’t create the content that actually puts your message out there.
Your content can take a myriad of different forms:
- Blogs: the core of any content marketer’s strategy, a blog is how you keep your customers interested and keep search traffic coming into your website. Blog posts that are tailored to the kind of search terms your customers prioritize are the best way to bring in viewers.
- Videos: videos are more engaging and more memorable than practically any other kind of content, which can make them well worth the extra time and effort required to create them
- Infographics: halfway between a text-heavy blog post and a time-intensive video, an infographic can add a bit of visual flair to otherwise dry data
- Case studies: when a potential customer is giving your product serious consideration, they’ll want to know for sure that you can solve their problem. A case study of the work you’ve done for previous customers can give them that confidence.
- Whitepapers and Pillar Pages: think of these as long-form blog posts designed to tell readers everything they need to know about a specific topic. Sort of like the one you’re reading now.
- User-generated content: getting your customers involved in your marketing is an excellent strategy. People like to be heard, and new customers like to see the opinions of their peers. This means sharing and repurposing social posts, testimonials, reviews, and other UGCs to make their voices heard.
Your content should focus on versatility and adaptability — if you recall, one of the major advantages of integrated marketing is that you can reuse your content, so you should be creating content with that in mind. Every piece of content that you make should work on multiple platforms so you can get the most mileage out of your work.
Don’t forget about lead capture, either. As with revenue, lead capture isn’t the explicit goal of every campaign, but it’s certainly not something you want to pass up.
Any chance for your campaign on a given channel to capture a lead that might turn into a customer is a good thing, so plan ahead.
First, what does lead capture look like on each channel? On your website, it might be as simple as filling in a form or signing up for your newsletter. On a social media post, you might define a lead as someone who clicks through to a landing page or follows you on that account. Whatever it is, you need to know how to measure success.
Second, are you set up to capture them? You’ll need some sort of CTA (call-to-action) on every one of your channels, whether it’s a “buy now” button, a link to subscribe, or whatever else you think is fitting.
Finally, what happens to those people after they become leads? You don’t want to attract leads only to let them sit idle without reaching out to them, so you need to have a plan in place for an automated email, sales call, or some other means of contacting leads once they’ve been captured.
Last but not least — you can’t tell if your campaign is working if you’re not tracking all of your metrics. Modern technology has given marketers the ability to monitor any statistic or KPI they might want on intuitive, easy-to-use dashboards and third-party software that rolls it all together.
Not only that, but you can test different iterations of everything you publish. You can make two different Facebook posts or emails with different subject lines and see which one does better, and you should! The more you can learn about what your audience responds to, the better. Keep testing, keep iterating, and keep evolving.