What is Integrated Marketing? Everything You Need to Know

As new marketing and sales channels emerge, brands today face a tough challenge of sharing a consistent message across multiple channels. This means they could risk creating a fragmented brand image, which makes it difficult to connect with their audience and establish a strong brand presence. So how do you prevent this from happening and how do you create a unified message consistently through all your sales and marketing channels? That’s where integrated marketing comes in.

In this guide, we take an in-depth exploration into integrated marketing and how your brand can benefit from it. We also show you some of the best integrated marketing examples so you can learn from others’ success stories and build a successful integrated marketing strategy of your own. Let’s find out.

What is Integrated Marketing? Everything You Need to Know:

What is Integrated Marketing?

Integrated marketing is the practice of aligning all your marketing channels to deliver the same core messaging so that you can create a unified and consistent brand experience no matter which channels customers use to interact with your brand. You’d essentially be maintaining the same visual aesthetic, delivering the same promotional messages, and using the same tone across all those channels. That way, people will still get the same brand experience whether they interact with your brand via display ads, emails, in-store display, or even billboards.

Integrated vs. Digital Marketing: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between integrated marketing and digital marketing is that latter only focuses on digital channels whereas an integrated approach aligns both online and offline channels. Moreover, a digital marketing strategy doesn’t necessarily prioritize delivering the same core messaging through different channels. Your messaging can be as disjointed or as consistent as you want it to be. Meanwhile, the main purpose of integrated marketing communication is to ensure consistency in messaging across all the channels you use.

Integrated Marketing vs. Digital Marketing

Benefits of Integrated Marketing for Businesses

From what you can see so far, integrated marketing may seem like a lot of work. So what’s in it for your business? What benefits can you enjoy when you invest in an integrated marketing strategy? Let’s take a look.

Business Benefits of Integrated Marketing

Create Top-of-Mind Awareness

The marketing landscape has become increasingly noisy, with consumers being constantly exposed to advertising and marketing messages from brands. As the average person is exposed to 6,000-10,000 ads in just one day, you can’t realistically expect them to remember the thousands of brands and products they come across. This has made it difficult to cut through the noise and leave a memorable impact on your audience.

Integrated marketing addresses this challenge by delivering the same message consistently through multiple channels. This means you’re constantly reminding the audience about your message, which makes your brand more memorable to them. As such, you can create top-of-mind awareness that will help you stand out in a sea of competition.

Why do you think we’re instantly reminded of McDonald’s when we come across the iconic golden arches or the red and yellow color combination? While being a legacy brand is one of the reasons, it’s also because the brand has consistently integrated its marketing message across multiple channels.

Provide More Opportunities to Connect

In integrated marketing, your audience will come across your messaging through various channels. From offline channels such as billboards, print media, and stores to online channels such as Google search results pages, social media, display advertising, emails, and more–you’ll be creating multiple opportunities for them to connect with your brand.

This not only streamlines the brand experience for them, but it also increases the likelihood of them interacting with your brand. The easier it is to connect with you, the more likely your audience will take action. For instance, maybe they came across your in-store display while they were running errands but were too busy to follow up. After a couple of days, they find your ad while scrolling through Instagram, promoting the same offer, which reminds them to check out your online store and eventually make a purchase.

Cut Down on Marketing Costs

Integrated marketing focuses on maintaining the same consistent message across all your marketing channels. This means you don’t have to invest in developing separate creative for every channel that’s a part of your integrated marketing mix. Sure, you may have to make some adjustments to certain elements such as formatting based on the medium, but the message and the creative are essentially the same. This means you get to stretch your marketing budget and get more for less.

Furthermore, you have the freedom to collect customer data from multiple sources. This gives you a comprehensive view into your audience so you can understand their preferences and buying behavior. As such, you can leverage these insights to inform your future marketing campaigns for an even bigger impact.

Integrated Marketing Success Stories

Now that we have a clear idea of how your business can benefit from integrated marketing, it’s time to take a closer look at the brands that have benefited from it. Here are some of the top integrated marketing examples so you can learn from their success stories.

Coca-Cola: Share a Coke Campaign

The “Share a Coke” campaign from Coca-Cola is undoubtedly one of the most successful integrated marketing campaigns of all time. For this campaign, the brand introduced new labeling that replaced the brand name with people’s names to build that human connection. The core message was to urge people to “Share a Coke,” which was then adapted across multiple channels including TV commercials, cinema, interactive billboards, and social media.

This integrated marketing communication strategy was able to maintain branding consistency by sticking to the brand’s iconic red and white color along with the typography. Those who couldn’t find their names in these bottles had the option to create personalized cans at select Coca-Cola kiosks inside shopping centers. They even had the option to create and send a virtual personalized can using Facebook.

Additionally, customers were encouraged to create user-generated content with a photo of their personalized cans along with the hashtag #ShareACoke. During the initial launch, the campaign was all over social media and offline channels alike.

Domino’s: Anyware Campaign

In 2015, Domino’s launched the “Anyware” campaign to give people more convenient ways to order pizza. The core message was the ability to “order your favorite oven-baked goodness on your favorite devices.” Originally, people had the option to order through voice, text, Apple CarPlay, and smart watch devices. This option has since expanded to include ordering through Slack, Messenger, Google Home, and Alexa.

