Integrated Marketing Definition, Uses, and Examples
Integrated marketing lets businesses deliver a cohesive narrative about their brand and achieve greater impact with their campaigns. With more channels available than ever to influence buyers, it’s critical to maximize the impact these outlets have as much as possible.
Marketing through multiple channels also introduces a challenge. The more you use, the harder it becomes to ensure messaging is consistent. This is where a solid integrated marketing strategy can help.
In this integrated marketing guide, you’ll discover:
- What is integrated marketing?
- Why use an integrated marketing strategy?
- Guidelines to creating an integrated marketing strategy
- A step-by-step guide to creating an integrated marketing plan
- Integrated marketing campaigns done right: three examples
- Frequently asked questions
What is integrated marketing?
Integrated marketing is a strategy for delivering a unified message across all the marketing channels your brand uses. It provides consistency wherever customers choose to interact with a company.
Without an integrated marketing strategy, you risk delivering mixed messages or communicating in a disconnected voice. This can make your brand seem fragmented and disorganized to your customers.
For example, whether a customer is viewing marketing content on desktop or mobile, the experience and message should remain the same. Likewise, a customer who asks questions through an automated chatbot on your website should receive the same service as someone who has a call with a real sales representative.
Given the complexity of digital marketing channels, integrated marketing doesn’t typically happen without focused planning and effort. The investment is well worth it, however.
Why use an integrated marketing strategy?
A solid integrated marketing strategy offers several advantages that can make your marketing operation more effective.
Create a consistent narrative.
We’re exposed to more than 350 ads a day, but only about one-third of them attract even a few seconds of our attention. Of those ads, very few will be remembered even a day later.
One way to ensure that your ads and other marketing resources make a lasting impression is to integrate them into a consistent narrative that can be implemented across multiple delivery channels.
Prospective customers will recall a billboard ad better when its content reminds them of another ad they saw on their favorite website. They’ll be even more likely to engage with ads that mirror interactions they may have recently had with your brand on social media.
Improve marketing campaign performance.
Greater consistency within your brand’s narrative, associated with integrated marketing, leads to better overall campaign performance.
Companies that lead in marketing results are 1.5 times more likely to have an integrated technology solution in place that helps them convey the same narrative across their channels.
Reduce costs and increase value.
Integrating your marketing channels can also reduce the costs of creating marketing content, by allowing you to reuse the same content across different channels. If you have a brand mascot, for example, you can use images and video of the mascot in both online and offline marketing media.
You can also distribute the same talking points to sales representatives in different locations or at different events, to synchronize your messaging. Not only are practices like these more effective due to narrative consistency, they help to reduce your overheads as well.
Create a better customer experience.
It’s not just marketers who benefit from integrated marketing plans. Customers will also appreciate the consistency and predictability that come with a unified brand narrative.
The added familiarity makes it easier for them to understand what you do and how you can help them. In this respect, integrated marketing goes hand-in-hand with omnichannel marketing as a way to provide the most satisfying customer experiences.
Now let’s look at how to craft an integrated marketing strategy that delivers these benefits.
How to create an integrated marketing strategy.
Follow these guidelines when crafting your integrated marketing strategy for the best results.
Combine your marketing channels.
You can integrate your marketing channels in multiple ways. Some common approaches might include:
- Using the same visual elements in different contexts.
- Ensuring consistent language when talking about your brand.
- Taking a multi-channel approach to a marketing campaign — tying in TV ads with social media, for example.
Use multiple strategies to combine marketing channels, but be sure to choose strategies that make the most sense, based on your marketing needs and resources. If some of your channels are visual — such as online and television ads — but others are not, it will be harder to use your visual elements to achieve consistency.
Likewise, if some channels are interactive and others are outbound-only, you should choose marketing content and strategies that work for each. Your approach to combining marketing channels should also reflect which buying cycle stages are being reinforced.
If your campaigns focus on top-of-funnel lead generation, sending a consistent message about brand value and the types of solutions you offer will be most important.
In contrast, middle-of-funnel resources might focus on addressing common sales objections across different channels. This means you can send a consistent message on this theme to audiences who are aware of your brand and need to be moved toward conversion.
Collect and analyze customer data.
Your integrated marketing plan should be driven by data about your customers’ behavior and be updated regularly in response to new data. By collecting and analyzing data from all your marketing channels, you can identify which channels are most effective.
This also helps to determine where you may need to invest more resources to make your messaging more consistent. If data shows that one channel is under-performing, for example, that could be a sign that it lacks the messaging consistency present in other channels.
