In 2010, Old Spice decided it was time to break into a potentially lucrative market: body wash. The only problem? Body wash was a decidedly female product. How was Old Spice going to cross the gender barrier and convince its legions of dudes that body wash was a manly scrubbing option? It needed to roll out a major, exciting media blitz.

Even back in the days of 2010, Old Spice knew that it couldn’t just put up a billboard or record a little radio jingle. Its customers imbibed media through a growing multitude of channels. In fact, some of its customers might not even turn on the TV or the radio; instead, they might get their news from Facebook, check out the best late-night clips from YouTube, and hop on to Reddit to see what was trending.

Marketers must communicate with customers wherever those customers are. Across dozens of varied media channels, you must still present your brand and message in a consistent manner that your customers will instantly recognize and relate to. This, in a nutshell, is the power, beauty, and challenge of integrated marketing. 

What Is Integrated Marketing?

You know what would be weird? If Apple suddenly announced that it was launching a clunky phone with only the most basic features at a bargain basement price. That’s because Apple’s brand is all about sleek sophistication. Whether it’s Apple’s computers, phones, music players, or watches, its devices exude posh design and flawless utility that its legions of followers believe are worth paying more for—in fact, they’re happy to do so. Every aspect of Apple’s story and brand reinforces this message, from the sleek design of its products, to their sparse, modern packaging, to their glitzy ads.

Apple, in other words, is exceptionally good at integrated marketing. In Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective, authors George E. Belch and Michael A. Belch define integrated marketing as “an approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumer to interact with the brand/enterprise . . . It is a process designed to ensure that all messaging and communications strategies are consistent across all channels.”

This is another way of saying that if you watch a commercial for the latest iPhone, visit Apple’s Twitter account, or pass an Apple billboard, you’ll get the same message: Apple devices are sleek and cool, and only meant for the more discerning technology consumer.

Why Bother With Integrated Marketing?

As you’ll find out shortly, developing a cohesive and integrated marketing strategy for your business is no easy task. Why, then, go through all the trouble to make sure your brand is speaking with one voice over every media channel?

The answer should be somewhat self-evident. If you want people to take you seriously at work, you dress and present yourself appropriately. That’s because to show that you are professional and mature, every aspect of the way you look, speak, and act has to be in alignment. The same goes for your brand.

Marketing-Schools.org puts it succinctly: “Media fragmentation and exposure have begun to desensitize consumers. Every day, they are hit with such a barrage of advertisements that only the most integrated and consistent brands stand out as memorable.”

A strong branding message will resonate with consumers who have, as a group, gained an almost superhero-like ability to ignore ads that are not relevant to them. In this environment, only the strongest brands make it through the noise to attract their loyal fans.

Though developing an integrated marketing campaign does require a lot of upfront work, the rewards can be big. When planned correctly, integrated marketing gives you more control over your brand’s story and paints a clear picture of your target market. Each piece of marketing, from your Facebook ads to your YouTube videos, and even your product’s packaging works in harmony to amplify your message and attract your customers. That translates into greater visibility, greater customer loyalty, and greater sales.

Not bad, right? Let’s look at the steps you need to follow to create your own integrated marketing campaign.

Get the Buy-In

In order for you to build a successful integrated marketing campaign, you need the major players in your company to support you. We’re not just talking about your ad agency and social media crew. You’ll need to get your sales team, product managers, and packaging designers on board, too. Everything your company produces that eventually reaches the customer must tell the same story, which means all the people and departments that produce those materials must be on the same page.

It’s not enough for you to announce to everyone that they are now part of an integrated marketing model; they need to clearly understand the benefits of integrated marketing and be actively engaged in the process. When the guy who writes your tweets and the woman who creates your television commercials are both working off the same script, you'll get an amazing result.

Know Thy Customer

Before you can tell your story, you need to know who you are telling your story to. Step back and build out your customer profiles and personas, or perhaps take a new look at old profiles that have been gathering dust. In an article about integrated marketing for CIO, Linda Pophal, a marketing communication consultant with Strategic Communications, is quoted: “It’s important to clearly identify [who your target audience is by] both demographic and psychographic (attitudes, interests and behaviors), to help develop key messages and to identify the best communication channels to reach them.”

