|March 23, 2017|
It should come as no surprise to our clients or to anyone who follows our blog with any regularity that here at Wetpaint, we’re quite enamoured with integrated marketing – and for good reason.
In our view, if you’re doing anything less in 2017 than engaging in a comprehensive, cross-channel campaign and taking advantage of the many platforms your audience might be found on, then you’re simply not being serious about marketing communications.
Far from being just another buzzword, intended to confound clients into silently complying with cost projections, integrated marketing is a long-established approach to communications strategising, and it very much represents the modern face of effective marketing.
So then, what is it, and what are its benefits?
Let’s lift the veil, brush away the esoteric jargon and take an honest look at the reasons for employing an integrated approach to your marketing efforts.
Integral to an integrated approach is the marketing audit, and the invaluable setting of goals that accompanies it.
Before you even attempt to communicate with the wide world of potential clients out there, waiting with bated breath, you must first establish a few benchmarks, review your presence on all existing platforms, determine which platforms are frequented by the audience you want to reach, which platforms don’t serve your needs, and who your primary competition is on every platform and channel.
Being armed with the insights gleaned from a comprehensive audit will allow you to set realistic, achievable goals, as well as giving you the benchmarks from which to measure your success.
This might seem like a step in an integrated marketing plan, rather than one of the benefits promised by the title, but data is the lifeblood of modern marketing, and a full-scope, in-depth integrated marketing audit dishes it up in spades, giving you an understanding of your audience, your competitors, and the behaviours of both, that otherwise might go untold.
On the battlefields of ancient Greece, hoplites were the warriors to whom the defence of classical civilisation was entrusted. It was a role they performed as well as any soldiers ever have, using tactics whose effectiveness would see them passed down from generation to generation over the course of hundreds of years.
What made the hoplites such formidable warriors was the Greek military’s employment of the phalanx formation. When formed into a phalanx, each warrior sacrificed his individual prowess for the sake of the unit’s effectiveness. A hoplite phalanx, formed up against its opposition, was an interlocking wall of shields, bristling with spears – there were no individual warriors, only a single seamless front, consistent in purpose.
Much as with the phalanx the ‘whole’, in integrated marketing, is far greater than the sum of its parts.
When done well, an integrated marketing campaign presents a united front, its individual elements almost indiscernible from one another as each is utilised in its full capacity to push your messages where the others cannot reach.
In this way, each channel and platform acts like the ancient hoplite, making up for the weaknesses of his fellows while they make up for his own.
The modern world is nothing if not over-stimulating. Wherever you look, something, someone is demanding your attention.
Rabidly. Incessantly. Aggressively.
In that environment, your message, no matter what it is, is facing stiff competition for the attention of your audience. Unless you plan to be obnoxious, and force attention through annoyance (not an advisable strategy) it will take effort and a plan to make sure that you are more memorable than your opposition.
That, you’ve probably realised, is where integrated marketing comes in.
Only through the indiscriminate use of all pertinent platforms and channels can you hope to push your brand to the front of the pack of those clamouring for mindshare, and to the top of your prospective clients’ “go-to” list of service providers.
More than just about being everywhere, though, integrated marketing is about making sure that the message you’re sending is consistent across all the channels that share it.
Maybe your audience will be struck by “banner blindness” and not really notice your white and orange forklift advert. Maybe they’ll only catch your Facebook ad in the periphery. Maybe they’ll skip the blog post or print piece that you tapped in a copywriter to pen for you. Maybe they won’t trust your AdWords, your radio segment, or the plethora of white and orange themed forklift videos that you’ve strewn across the internet.
The thing is, though, that banner blindness or not, people see more than they think they see, and if you’re everywhere someone looks when they’re looking for forklifts, you can bet that, sooner or later, the white and the orange will be exactly what they end up looking for.
The more channels your marketing makes use of, the more sources of data you’ll have fuelling your ongoing efforts.
As mentioned above, data is everything to the marketer – it’s the air you breathe and the food you eat; it’s the hour in the day you spend idly browsing Facebook; it’s the number of times you’ll visit a website before making a purchase.
Data is everything, and an integrated marketing campaign desperately needs that data in order to run. The thing is that, unless run very badly, that same campaign cannot help but produce data – data that you can use to inform the ongoing refinement process to which a communications strategy should, at all times, be subject.
This tends to mean that as long as you’re diligent about monitoring and acting on the numbers (sources of traffic, bounce rate, click-through rate, etc) such a campaign can almost not help but get better results the longer it is engaged in.
To be honest, we could waffle on for an eternity about the attendant benefits of engaging the services of a fully integrated advertising agency. Integrated advertising and marketing strategies are the modern-day nexus points at which the traditional and the digital meet. They’re the methods by which your brand can traverse the globe, and seep into the consciousness of everyone who sees it.
To find out how we can spread your message, in a cost-effective manner, across all platforms and channels – quicker, faster and more efficiently than other agencies – contact Wetpaint Advertising, and get integrated today!