In our information flooded world, people are battered with all kinds of things demanding their attention. A person needs to get a message five or more times before they pay attention, remember and act on the information. That means a non-integrated, singular marketing activity wastes time and money.
An integrated marketing communications campaign allows you to vary the presentation of the message while conveying a consistent content. Ask a marketing services firm to help you if planning and executing an integrated marketing campaign feels overwhelming.
Let’s say you want potential customers to know that you offer the miracle machine for fighting the physical signs of aging in your newly opened studio with the goal to sell them a bundle of treatments.
An integrated marketing communication campaign could consist of a three-month campaign using social media, your website, a white paper, email marketing, editorial
content in an offline publication and advertising, Google Offers, postcards, sandwich boards for the sidewalk and event marketing with an offline open studio event.
How Do You Make Sure a Marketing Communication Campaign Is Really Integrated?
To integrate your message visually over all channels you need a corporate design that includes a logo, a tagline with the essence of what you offer, a color scheme and shapes that enhance the appeal and eases recognition of a visual design and transport your core message.
If all you have now is a logo and a tagline, ask a graphic designer to suggest a color scheme and shapes that can be used. Blood red and black or needle sharp shapes are probably not conducive to entice your target group to seek treatment in your studio.
The best way to articulate a goal or objective is by answering a series of questions about what you want from the campaign. Ask what outcomes you seek, such as:
- Increasing visibility and awareness;
- Building trust for your product and services;
- Differentiating yourself from your competitors;
- Counteracting bad press;
- Getting new customers or upselling existing ones.
Then, ask yourself what you expect or hope that your target group will think or do as a result of your campaign. Think of how you can measure that; it might not require polls or surveys if you have good analytics or “social listening” software.
Once you determine your metrics and measurement tactics, try to anticipate what you might learn from a poor response. In other words, how might you adjust your campaign one way or another based on the outcome?
Limit your research to what your goal is and your budget allows. Find out how potential competitors market themselves, even if what they offer is only vaguely similar. Take note of the most successful of their marketing tactics and ask yourself why they were successful — and similarly, learn from their mistakes and differentiate yourself from those things. Use all of this data to help determine how your campaign will fare.
Maintaining youth promises appeal probably mainly to women over 40 with a medium and higher income. You can get an insight into your local demographics from the U.S. Census website. Do you know enough about your target group’s preferences: gathering places and communication styles (i.e., face-to-face, phone, text, image or video, sheer facts or flowery marketing language)? And how would your target group benefit from the goal that you’re pursuing?
Remember the acronym AIDA as the formula for getting people to connect with your marketing message:
- Attention: Get people’s attention and they become aware of your product or service;
- Interest: Get people interested by demonstrating advantages and benefits of your product or service;
- Desire – Convince people your product or service will satisfy their needs, so they desire it;
- Action: Lead people to act, either by purchasing or contacting you for more information.
Attention is captured by standing out from the environment where the message is conveyed. Interest is captivated by promising an answer to the needs of the target group. Desire means that the person becomes motivated to get the promised benefit. The promise may be on an emotional or material level like feeling more self-assured and attractive, less vulnerable in a youth worshiping world, or getting a discount, a prize or a freebee. The call for action needs to be followed by the means to get in contact with you either by phone, email, interactive social media websites or snail mail and street address of your studio and opening times.
Make sure that you hit up three main points in your message in a consistent and clear manner with the tone and appeal appropriate for your target group and your goal. Slang, goth or hip-hop elements are probably not the right way to address baby boomers.
The channels you choose need to be the preferred information and discussion outlets of your target group. Each channel has its inherent ability to convey a message. For example, if your message entails something that happens over time and you want to show a development you want to choose a video. If your target group has an academic background, they might just want to scan a text message for keywords instead of taking the time to watch a video.
An image says more than 1,000 words, so use an image whenever the image supports your message. Watch out for diverging image and text meanings! Cognitive dissonance can be helpful if deliberately used to achieve your goal — or it may just irritate and repel the recipient. Take advantage of the various channel characteristics in your campaign and make sure that you keep the corporate design and tone and appeal across all channels which is crucial for an integrated marketing communication campaign.
Integrate the community: Groups, associations, or businesses may exist that don’t sell the same products or services but are interested in your target group for other reasons: Check your neighborhood for local restaurants, cafes or bars to hairstylists or apparel stores with community boards. They may help you in reaching your goal by sharing or linking to your content, sponsoring food and drinks for your event or providing expertise and support, or other resources.
Identify your potential partners and prioritize them according to ease of access to them and probability of their willingness to collaborate. Develop a proposal strategy so that each potential partner sees their particular benefit in working with you. Keep in contact with those who were interested or collaborated with an occasional note pertinent to your common interest.
Assuming there have been similar marketing campaigns: How does your creativity measure up against those? Does your message really stand out in a positive way or is it just a “me too?” If you’re unsure how to measure your creativity you will find reference points here where creativity is explained as a function of novelty of form and content that spans the spectrum of imitation, variation, combination, transformation and original creation.
Check if all the parts of your marketing campaign are effective: Content related to the benefit of the recipient, visual design creative and appropriate to content and target group; if video is part of your campaign make sure that you have good speakers who have a melodious voice and give fluently important information. Some webinars or YouTube videos are unbearably amateurish. If you can’t do it right don’t do it at all. Bad marketing communication is counterproductive. Assure quality of every single step and module.
This includes, for instance, checking online content in different browsers and with different computer screens for formatting or color issues. Print can surprise with unwanted color changes and blurriness. Checking out a proof before printing the whole lot is a good suggestion. And particularly watch out that the phone number and street address is correct before publishing anything online or offline.
How would your integrated campaign flow?
Choose the right social media outlets for reaching your chosen demographics. There you can create your company pages and offer a continuous flow of information about your treatments and successes. Use your website to offer a white paper (e.g., about the newest methods to maintain a youthful appearance) to be send to their email address. The expressed interest and email addresses can be integrated in an email marketing campaign.
Google Offers is a good way to promote a special deal and allows you to get even more email addresses of your target group. Again, the interest in this particular offer can be integrated in email marketing campaigns. Editorial and advertising in print media can be expensive. If you can afford it, launch your editorial content — for example, an interview with a medical doctor about the advantages of using the miracle machine. Accompany the editorial with an ad for your studio.
Design an attractive sandwich board for the sidewalk to make pedestrians aware of your studio and the benefits of getting treatment. Spice it up with promotions that change weekly. People only notice things that keep changing. Something that doesn’t change fades into the background.
Distribute postcards that advertise your “open studio” event with a discount coupon in collaborating shops in your neighborhood. Put a color code sticker on the postcard so that you know from which shop they came and identify the partner who brought in the most. Ask people to send you an email to RSVP to the event since you need to plan for drinks and food. Then you have the email of a potential customer even when they don’t show up. Make your ”open studio” event count. Set yourself a goal how many people you want to sign up for a treatment bundle.
Online marketing has the advantage that data is electronically present and can automatically be analyzed. Success can be measured with the help of social media, blog and website analytics or email marketing metrics.
The success of offline marketing tools is much more difficult to measure because it involves active participation of recipients or attendees in a survey — be it by an actual interview from person to person or directing them to an online survey. This is time consuming and involves special skills. It is best to ask a marketing services firm to conduct the follow-up interviews.
Readers, how do your marketing efforts compare with what we’ve described here? What would you like to improve upon?