Back in the day, before the advent of google and the explosion of digital content, marketers had very few channels to work with. Direct mail was a core tool and the complex matrices used to test, test and test against core messages against segmented and targeted lists, was at worst a head scratching mess and at best, close to rocket science. Great then that these principles of providing relevant content are now so core to most fund groups marketing strategies. Or are they? So often we see groups pulling the content handle and cranking out insight after insight, with little regard to the reader, how they read the content and indeed, if they actually want to!
Clearly marketers can’t possibly create individual messages for each individual within an outbound campaign, perhaps with AI in the future this will be possible, but until then, what we can do is understand that all our audiences, be they pension trustees, Advisers, fund selectors or my Mum, are all consumers, who consume multiple messages every day. Our job as marketers is to make sure our message achieves stands-out and gets heard. And this is where integrated marketing comes in.
In my view integrated marketing is not really a strategy, it is simply the logical deployment of your overall marketing effort. But that does not mean it is easy to do – in fact it is much easier to have one ad, one piece of content and then just distribute that everywhere – the classic COPE – create once, publish everywhere. This has been used for years but is now increasingly seen as SPAM. Audiences have become more demanding and more savvy and want to feel like brands are talking to them, rather than just being talked at.
What is often the case, is campaigns and marketing plans are built and executed separately. You will have different teams and even different agencies in charge of press releases, advertising, digital, event and other marketing services. So, whilst everything gets done, the overall strategy and therefore message, is disjointed.
Basically, integrating your marketing is simply about integrating the different promotional tools, media, and materials that you use, so that they work together as a ‘messaging suite’, as opposed to a loose collection of ideas. At its heart it should create the path between all your marketing channels, both online and offline.
All sounds great, but how do you go about creating this great integrated journey? As there is so much theory out there, with little practical application, I have created my own 4-step approach to achieving integrated campaigns:
The four ‘I’s for integration.
- Identify – Take some time to really identify WHAT you want to achieve – with clear and defined objectives and WHO you are targeting. These are critical as they will fundamentally change your media selection. For example, if the objective is to keep customers invested in a specific fund – then you need to develop a retention plan; you don’t need to tell them all about your brand and your values, you need to tell them why they should remain invested.
- Idea – Find your idea – It’s a very noisy market, so there isn’t much that you are going to get your customers to remember about your business or products. The key is to be clear about the ONE message you want your audiences to remember. Often called the ‘single minded message’ – you need to find this before you do anything. If you don’t have a core idea you can end up sending an email with one message, placing an ad with a different message, and post something entirely unrelated on your social media pages. And then wonder why the campaign is not working. It’s because you have thoroughly confused your audience!
Try using a mind-map to really unpack the product, overlay your brand ethos, add in your audience insight and then arrive at your ‘idea’. Its perhaps a little old fashioned, but sometimes the old ways are the best! Get creative and include your wider team. You may be surprised about the results and how many great ideas you all have!
- Invest: Once you have your idea, only now are you ready to build out your campaign and decide what your marketing mix will look like. Don’t try and back engineer a message into media – just because an ad schedule has been booked. Think how the media you choose, can amplify your message. Give your audience enough opportunities to see your message – at a minimum 6 times across all touchpoints. This means that one marketing channel simply won’t be enough.
But also, really think about what media is appropriate for the content/message you are communicating. A massive white paper on a mobile will not be an optimal client experience! I always think about the 2 second, 2 minute, 2 hour rule. How long your audience have to consume your message. So, for a digital ad 2 seconds, an email 2 minutes, and so on.Then really invest the time into developing your campaign plan and project manage it closely. Integration needs to work seamlessly together, so if a deadline is missed in one part of the plan, it may derail the rest. A core component of an integrated plan is to have a continuous stream of marketing output across the duration of the campaign. Getting everyone on board at the start in this planning phase is critical to success.
- Improve. Once you have your plan in play you need to ensure you continually monitor progress and evaluate success. What part of the plan is working better than others, what is not working? Identify what is not working and fix it! Integrated marketing helps to reduce confusion, both internally and externally and can really help to improve your results. Don’t just take it from me: A survey from Gartner Research found that lead management campaigns integrating four or more digital channels outperform single or dual-channel campaigns by 300%. Plus, companies that implemented integrated marketing management saw an increase of 50% on their return on marketing investment (ROMI). Here’s a great infographic to explain more https://www.client-bridge.com/blog/bid/77139/INFOGRAPHIC-Integrated-Marketing
The impressive results you will get from the campaign will help to increase team morale and provide a great case history. But also all the internal integration achieved across the multiple channels will help to upskill the team through shared knowledge, which in turn should help make your marketing department into a well-oiled machine ready to wrestle with the next campaign! So, get integrating!