“Your Screen Time was up 15% from last year…”
When the global pandemic began to make headlines in March 2020, nearly every aspect of our daily lives was altered in some fashion. It’s no surprise our online habits also reflected a change in routine. In 2019, adults spent a whopping 6 hours and 42 minutes online – more than a quarter of our day. Multiply that daily total by 365, it amounts to more than 100 days of time spent on the Internet.
When stay-at-home orders made face-to-face socializing, dining out, and traveling no longer viable leisure options, that number saw its largest increase in almost a decade: 15%! That means that in 2020, we added an additional hour of online time to our agendas, bringing the time spent consuming online media of some sort to 7 hours and 50 minutes a day.
And while you may not have acknowledged the uptick in hours as your phone delivered another weekly screen usage report, there’s no denying the numbers: on average, we’re spending 1/3rd of our entire year online. That’s why now, more than ever, it may be advantageous for businesses to consider changing their marketing strategy.
Start with Digital Marketing
If you’re a small business, you may believe you don’t have the time or money to market. But know that digital marketing captures a larger market share than all traditional marketing methods combined. You’re selling your potential business gains short if you don’t consider starting by adding digital marketing to the mix. Online marketing benefits include:
- Reaching a large audience, with an increased ability to gain insight into exactly what your prospects are looking for,
- Creating brand loyalty by connecting with your audience and providing services that address their needs, and
- Saving money while getting trackable results for your efforts.
When you begin to spread not just your presence but also a central brand message across multiple channels, we call this
Whether it’s pay-per-click ad campaigns or boosted posts on social media platforms, digital marketing is a great cost-effective and time-saving first step in connecting with your potential customers. However, there are even greater opportunities available to establish credibility and build your brand’s reputation – both of which can increase your customer base and sales numbers. When you begin to spread not just your presence but also a central brand message across multiple channels, we call this integrated marketing.
Employing an Integrated Marketing Strategy
Integrated marketing is the key ingredient to building a successful marketing strategy. Integrated marketing is similar to multi-channel marketing in that it utilizes many communication channels, including traditional avenues like print, radio, and outdoor, as well as the aforementioned digital presence, to extend your brand presence. You can think of multi-channel marketing as how you set about marketing, and integrated marketing as what you are saying about your brand across those channels, who you are saying it to, and why it’s important that all these components align to accomplish your marketing goals.
Top Five Reasons to Use an Integrated Marketing Strategy
- Consistency is Key
Consumer trust is built on a business’s ability to provide consistency – in results, experience and messaging. By delivering a unified message across multiple platforms, you are exposing your brand to a bigger audience. At the same time, you’re making sure that the audience can assuredly identify you from your competitors. In fact, research indicates that people show a preference for a thing, idea or message if they are familiar with it; we call this the mere-exposure effect. Studies have linked this effect to advertising, finding that consumers respond more favorably to advertisements they have seen regularly than to those they have seen infrequently.
mere exposure effect
mere exposure effect
people show a preference for a thing, idea or message they are familiar with
Extrapolate this idea to hearing the same brand message on podcast commercials, reading this message as the top search result for your query, and seeing it echoed across the billboard you drive by on your way to work every day, and you have the consistency that helps reduce the loss of information, making your communication 90% more effective at improving a customer’s intent to purchase, and even increasing brand perception by 68%.
- Image is Everything
Increased positive perception of your brand comes when you keep all elements of your message the same across those platforms. This means consistency from both a verbal and visual standpoint. 90% of customers expect a consistent experience across channels and 87% believe a consistent brand image is essential in doing just that. By augmenting a central brand message and looking across all channels, you’re proving your legitimacy to your audience base (which creates trust, which inspires purchase decisions … you see where we’re going here…). While a more fleshed-out approach is recommended, simply including your logo, fonts, content and tone of voice, or even something as simple as the repetitive use of a signature brand color can improve brand recognition by as much as 80%.
- Time is Money
One of the most obvious reasons to employ an integrated marketing strategy is the cost-saving benefits. When you’re using a single messaging strategy across multiple channels, you’re saving time. Time that would have been used to craft individual messages for each communication method. Not only that, you’re also saving money by conserving the allocated marketing funds needed to create those messages.
