With so many marketing channels available and competing for your advertising dollars, it’s hard not to fall into the trap of marketing fragmentation. Each advertising channel will offer a ‘better solution’, with a ‘higher ROI,’ and ‘guaranteed exposure.’ These offers are, of course, very appealing to business owners and marketers coming out of a recession with an enormous thirst for business growth.
In reality, ‘integrated marketing’ is simply what good marketing should be! The over-use of the word ‘integrated’ has turned it into another buzzword. Any good marketer knows that consistency is the most important ingredient in a successful marketing campaign.
To test how ‘integrated’ or effective your marketing program is, take a look at all of your campaigns and see if they are all communicating the same message. Marketing integration is a lot more than using your brand’s colors, logo, and tagline. As a matter of a fact, unless you’re Apple, Google, or IBM (the top three most recognizable brands in the world according to an Accenture report), most people will not remember this information if asked on the spot to describe your brand.
A successful integrated marketing program requires constant identification of your brand in everything you do, starting at the heat of your business: Human resources. Your employees are your most successful ambassadors, so be certain to spend time training your staff well, and incorporate your branding and marketing efforts into their day-to-day activities.
By communicating a consistent message, your brand’s chances of becoming more memorable increase exponentially; this in turn will provide your business with better leads and higher conversion rates. The secret is not spreading your eggs in as many baskets as possible, but rather in making sure that all of your eggs are easily recognizable and deemed ‘good eggs’. That is, your focus should be on quality over quantity.
Marketing integration takes time, and it is more complicated that it initially seems. We are exposed to so many media channels nowadays that it takes much longer for businesses and consumers to take notice of a brand. The best way to approach this challenge is to develop a strong integrated marketing campaign and stick with it for 2-3 years. Only then will you be able to differentiate truly ineffective activities from those that simply required a little more time to build up steam.
Take the time to perform an honest evaluation of your marketing activities. If you find that your message is weak, confusing, or even misleading, it’s time to devote significant effort and funds into a comprehensive marketing overhaul. If you stick with it for long enough (say, 24-36 months), you’ll see how much stronger your brand will be.