Designing an effective marketing campaign has never been simple. Determining who your target customers are, developing a brand voice and then approaching them with an appeal that consistently wins out over that of the competition is a daunting task, to say the least. That’s why any mid- to large-sized company would never dream of proceeding without a marketing consultant in their corner.
But it’s probably safe to say that today’s marketers are faced with a more complex playing field than ever before. Branded messages are distributed across multiple channels – everything from traditional television and print outlets to digital and social media platforms.
These days, any marketing strategy worth its salt is also going to include multiple online initiatives and ad buys. A worthwhile strategy will have a social media component, a search component and an understanding of how its target customers behave and operate online. With so many sub-campaigns running, it can be difficult to achieve real integration.
But make no mistake: having an integrated marketing strategy is essential to the success of any modern business. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at why this is the case and what it means for your organisation’s marketing efforts.
The Shift from Cross-Channel to Omni-Channel
To hear some marketing gurus talk, it appears that 2016 is the year that everyone realised that it was time to move from ‘multi-channel’ marketing to so-called ‘omni-channel’. There’s certainly plenty of truth to this, though the buzz around this shift may be a bit overblown.
An evolving digital landscape has made it necessary for marketers to adapt, and part of this adaptation involves finding a unified way to approach modern marketing. This has prompted a shift from what might have previously been considered cross-channel marketing to what we’re now calling ‘omni-channel’. Buzzwords aside, let’s have a look at what this actually means.
It wasn’t so long ago that marketers looked at various marketing channels as silos. Each was operated as its own entity and with its own targets in mind. Along those lines, there might have been a direct marketing campaign promoting a particular product, along with a separate (and essentially unrelated) series of radio ads for the same product. Both would have operated more or less independently of each other, and the only thing they had in common was the goal of selling more product.
Today, the shift to a more unified approach to marketing is obvious. Marketers are appealing to the same target customers across multiple platforms and channels, and they’re increasingly aware of how the efforts of one channel can affect those of another.
It’s easy to spot examples of omni-channel marketing. Sometimes, it’s as glaringly obvious as a direct mail campaign that encourages readers to visit a website. But it can also be more nuanced. A talk show host might announce a hash tag to use this week on social media, which encourages viewers to engage with each other and with the show’s promoters outside of its air time. Likewise, businesses could offer special discounts to customers who order online with a code that they picked up from the brand’s social media page. Any of the above could be considered examples of omni-channel marketing.
In every case, the idea is to plan and execute marketing ideas in a more cohesive manner. This helps to shore up the brand image in an increasingly diverse and distraction-prone marketing environment.
Consistent Branding is More Important than Ever
In the age of omni-channel marketing, consistent branding is more important than ever before. This serves to put forward a uniform image so that your customers recognise your company’s branded messages at each touch point.
Many marketers abide by the ‘Rule of Seven’, which states that successfully penetrating a buyer’s consciousness requires at least seven instances of contact with the brand. This is actually a philosophy put forward by Dr Jeffery Lant – a well-known marketing expert – and it further states that those instances of contact should take place within an 18-month period.
It’s worth noting that a diverse marketing field makes it easier to create those instances of contact – but it also makes careful branding more important than ever before. After all, successful branding lets your viewers know that they’re looking at your message and not someone else’s.
So as you’re developing and honing your brand, make sure that you’re consistent (at minimum) in the following areas:
- Your logo is always rendered and presented in the same way and according to the same guidelines.
- Your brand colours are clearly established and displayed.
- Your copywriters speak in the same, branded ‘tone of voice’.
- Your typeface is consistent across all channels.
Those are just a few ways to get started. While you’re at it, you can make sure that your website and social media URLs are prominently and consistently displayed across all forms of print and online communication.
Mastering the Details of an Integrated Marketing Strategy
Every integrated marketing strategy needs to have a clearly defined conversion funnel. This is a plan for how you will target customers in and move them across touch points until they finally complete the desired action (i.e. making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, sharing a post, etc.).
But in order to accomplish this, you need to understand the journey your customers go through when interacting with your marketing messages. Where do they encounter your ads? What steps do they take before reaching out or making a purchase? Without an integrated approach, you’re likely to miss out on some of these details, which will ultimately lead to duplication, bad analytics and otherwise un-optimised campaigns.
But with an experienced consultant like Roobix on your side, you can design and implement an integrated marketing strategy that understands where, how and when to engage with your target customers. Not only this – an experienced digital team can also assist with complex automation and other modern aspects of marketing to ensure your campaigns are really hitting their maximum potential.