Research has indicated that integrated marketing campaigns implemented across four or more channels outperform their counterparts by as much as 300% – now that’s a return-on-investment to brag about! And as your campaign runs its course, if you’re employing the right mix of methods, you’ll be collecting data from your audience that can help you fine-tune your budget to even further maximize results.
- Customer is King
I know we began this post by singing the praises of digital marketing. But, it’s also important to remember that while digital advertising may hold the king’s share of marketing budgets, traditional advertising avenues aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Television advertising revenue spend continues to trend upwards, and 73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read it whenever they want. When you amplify your brand message across multiple channels, you’re creating greater customer engagement through exposure. Additionally, while you’re increasing customer engagement, you’re creating a more favorable impression by allowing users to create the brand experience they prefer.
73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read it whenever they want.
- The Proof is in the Pudding
One of the emerging trends in marketing is a call from consumers for brands to be both transparent and authentic in their communications. Using an integrated marketing approach helps to ensure not only that your messaging appears consistently to your customers, but also that the message is clearly communicated throughout your internal organization. The more thought-out and well-developed the integrated campaign, the easier it becomes for employees to recognize and embrace the messaging. Reputation management is now easily constructed (for better or worse) through online reviews. Having a centralized message internally makes it easier to uphold and extend internally held values to your external audience.
See how red thread brands helped a client achieve
return on investment
with a reduced budget during a Global Pandemic
I’ve seen the Integrated Marketing Light! Now how do I make an Integrated Marketing Campaign?
So you’ve decided that connecting with a larger audience while creating more trust in your brand (for less time and money) is the route for you! Now where to begin?
- You’ve got to start with the ‘why’ of the integrated marketing campaign – Why am I running a campaign? What am I trying to accomplish?
Identify the goals of the campaign – and be more specific than an abstract idea. Ideally, campaign goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Tying the goals to a key performance indicator (KPI) provides you with an existing network of metrics to help measure the goal. This is also a great time to discuss what resources you have available, as well as your limitations.
- Move on to the question of ‘how’ – Choose your specific channels and set goals for each.
Once you’ve figured out why you’re running a campaign, you can more easily decide the most appropriate vehicles to help you meet that goal. Say your goal is to introduce your brand to a new regional audience. In that case, you may employ a broader selection of methods to try and capture the relevant user. If the goal is online sales of a specific product, your efforts may be more focused in the digital realm. Remember that you can always add, remove, or alter channels as the campaign progresses.
- We know why we’re marketing, and we know how; now let’s decide who we’re talking to.
You’ll want to decide who you’re talking to within each channel. The answer might feel obvious, but it’s best not to go off what you think you know. Research into consumer behavior is vital. Any data you have collected from previous campaigns will serve you in your decision-making at this point. While you want to make an informed audience selection based on the data, don’t set your parameters too narrow. Think strategically about who you wish to target (or hire the data-driven experts at red thread brands to do that for you).
- Why, How, Who: Meet What
You’ve defined your audience. You know your campaign goals. You’ve carefully chosen your social channels. Now the question is, what are you going to say? Integrated marketing is built by a seamless customer experience across channels. This means your messaging needs to be versatile and able to be properly adapted across the board. To help arrive at the most appropriate brand message for your goals, start by doing an analysis. What are your strengths and weaknesses, and how they compare to your competition? Discover what attributes set you apart from your competitors (we’re big believers in blue ocean versus red ocean strategy here, so try to focus on the positives and advantages you offer, rather than on anything negative about your competition.)
Along with messaging that sets you apart from competitors, remember to be consistent. Keep your imagery, tone of voice, and additional visual brand components the same. A well-distributed brand guide comes in hand for this.
Houston, we have liftoff!
You’ve defined your goals, channels, audience, and messaging – let’s get this baby launched! Did you include a KPI with your campaign goals as recommended in step one? Great! Now is the time to begin tracking those results. Depending on the length of the campaign (because you also took the step to make it time-bound, right?) the period of time for insightful check-ins may differ (weeks, months, or quarters). Reviewing data and making the necessary adjustments will help keep your campaign on track. Remember to record your results so you can use this information to inform your future campaign decisions.
If all of that sounds great, but you’re still a little unsure about integrated marketing, we’re here to help! red thread brands specializes in integrated marketing campaigns. We also always provide our clients with in-depth market research. This research helps you better understand your industry, business positioning, target audience, and specific market forces.
Ready to ignite your passion with action? Get a free consultation!