Domino’s effectively promoted its integrated marketing communication through radio, television, mobile devices, and billboards. The campaign was even included in segments on popular TV shows such as The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and the Today Show. Across all these channels, the brand maintained the same core message even if there was a slight change in marketing strategy.

GoPro: Be a Hero Campaign

GoPro: Be a Hero Campaign

Source: gopro.com

GoPro’s “Be a Hero” campaign encouraged users to share their unique experiences–whether they’re going on a skydiving adventure or picnicking with the kids. The brand’s integrated marketing communication was promoted through multiple mediums including in-store displays, billboards, magazines, digital advertising, social media, and even TV advertisements. These channels showcased different experiences but consistently maintained a single core messaging–that of personal heroism.

It focused on the idea that everyone can be a hero in spite of their interests and experiences. The campaign and messaging continued even during the height of pandemic, where the brand encouraged people to “be a hero” by staying at home and shared creative photos and videos taken at home using a GoPro.

6 Steps to Create an Integrated Marketing Campaign

Based on the integrated marketing examples we shared above, you may be excited to start your very own campaign. Here are a few essential steps to help you develop a successful integrated marketing strategy for your brand.

Integrated Marketing Campaign: 6 Key Steps

Step 1: Start with a Defined Goal

First, have a clear idea of the goal you want to work toward for this campaign. Perhaps you want to raise brand awareness, drive more sales, or get more people to visit your store. Or maybe you want to focus on promoting a new product that you’re launching. Either way, it’s important to clearly define this goal so your campaign can have a sense of direction.

Step 2: Identify Your Target Audience

Next, think of the type of people you want to reach with your integrated marketing campaign. When you identify your target audience, you’ll be able to decide on the channels, messaging, and creative that will deliver the most impact.

For example, if you’re mostly targeting an older audience, you may focus on delivering your message through print ads and television commercials. Alternatively, a Gen Z audience would require the use of platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.

Step 3: Finalize Your Core Messaging

With what you have so far, it’s time to come with the core messaging that you want to promote through this campaign. This has to be simple yet creative so that it leaves an impact on your target audience. You could come up with a campaign slogan or tagline that will be pushed consistently across all your marketing channels.

For example, Old Spice’s “Smell Like a Man” campaign promoted the messaging that their product is what people need to smell like a man. Similarly, in the previous integrated marketing example, Coca-Cola encouraged people to “Share a Coke,” which promoted the message of sharing and community.

Step 4: Decide on Your Marketing Channels

Next, it’s time to decide on the right marketing channels to leverage for your integrated marketing communication. As mentioned earlier, this largely depends on the type of audience you want to target because you want to reach them where they are. Additionally, it also depends on your campaign goal because you want to use channels that can effectively help you achieve that goal.

You have the freedom to use as few or as many channels as possible. Here are a few options that you can consider including in your integrated marketing mix:

  • Social media
  • Email
  • Display advertising
  • Search engine marketing
  • Events
  • Billboards
  • Television advertising
  • Podcasts
  • Radio advertising
  • Content marketing
  • Print advertising

For each of the marketing channels that you’re including in your campaign, make sure to decide on a strategy to collect leads. This is a little easier for online channels such as social media and emails. But you must find a way to collect leads that come from offline sources as well.

Step 5: Develop Your Marketing Creative

Once your channels have been finalized, you can start working on your marketing creative. This would involve coming up with a creative direction that determines the overall look and feel that you want to maintain across multiple channels. You’d need to decide on the color schemes, typography, and other design components that will be used consistently in your marketing creative.

It's important to carefully replicate this across all the channels that are included in your integrated marketing campaign. Your design team may need to make slight adjustments to certain aspects such as the formatting and placement. But the core design elements should essentially remain the same across all your marketing creative.

Step 6: Analyze and Adjust

Finally, once your campaign has launched, you’ll want to keep a close eye on its performance to see how well it’s working and whether you need to make any adjustments. This would involve keeping track of relevant performance metrics such as reach, impressions, engagement rate, and conversions.

If your numbers are dipping a bit low, you might need to make adjustments in some areas of your campaign. For example, you might consider running paid promotions on social media if your organic reach is on the lower side.

Let Integrated Marketing Work for You

If you plan it right, integrated marketing is one of the most effective ways to cut through the noise and stand out from the crowd. It helps you leave a lasting impression on your audience and exponentially boost brand awareness. Make the most of the tips and examples provided above to create an integrated marketing strategy that works for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 C’s of integrated marketing communications?

Consistency, coherence, continuity, and complementary are the 4 C’s of integrated marketing communications.

What are the objectives of integrated marketing?

The main objective of integrated marketing is to ensure that your brand message is delivered consistently across all your marketing channels.

Why is integrated marketing important?

Integrated marketing allows you to cut through the noise and create top-of-mind awareness by constantly reminding your audience of your brand message. Plus, it helps you save on marketing costs since you don’t have to come up with a separate marketing creative for each channel.

What is an example of an integrated marketing strategy?

The “Share a Coke” campaign from Coca-Cola is an example of an integrated marketing strategy. Not only was the campaign promoted through product packaging and billboards, but it was also heavily promoted through digital channels.

What are the main types of integrated marketing?

The main types of integrated marketing are digital marketing, advertising, public relations, print media marketing, and television and radio commercials.

About the Author
Jacqueline Zote is a freelance writer and content producer. She writes for leading blogs in the digital marketing space. Her areas of expertise include influencer marketing, social media marketing, social media management, and content marketing.