Crain’s Business Feature Article by Laura Sheridan: Get to know integrated marketing 2.0

Marketing buzzwords like contextual marketing, integrated marketing, freemiums, native advertising, retargeting, SoLoMo, and UGC are the latest craze. Why is integrated marketing a buzzword for 2016 and a must do for your business?

You probably remember the “old” definition of integrated marketing. It was about promoting a consistent look and feel across media types. It was about using multiple channels such as TV, print, radio and outdoor to market your goods. And, it was the job of the marketing department to make it all happen.

Hello integrated marketing 2.0. Integrated marketing continues to be an approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with a brand or company. When executed well, it melds all aspects of marketing, including advertising, public relations, direct marketing, social media, sales promotion and brand ambassadorship. It’s still a process to ensure that all messaging and communications strategies are consistent across channels and importantly, built around the customer. But today, integrated marketing involves more.

Great integrated marketing campaigns integrate your messages and your customers’ messages. Smart integrated marketing campaigns are no longer the sole responsibility of the marketing department. Every department houses ambassadors that play an important role in telling your story.

Snickers, for example, has knocked it out of the ballpark with the company’s “You’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign. At its core, the campaign is built around an authentic consumer insight — many of us aren’t ourselves when we’re hungry.

Launched in 2010, it’s still fresh and engaging. The campaign includes TV, print, social media, video, online ads, websites and hunger-inspired products sold on eBay. They even changed their packaging. Now you can buy a Snickers Hunger Bar with one of 21 different monikers including Goofball, Drama Mama, Princess, Curmudgeon and Cranky. The packaging encourages people to share photos of their bars and stories using the hash tag #EatASnickers and points them to a meme generator — where they can create images related to their type of hunger symptom and share them with friends across social networks.

Snickers’ brand managers understand it’s about engaging fans with a powerful consumer insight and then providing them with new, fun ways to involve their friends and family.

Don’t have the budget or resources to execute a Snickers-esque integrated marketing campaign? Few companies do. What can you do to implement an effective integrated marketing campaign?

Tip #1: Start with a powerful consumer insight.

Smart strategy always starts with your target audience. Who are they demographically and psychographically? Building a campaign without input from consumers is a waste of time.

Tip #2: Let your customers pick the media channels.

Create your media plan based on your customer’s media habits instead of what you’ve always done. Be ruthless in culling. It’s better to heavy up on effective channels than try to be everywhere all the time.

Tip #3: Recycle content.

Once you know what content is important to your customer, repackage it for each media type. Experts now say it takes more than five impressions for consumers to recognize a brand or specific marketing message.

Tip #4: Marketing is a team sport.

Involve all internal and external partners such as your graphic designer, videographer, etc., in the development and implementation of the campaign. Equip your brand ambassadors with the tools to be part of the storytelling.

Tip #5: Measure and refine.

Consider every marketing initiative a test and measure results. What worked yesterday may not work today. Integrated marketing campaigns are key to maximizing the impact of your marketing spend.

Embrace what it takes to connect with consumers and tell your story. Upgrade to integrated marketing 2.0.

Laura Sheridan is president of Viva La Brand, a Cleveland-based brand and marketing strategy and ad agency search firm.

Laura Sheridan
Laura Sheridan, Founder & President of Viva La Brand has a proven track record of effective branding and advertising, spanning over twenty five years with some of the best in the business: Foote, Cone & Belding in Chicago; Hill, Holliday and Polaroid in Boston; and, Progressive Insurance and Viva La Brand in Cleveland. Laura founded Viva La Brand to offer large and small organizations alike strategic marketing expertise to catapult their visibility, growth and profitability. Viva La Brand develops effective brand strategies and conducts ad agency searches that successfully match clients with the optimal ad agency partners. Laura is proud to work with smart, innovative leader Brands in a wide range of industries from health care to manufacturing to technology and financial services. In addition to her work with clients, Laura is an author and speaker on all topics related to Brand.
More articles by: Laura Sheridan
Sign-up to receive Viva’s Blog Click Here