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What is integrated marketing and how does it work?

Integrated marketing: team having a meeting

Key takeaways

  • Integrated marketing involves your business sending a consistent brand message at every customer interaction, on both traditional and digital marketing channels
  • To save time and resources, create digital marketing assets you can repurpose across different channels
  • Track your marketing metrics and optimize your campaign as needed to stay on track and reach your integrated marketing goals

When you want to create a seamless experience for your customers, discrepancies in your brand communications can hold you back. Using different logos on your website and social media pages, or changing your value proposition every quarter, could confuse customers about your business’s identity. Consistency, on the other hand, can help you build a customer experience that feels far more trustworthy and reliable—and it starts with an integrated marketing strategy.

Here’s what you need to know about integrated campaigns and how to create them.

What is integrated marketing?

Integrated marketing is the practice of providing a consistent message on all of your marketing channels, from social media and public relations to email and billboards. It involves aligning every customer interaction (or touchpoint) to offer a brand experience potential customers can depend on.

Integrated marketing communications (IMC) give shoppers the consistency they need to develop brand awareness, which is the ability to recognize your brand. Over time, this can lead to growing trust in your business, long-term brand loyalty, and higher sales revenue. In fact, a consistent brand can boost revenue by 10-20%.

How to build an integrated marketing campaign

Integrated marketing should be an ongoing strategy for your business. Each time you get started on a new campaign, follow these six steps to keep your marketing efforts aligned across all the different channels you’re using.

1. Set your integrated campaign goals

Integrated marketing: entrepreneurs having a meeting

Before you begin building out your campaign, decide exactly what you want to achieve. For example, you might want to drive traffic to your store, increase revenue, or improve the public’s perception of your brand.

Be specific about how you’ll measure the success of your campaign. For instance, if you’re running a sales promotion, you might want to win at least 150 unique purchases as a direct result of your campaign by the time it ends. To that end, identify the most relevant key performance indicators (KPIs), which are quantitative metrics that help you gauge your campaign performance.

2. Identify your target audience

Be clear about who you want to reach with your integrated marketing campaign. Choose a specific segment of your target market your campaign should attract and engage. Identify their unique characteristics, such as their:

  • Demographics (such as age, education level, and income)
  • Location
  • Interests
  • Pain points
  • Goals

Understanding your target audience can help you develop a consistent message that speaks to your ideal customers and persuades them to follow your call to action.

3. Choose your marketing channels

Select the marketing channels that will best help you reach your target audience. You can include a combination of digital media channels, such as email marketing, search engines, online business platforms like Yelp, landing pages, and social media apps like LinkedIn as well as traditional channels like TV ads, events, and direct marketing.

Make sure you have the bandwidth to manage each channel you select. If you’re a small business owner who will be executing the entire campaign alone, it may be best to stick to three or fewer channels instead of spreading yourself too thin.

4. Craft a creative integrated marketing strategy

Next, establish the general approach you want to take with your integrated marketing campaign. Think about what message you want to send. For instance, if a sustainable clothing boutique is launching a new product line, it might want to send the message that its new collection offers long-lasting materials and timeless style.

Then, clarify how you’ll use each marketing channel to promote your message. For example, if the clothing boutique wants to develop a social media marketing plan for its integrated campaign, it can establish that its brand will share:

  • Short-form videos with styling tips three times per week
  • Infographics that break down its smart clothing designs once per week
  • Posts featuring sustainability influencers once per week

Each channel’s strategy should align with your integrated marketing campaign goals. For example, if you want to improve lead generation using Yelp, you can add or claim your Yelp Business Page and communicate directly with interested clients. When potential customers come to your page, they can choose to receive a phone call from you (Request a Call), or they can fill out a request form that includes questions relevant to your business type, their contact information, and details about their needs (Request a Quote).

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5. Create your marketing assets and copy

Once you’ve crafted your integrated marketing strategy, you can start developing the content you want to share. This can include blog posts, images, videos, GIFs, and other content marketing artifacts. As you do this, think more about how you want to express your message on each channel using your brand elements and what visual guidelines you want to follow—for instance, the colors and fonts you want to use.

To save time, make your marketing assets as adaptable as possible. For example, starting with long-form blog content allows you to repurpose clips of text for social media so you don’t have to write captions from scratch. Free design platforms like Canva and Adobe Express can help you automatically resize and adjust graphics for different marketing channels too.

6. Launch and track your campaign

When your marketing materials are ready, you can schedule your integrated marketing campaign to launch. When your campaign goes live, you’ll need to regularly track its performance using the KPIs you identified when setting your goals. This allows you to determine if your metrics are where they need to be. If they aren’t, you’ll be able to take initiative by making proactive changes to your campaign. For example, if your paid ads aren’t generating as many leads per click as you’d like, you can adjust the geographic reach or the details of your target audience to reach more relevant consumers.

Integrated marketing best practices

Employees brainstorming and pointing at sticky notes posted on a wall

To make your integrated marketing campaigns as successful as possible, consider adopting these best practices when you plan, strategize, and launch.

Document your brand guidelines

When you develop your integrated marketing strategy, it’s important to write out clear guidelines for your messaging, voice, tone, and brand elements. As you get closer to launching your campaign, you can regularly refer to this document to determine if your marketing efforts still align with your core strategy. For larger marketing teams, thorough documentation is key to reducing miscommunication and oversights.

Assign a marketing manager to each channel

If you have more than one person on your marketing team, it’s best to assign a manager to each marketing channel. When each person takes ownership over a specific part of your campaign, you can easily follow up on their progress and increase accountability. 

Plus, while your team can collaborate on a big-picture integrated marketing communications strategy, individual team members can dive into the details and become experts on different channels. This is a practical way to reduce your blind spots and launch better integrated marketing campaigns.

Align the rest of your customer experience with your campaign

When an integrated marketing campaign is highly cohesive, its message is supported by every part of the brand experience. For example, if a travel agency claims to offer exciting experiences, its customer support should feel lively (rather than serious or dull), as should the experience itself and any follow-up outreach.

You can also find creative ways to drive people to your campaign by aligning your customer experience. For instance, you can add social media links to your website homepage and email signature.

Launch an integrated marketing campaign that engages your target audience

Integrated marketing is the practice of sending a consistent brand message on every marketing channel you use. Each time customers interact with your brand on different platforms, they should have the same experience. This consistency can increase trust and brand awareness

Start building an integrated campaign strategy by choosing clear goals and target audience members. Then, create assets you can easily repurpose on other channels to save time ahead of your launch.

As you start tracking your metrics and see your company reaching its goals, take the next step to boost consistency in the customer experience. Learn how you can use small business branding to become a business your target market trusts.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.