Integrated Marketing. Holistic Marketing. Coordinated Marketing.
Whatever you want to call it, the basic idea is the same-coordinating your marketing message between your print and digital advertising, billboards, commercials, and social media. Your messaging across everything should be consistent.
The Internet now poses a unique and different challenge to business owners. It is the only medium that has multiple different marketing channels–social media channels (YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), online advertising (banners, pop ups, impression vs clicks), website, email, blogging…and the list does not end there. But how does this work with your printed marketing?
It’s important to create an integrated marketing communications (IMC) strategy. And even more important to keep the message and “feel” consistent across every marketing channel you participate with.
But where do you begin with creating an IMC strategy? Many people know, usually from learning the hard way, that what works with print advertising does not usually work with online advertising, and vice versa.
While there is no perfect formula for creating a perfect IMC strategy, we do know some basic steps to follow that will help you coordinate all of your marketing efforts:
- Know your target audience. We can not emphasize how important it is to know your target audience. You can’t just assume you know what they think. Sometimes you can have two–a primary and secondary–and that is common. Identify who this audience is by both demographic and psychographic (behaviors, attitudes, interests, etc.) attributes. This will help develop the best message and marketing channel to reach them. Ask yourself and your team these questions: Who are your target customers? What are their motivations? How do they like being communicated to? Which newspapers or magazines do they read and which sites do they visit regularly? Which channels are they using? If they’re using social media, what are they talking about?
- Pick your marketing channels. Not everyone needs a billboard. Not every business needs to be on Facebook. Evaluate each potential marketing channels’ strengths and weaknesses. Will they help you reach your business objectives? Be ruthless in selecting (or sometimes rejecting) channels. It’s better to concentrate on the more effective channels than to be everywhere all the time.
- Have a consistent look and feel. Make sure your visual identity is consistent across the channels you choose. This goes far beyond your logo. Everything needs to have an overarching design, style of photography and graphics, consistent logo treatment, colors, and fonts. If everything looks the same, customers and prospects will be able to quickly identify your marketing channels when they see it and directly relate them to your brand.
- Develop clear and consistent content that can be easily adapted to different media or channels. It takes more than 5 impressions before a person will recognize a brand or specific message. That’s why there are three Cs to follow when creating content to make sure you are remembered sooner. Content needs to be clear (not confusing or filled with too many words or phrases), compelling (interesting to the reader), and consistent (regardless of the channel). Also, every piece of content you develop (blog, case study, article, or video) needs to be able to be used in as many of your channels as possible. For example, if you write a case study, you can tweet informational tidbits from the piece, post on LinkedIn or Facebook, promote your study or a nugget in your print ads, or pitch it to a publication.
- Ensure your messaging is integrated. Each element of your marketing campaign across all channels needs to drive traffic to an ultimate target. Perhaps this is a website (to make reservations, subscribe to a newsletter, or read a blog), a social media page (for engagement), or your retail location (redeem coupons, make purchases).
- Keep your marketing teams/agencies working together. If you have multiple people working on multiple projects, miscommunication and incorrect messaging is bound to happen. Host weekly meetings to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.
- Track. Track. Track! This is the most important aspect of any marketing campaign. You need to be able to properly analyze your methods and understand how you are achieving the results.
Creating a 360 marketing strategy is vitally important to small businesses. We all need to reach our target audience(s), and need to do so in a manner that falls inline with budgets, and is effective.
To learn about how you can integrate your other marketing channels with printed advertising, contact us.