How to Create a Successfully Integrated Marketing Strategy
Seems like everyone these days pit traditional and modern against each other like they are mortal enemies. E-books vs Physical Books. Television vs Streaming. Digital vs Print. The story stays the same and the logic is simple. Modern technology is slowly but steadily changing the way we live and the traditional’s relevance is shrinking. Or is it?
As a marketer, you know that the rise of e-commerce and online businesses is due to the fact that the internet has become an integral part of everyone’s lives. People are spending way more time logged into their social media accounts or browsing articles presented by search engines. Perhaps you’ve even considered decreasing your traditional marketing strategies or even cutting it altogether to focus on online advertising.
Active social media users have increased by 10% (Jan 2015 vs Jan 2016)
It’s a valid, understandable, and in some cases, necessary thought. However, if your reason to cut your print marketing efforts is because of the claim that print is dead, then you are mistaken.
Print as a medium is very much alive. In fact, print is actually evolving alongside its digital counterpart in shaping our lives. Both of them have advantages and disadvantages over the other. Thus, it is a grave mistake if you do not utilize them both to reach more people. Creating an integrated marketing strategy that involves both print and digital allows you to reach your target market across every channel.
It’s easy to combine your print and digital marketing strategies to an integrated marketing plan. However, it is important that you know the strengths and weakness of both mediums and how you leverage them to complement each other.
Consistency = brand recognition
A good brand is built over time and requires a lot of careful planning and consistency across channels. Familiarity breeds trust. Your design, colors, and even your business name and logo can speak volumes.
Our favorite color is green!
Your website design or choice of words on your direct mail can create an impression on the minds of your customers. If your print advertising’s aesthetics is drastically different from the persona that you project on your website, this creates confusion for your customer. We wouldn’t want them to think that your brand has some sort of bipolar disorder.
A good way to create consistency in your integrated marketing campaign is to determine what type of personality you want to portray as a business. Typically, this should be relevant and even similar to the target market that you want. Are you professional but approachable? Are you quirky or are you serious? These questions can be answered through the tone you use in your copy and the design choices that you make. Check out the psychology behind colors and use it appropriately on your websites.
Great typefaces can attract your reader’s curiosity.
You should also consider using a set of typefaces for both of your online and offline marketing, especially on your websites and direct mail. Choose the font that perfectly reflects who you are, if you are using a text logo. It’s also better if you start using only a handful of fonts for your headers and text. You want something that is immediately recognizable once the reader sees it.
As for the actual content, you should make sure that your voice is consistent across channels. Creating a style guide can be very helpful, especially if you have several content writers.
Hashtags are your friend.
One of the unique offsprings of the internet and social media is the hashtag. Initially used as a tagging tool (hence the name) in IRCs to label groups or topics, the hashtag was adopted by Twitter to arrange tweets of similar topics to facilitate discussion.
The objective was to streamline conversations into more specific topics of interest that are relevant to a specific audience. It has since been adopted by other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter with a similar function. It has permeated popular culture so effectively that it was declared Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society in 2012. Neat!
As I’ve said, the hashtag is primarily a digital tool. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it in print. Using a hashtag is one of the simplest ways to integrate your print campaign into your social media marketing. For example, you can put your hashtag into relevant print advertising such as flyers, postcards, and direct mail and encourage your target market to reach out to you through it. Taking it further, you can also use specific hashtags for each channel you are tapping to check which is effective and which needs a rework.
A great example of the use of a hashtag in an integrated marketing campaign is Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign. The idea was to tap the next generation of their target consumers—preteen girls. They wanted to present their brand as supportive and empowering as they transition into young womanhood.
A wall decal installation for Always #LikeAGirl campaign in New York City.
What did they use to reinforce their message? Yep. It’s the hashtag #LikeAGirl.
Judy John, CEO of Alway’s ad agency Leo Burnett even went so far to say “The hashtag was essential in rallying people to change the meaning of ‘like a girl’ by showing the world that it can mean amazing things.” The hashtag was not merely included in their print and digital copy, their message was actually built around it. It was one of the most successful campaigns in 2014.
Engagement and the ubiquitous Call-to-Action
True integration of your print and digital marketing efforts should yield to a cyclical process. One should lead into the other and vice-versa. Thus, consistency in both of your print and digital marketing strategies will amount to nothing if it does not engage your audience. This is where call-to-action comes into play.
Your online content should help promote your offline events.
You’ve told them about your story and your message. What do you want your readers to do now? A compelling call-to-action should do the job. However, leading them to your website does not accomplish much. You want them to want to learn more and eventually become a customer. You can do this by offering more for their benefit, like a landing page made specifically for your offline campaign where they could find exclusive deals or your blog that contains articles that are relevant to their interests. There’s your offline marketing leading to online content.
As a reverse, you can use online to promote your offline events. Are you participating in a trade show? Is a new product hitting the shelf? Or maybe you are expanding to a new location and have sent lucky locals some direct mail deals? Social media and blog posts can build anticipation to your offline strategies. Thus, your choice of call-to-action can prove crucial to getting clicks and spreading the word, further ensuring your offline marketing efforts.
What tactics will you be using for your integrated marketing plan? Tell us in the comments below.