When Old Spice decided to make a big push for its male body wash, it hired Wieden+Kennedy to oversee the project. When the marketing agency started to dig into the research, they discovered that women actually purchased more than 50 per cent of men’s body washes. It was obvious that if Old Spice wanted to up its market share, it needed to sell the concept of body wash to men and women. In a write-up about the campaign, the agency explained, “This dual audience was a first for the brand, a strategic choice that we ultimately hoped would encourage the ladies to buy Old Spice for their guys.”

Create Your Story

With your customer clearly in mind, it’s time to tell them a compelling story about your brand. What makes your brand better than your competitors? How will it absolutely transform the lives of your customers? Whatever story you write needs to be THE story you tell across all of your media channels.

Think of Apple. Its story is pretty simple: It creates beautiful, useful, and intuitive technology for consumers who want the very best. Owning an Apple product shows that you care about the quality of your devices and don’t just buy what works well enough or was on sale when you walked into Best Buy. This is the story Apple has successfully and consistently shared with the public.

The creatives hired by Old Spice hit marketing gold with the “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” marketing campaign. The story was, “A crusader against ‘lady-scented’ body wash, his suave, charismatic ways appealed to both sexes… and his ‘look at your man, now back to me’ dialogue practically forced a conversation between ladies and their guys.”

Tell Your Story

Now it’s time to tell your story to the world. That means determining the best channels to find your audience and spread your message. The key to an integrated marketing strategy is to show a consistent message on every platform, one that will be instantly recognizable to your audience and that will echo all of your important touchpoints. In other words, your website should have the same feel—should tell the same story—as the videos on your YouTube page and the television ads you create. That doesn’t mean you need to say the exact same thing on every single platform. Marketing-Schools.org highlights this point, writing, “Integrated marketing campaigns of the 21st century aren’t just mirrors of the same advertisement being repeated over different media platforms. Instead, each platform contributes to a larger branding story.”

Old Spice found this balance with its “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” campaign. It started by teasing the concept on its YouTube and Facebook pages a few days before the 2010 Super Bowl and then launching its quirky, humor-filled commercial the day after the big game. The company’s marketing agency wrote, “On the heels of this success, we challenged ourselves to engage with his audience on a more intimate level. Could ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ literally have a conversation with his fans?”

The answer was yes: Old Spice developed a two-and-a-half day “Response” campaign that allowed fans to ask the commercial’s charismatic spokesperson questions. They then taped 186 personalized messages from the actor and posted it on their YouTube page. Across multiple channels, Old Spice encouraged men and women to talk men’s body wash.

Track Your Results

Like any marketing campaign, an integrated marketing campaign needs to be thoroughly tracked and measured. Dylan Whitman, the cofounder of Brand Value Accelerator agrees, noting, “The most important aspect of any campaign, and most especially integrated campaigns, is putting the proper analytics and attribution methods in place to really understand how you’re achieving conversions and/or results.”

Tracking your results ensures you know whether or not your campaign is achieving its goals on a broad level and whether each spoke in your marketing wheel is doing its job. If you notice, for example, that your website bounce rate is high, perhaps the site isn’t telling the same story as the rest of your marketing materials or isn’t adapting the message in the right way.

So how did the Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” campaign perform? On day one, the campaign snagged 5.9 million views on YouTube. By day two, it ranked as one of the top 11 most popular video spots on YouTube. Twitter followers increased by 2,700 per cent, Facebook fan interactions jumped 800 per cent, and website traffic went up by 300 per cent. Success piled on success, and thanks to a lot of free publicity, the campaign enjoyed 1.7 billion total impressions across traditional and online media outlets. And seven months after the campaign debuted, sales of Old Spice Red Zone body wash had more than doubled from the previous year.

While you might not exactly hit it out of the stratosphere like Old Spice, an integrated marketing campaign CAN make a big, positive difference to your bottom line. Make sure you have the right tools to accurately measure your results, including analytics capabilities that let you automate a personalized marketing experience for each customer.

Time to Start Integrating Your Marketing

Your company may not be as big as Apple or Old Spice, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a strong integrated marketing campaign. Even if your marketing department is just one person, you can still deliver a focused, consistent message across every marketing channel you use. Integrated marketing works on every scale, helping you create a cohesive message wherever your customers are.

To read our report on the state of marketing, from integrated marketing to beyond, you can find our 2016 State of Marketing Research Report here.

 

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