The KPIs for data collection and analysis will vary, depending on your industry and which marketing channels you deploy. In general, here are some key data points to focus on:
- Exposure. How many prospects are exposed to marketing resources in each channel?
- Engagement. How many prospects actively engage with resources in each channel?
- Repeat engagement. How often does the same prospect re-engage with a resource after viewing it initially? Do repeat interactions take place across different channels, or within the same one?
- Peak engagement periods. What times of day, days of the week, or seasonal periods see the highest engagement over different channels?
- Buyer journey status. How do levels of engagement vary across buyer types? Are you seeing more interactions from new leads, than from buyers who are further down in the sales funnel?
It’s often difficult to know which marketing strategies will be most effective for integrated marketing before you launch a campaign, so test your content in advance.
Marketing technology brands offer A/B testing capabilities where you can send variations of your content to determine which variables are effective. For instance, images, colors, or product offers can be tested to see which have the highest impact on your audience.
Lean into inter-department expertise.
Given that integrated marketing spans multiple channels and involves an array of different resources and platforms, it’s important to loop in other departments across your business. Your marketing and sales teams are an obvious choice here, as they play a key role in determining how to execute your integrated plan — aligning them is key.
Think wider too. Why not draw on the example of your software development team as well? They may be able to advise you on the types of digital marketing resources that can be created moving forward.
Coordinating with multiple stakeholders will help provide you with a broader view of how you can attend to more of your customers’ needs more effectively.
Use a marketing automation platform.
Manually managing the many variables and data sources involved in integrated marketing would be incredibly difficult and time consuming.
Instead, make use of a marketing automation platform that can help you:
- Track KPIs across channels
- Engage customers
- Measure ROI
- Identify the most promising leads
Craft an engaging narrative.
At the core of integrated marketing is a compelling and engaging brand narrative. The marketing messages you deliver in each channel should build upon each other and educate your audience as they continue to interact with your brand.
The story could be about:
- The history of your brand
- Customer success stories
- A fictional narrative around a brand mascot
Whatever the approach, the goal should be to convey a narrative that customers want to keep following. They should also learn more about it as they engage and re-engage across different channels.
A step-by-step guide to creating an integrated marketing plan.
To get sign-off on your integrated marketing campaign, you need to create a rock-solid plan first. Here are a few tips on how to do it.
Step 1: Establish SMART goals.
Planning your integrated marketing starts with a simple question — what do you want to achieve?
This could include:
- Launching a new product
- Reaching new audiences
To ensure your goals are clear, justifiable and achievable, make each goal SMART. SMART stands for:
- S pecific
- M easurable
- A ttainable
- R elevant
- T ime-bound
Setting out your goals in this framework can help you justify them. You can also benchmark your goals against key KPIs like engagement, website traffic, conversions or sales.
Step 2: Outline your marketing channels.
Next, think about how you plan to approach your campaign. What are the best channels for your goals and how will you approach your audience within these platforms?
Inbound marketing normally includes:
- Blogs, articles or thought leadership
- Social media
- Website content
Outbound covers traditional, often non-digital marketing such as:
- Direct mail
However you choose to approach your campaign, include a wide range of channels to reach as wide an audience as possible.
Once you have these channels nailed down, think about how best to reach your audience. For example, Instagram and LinkedIn may have a different demographic, using the platform for a different purpose.
Similarly, a radio or TV ad may suit a certain audience more than your website SEO content. You’ll need to tailor your messaging to each channel and specific audience segment, all while making sure they’re consistent with the rest of the campaign.
Step 3: Assign responsibilities.
Depending on the size of your operation and resource, you may also wish to assign manager responsibilities for each channel. This not only helps you manage a large task but can also put an expert at the helm of each channel.
Getting this step right is crucial. The right people assigned to the tasks they’re qualified to manage and execute can make an integrated marketing plan much more cohesive.
Step 4: Create a content plan.
Next, it’s time to plan and create your content. It’s important to have messaging and creative assets that are tailored to all the essential marketing channels and tied together.
A quick example. If you’re launching a TV ad, plan shorter social media videos, messaging and more to bring your campaign together.
Once you’ve created your assets, it’s time to plan your schedule. Create a detailed plan of where and when you’re rolling out each individual message. Your plan is also a good place to record key results and metrics as they come in.
Engagement, sign-ups and conversions are often the main KPIs of your campaign, but don’t forget to think about the next steps. Make sure you have an infrastructure to manage new leads and convert them into customers. This is often where joining up with other departments like sales comes into play.
Step 5: Prepare for liftoff.
