As a PR or marketing professional, have you been watching media becoming even more diversified and fragmented? Have you noticed how this makes it more difficult than ever to increase brand awareness and communicate a message clearly across all the channels?
On the other hand, as a consumer, are you tired of being bombarded by thousands of pieces of information every day?
In a world of fragmented media audiences, the key to effective branding is to understand the importance of strategic integrated marketing communications.
Here's a simple example of a piece of well integrated marketing: imagine you need to buy airline tickets.
You go to Skyscanner or a similar site and discover a couple of air carriers flying to your destination. One of them you remember well:
- You saw its ads in airports during your numerous business trips.
- You noticed the logo in a magazine - no doubt cunningly placed there by a proactive integrated marketing communications agency.
- Your spouse saw their ads on the TV and told you about their bonus program.
- Later you noticed that someone made a post from their website directly to his Facebook page: “Hey there! I have got this flight for free thanks to the bonus program!” he writes.
- Soon enough, you start thinking about collecting bonuses yourself. Now you are in the game!
By utilizing a range of strategic integrated marketing communications, this company is able to project the image of a large and reliable air carrier.
The second company – well that's a different story. You may remember their logo and that they are an air carrier. But that's about all.
But there's an important lesson here - one that goes to the heart of strategic integrated marketing communications. Which airline does your company more closely resemble? Is it more like the first or the second? Is your company truly well known well in your industry?
If not, if you're more like the second airline, then you need to start thinking seriously about integrated marketing services, and how over time they could transform your brand awareness.
HOW TO DELIVER STRATEGIC INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS
Integrated marketing isn't rocket science - but there are certain fundamentals you need to get right. And the first step is to take a long, hard look at what you do now. For example, are your “integrated marketing communications” handled separately by different departments or outsourced agencies? If they are - how can they be truly integrated?
Are your public relations department's initiatives conceived, planned, and implemented without input from the advertising department, let alone sales?
Are your collateral materials designed by the marketing department without input either from sales or business development units?
If that's the case, then maybe it's time to centralize your core marketing functions into a single department. Or, alternatively, you could ensure all marketing departments conform to a single set of communications mandates.
Better still, maybe it's time for some strategic thinking by a specialist integrated marketing communications agency - one that can oversee and align all these different marketing streams.
Whichever route you take, it's vital not to forget the basics. You need to understand your customers and their needs, have an overview of the competitive landscape and a strategy for using the best channels to reach customers. That's integrated marketing communications in action - pure and simple.