What is Integrated Marketing?
Integrated marketing is a strategic plan that utilizes various mediums and platforms to spread a marketing message. For example, companies run their ads on various channels including print, social media, radio, and tv spots, rather than focusing on just one medium. This way, their message reaches a larger audience and has a greater chance at bringing awareness to the brand. Later on in this post, we will explore the various channels available to pick from when developing and implementing an Integrated Marketing Campaign. Integrated Marketing Campaigns are also referred to as IMCs, a title which will also be used throughout this blog post.
What is the Goal of Integrated Marketing?
The overarching goal of running an IMC is to move consumers through the marketing funnel. As you target a certain audience, their awareness of the brand and interest in it expands. Though people may start out as never having heard of your product/service before, with the right kind of strategic marketing, they can move to becoming customers and even brand ambassadors (if you play your cards right).
So, what are the stages of a marketing funnel?
This image from https://www.rialtomarketing.com/everything-need-know-marketing-funnels/ perfectly illustrates the five stages which marketers must lead consumers through.
Let’s break the funnel down and explore each of these stages in depth:
Step 1: Awareness
A person enters the Marketing Funnel when they are first introduced to your brand. This is the awareness stage. In this stage, consumers may not give it any thought or form an opinion of your brand yet, but they have seen or heard about it which will lead them down the funnel later on.
Step 2: Consideration
The next stage of the funnel is consideration, which happens when their awareness turns into curiosity and they are actually considering investing in your product.Consumers in the consideration stage will be clicking on the ads which you originally targeted them with in the awareness stage, spending more time on your site, and googling product reviews. This shift in the consumer’s interest in your brand requires a shift in the type of marketing. In this stage, marketers should hit consumers with more specific retargeting ads that provide more details and incentives than the ads which they saw in the awareness stage. Offering promotions, deals, and discounts is a great marketing tactic for the consideration stage to move them into conversion.
Step 3: Conversion
Conversion is the critical phase in which consumers decide to purchase or pass. This decision will be greatly impacted by how well you targeted them while they were in the consideration phase. If they like the brand and see a potential benefit of purchasing, they will become customers which you can continue to process through the rest of the funnel. If they do not, they will lose interest and likely leave the funnel all together. You may be able to bring these consumers back into the funnel later down the road (starting from square one), but for now, they may cancel your ads all together.
Step 4: Loyalty
The loyalty stage is all about maintaining interest and customer-satisfaction. Some marketers think their work is done after the first purchase in the conversion stage, but this assumption will cost them returning customers. In order to make sure people come back for more, you must keep them engaged and show them that you value their business. Rather than spamming them with ads like you may have in the awareness and consideration stages, loyalty is more about having them subscribe to monthly emails and offering them “insider’s rewards”.
Step 5: Advocacy
Loyalty is fantastic, but you can take it one step further. The last stage of the funnel is all about helping your loyal customers become advocates for the brand. We already know they like your brand, now it’s time to make them love it enough to share it. Advocates will tell their friends about it and share about their purchases on social media. To encourage this behavior, Marketers may offer deals like “refer a friend” or “share this to your story for 20% off your next purchase”. Ultimately, advocates are like unpaid advertisers who are bringing their friends into your funnel. And from here, you’re back at awareness with a whole new batch of people who can then move down to the advocacy stage as well and bring in their friends. It’s a cycle!
When deciding how best to lead consumers down the marketing funnel, you must pick the right channels to target them on. This is why using an integrated model is most beneficial.
Marketing Channels to Choose From
This list includes, but is not limited to, various channels to choose from when developing an Integrated Marketing Campaign:
Magazines, flyers in the mail, newspapers, posters in shop windows, etc.
Though they may sound old-school, print ads are a sure way to grab attention and move consumers into the awareness stage. Targeting your target audience’s favorite magazines is a sure way to get seen.
Out of Home
Bus wraps, street murals, public art installation, billboards, etc.
If developed creatively, your Out of Home ads could be the most interesting, eye-catching, and memorable things consumers see while they are out and about. This is another sure way to bring awareness to your brand.
Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, YouTube, etc.
Social Media is a great platform for marketing at any stage listed above but is especially beneficial in the consideration and conversion stages because it allows you as the marketer to track how the ad is performing. How many views is it getting? Which consumers are clicking on the link? Unlike the channels listed above, social media is trackable and generates clear stats about your campaign’s effectiveness.
Commercial spots on cable, Hulu/ Netflix Pre-roll, etc.
You’ve probably heard that the best part of the Superbowl is the commercials… So if you’re wondering if running TV ads is effective, just ask Geico and big-brand names who have been using this platform for decades.
Local radio channels, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, etc.
A good script and voice over aired over the right channel is an effective way to drive awareness for any brand.
Email is great for the loyalty and advocacy stages of the funnel because it allows companies to offer promotions directly to current customers.
Now that we’ve covered the definition, goals, and ways to implement an Integrated Marketing Campaign, you should be all set on your way to developing your very own IMC!
Planning to work in marketing? Review these must-haves for your career.