Now you’ve got your goals, platforms, audiences and content planned out, you’re almost at launch. Time to plan out how to capture the data each day, week, month or year.
Having this in place ensures you’re ready to learn from your campaign and adjust it in real time. Marketing automation platforms, like the ones we discussed earlier, are a great tool for this.
Integrated marketing campaigns done right: 3 examples.
No matter the size of your marketing team and budget, which vertical you operate in, or what audience you’re trying to reach, you can build a successful integrated marketing strategy by following the practices described above.
But how would that look in the real world? Here are three examples of businesses who have implemented successful integrated marketing plans.
1. CenturyLink builds a single source of truth for marketing.
For CenturyLink, a global provider of telecommunication services, finding a cross-channel approach to marketing was essential.
The company services high-profile business clients, as well as millions of everyday customers. To stay on top in a competitive field, CenturyLink needs to reach these disparate audiences with tailored marketing messages.
But with eight separate organizations under the CenturyLink banner and a decentralized marketing force, creating effective campaigns was a struggle.
To address these audience and business needs, CenturyLink leveraged marketing automation tools to build a “single source of truth for marketing”. This could be used by its teams to coordinate activities across all channels, from automated emails and audience segmentation to in-depth reporting.
By centralizing data from multiple channels within a single hub, CenturyLink was able to maintain a consistent message while executing broad, multi-touch campaigns.
The results speak for themselves.
Within one year, CenturyLink’s new automated, integrated marketing plan:
✓ Influenced around $2.6 million in-year revenue impact
✓ Saved $1.2 million for its consumer and business segments.
✓ Included Marketo Engage touch points in 70% of deals
2. PFL breaks down marketing silos.
PFL, a provider of print sales-enablement services, faced a significant challenge as it sought to optimize its marketing strategy — a siloed marketing architecture. Previously, the company had a different marketing strategy for each channel, which made it difficult to deliver a consistent narrative.
With the help of a marketing automation solution, PFL was able to break down those silos and replace them with an integrated marketing operation. Now the company achieves marketing consistency across:
- Social media
- Direct mailing
- Other marketing channels
They’ve seen incredible results on their email campaigns, including:
✓ 27% increase in email opens
✓ 204% increase in email response
✓ 16% decrease in unsubscribers
3. Panasonic: joined-up marketing leads to customer growth.
Panasonic is known for cutting-edge technology, from electronic car batteries and media production equipment to everyday household cameras. Whether you’re at home or the office, look around — you’ll likely see a Panasonic product.
Until recently, many of Panasonic’s B2B products acted as their own businesses, with separate development, sales and marketing functions and customer databases. Though they have an enormous customer pool, Panasonic saw potential to reach more people and provide a more personalized experience.
With Marketo Engage, Panasonic Business Europe rolled all its outreach into one platform. It now runs 1,500 Marketo Engage campaigns each year, with increasingly personalized emails, event invites and newsletters to a growing customer base and prospect list. Meanwhile, a new LinkedIn and webinar approach has seen them branch into new fields with great success.
Automating, driving engagement and generating social media leads on a single platform, Panasonic were able to double marketing-attributed sales in a matter of years.
Frequently asked questions about integrated marketing.
What is the definition of integrated marketing?
Integrated marketing aligns your channels to provide a consistent impression of your business. It provides a seamless experience across disparate audience touchpoints to avoid mixed messaging or a disjointed brand voice.
With an integrated marketing approach, you can:
- Provide a consistent narrative
- Reduce costs
- Improve performance
What is an example of integrated marketing?
An example of integrated marketing could simply involve maintaining consistent branding, tone of voice, colors and fonts across different platforms. Another example could be a cross-channel tie-in for an advertising campaign.
Whenever you’re delivering a unified message across your marketing channels, you’re practicing integrated marketing.
What is the goal of integrated marketing?
The goal of integrated marketing is simple — to give your customers a clear, cohesive message, regardless of how they interact with your brand. This helps your company come across as consistent, professional and relatable. It can also ensure your messaging is portrayed clearly.
Integrate your marketing efforts and realize the benefits.
As you can see from these real-world examples, developing an effective integrated marketing strategy is well within reach if you use the right technology.
Integrated marketing campaigns can deliver more effective results at a lower cost. However, if you’re trying to manage integrated marketing operations manually, you’re fighting a losing battle.
With Marketo Engage, a comprehensive marketing automation solution, you can streamline your integrated marketing plan and scale it to function across as many channels as you need to support.
Marketo Engage makes it easy to centralize marketing analytics, manage profiles for multiple lead types, and deploy marketing content across multiple channels quickly and automatically.