“The traditional marketing function is dead…”
Dramatic beginning or what? Believe it or not though, as crazy as it sounds this is the feeling across the board in the marketing world today. All that we once relied on is no longer enough to gain our more intelligent, brand aware customers of today.
Scary thought eh?
The real question stemming from this, however, is “what is its replacement?” Well, depending on who or what you’re reading, watching, speaking to, or agency/marketing company you’re using, you will come across a variety of answers. Confusing or what…
‘Digital’, ‘experiential’, ‘below the line’; all these fancy terms and ideologies have risen over the past number of years from the dust into real tangible components of our marketing strategies today. The main mistake I’ve come across, however, is that marketers and business owners are now abandoning all else because they’re running as fast as they can to jump on these new bandwagons. It is felt across the board that these channels are the only possible way of the future, forgetting everything proven to work before as they just cannot bare to be left behind whilst their consumers ride off into the new marketing era sunset.
This is not the way forward, absolutely not. Yes, the digital revolution, the experience economy and all else we are supposedly undergoing are yes in fact very real. Consumers today are more digitally savvy, and do expect more from their brands under the guise of real, engaging, emotional, credible interactions at every possible touch point. But focusing on one of these and dismissing all that we used to hold dear in the marketing world is not the answer.
Incorporating different marketing channels for winning campaigns
All marketing functions have a fundamental part to play in order to deliver seamless, relevant brand stories and messages through multi-channel resources, guided by a term we call “integrated marketing communications” (IMC). Whether the aim of your campaign is lead generation, branding, awareness, cross-selling or up-selling, an integrated campaign will create a brand/business effort that is far more effective than any of each of the channels used and will help you reach these goals and even surpass in many cases much more quickly and far more efficiently.
Core benefits of integrated marketing communications campaigns:
- You can reach far more potential consumers which you may have missed if you concentrated on one sole media.
- You are hitting the same customers with different channels acting as a reinforced message, keeping the story in their mind-set.
- Marketing resources are generating more value and deliver a greater return as core creative ideas of the campaign are re-used across multiple media.
This is all very well and good but, with anything marketing related, there is still so much potential for things to go wrong. As such here are a few tips to make your IMC campaign a success.
Top Tips for Integrated Marketing Communications success
When creating your integrated marketing communications campaign, you will as I mentioned be looking at not just how you’re going to deploy all your different resources, but when. Efforts need to be timed to perfection!
Whether working around a new product launch, announcement, coming into high season etc. you look at the consumer journey and see how you fit in pre, during and post purchase/consumption of your product or service – be careful not to bombard them and make each communication credible, relevant and engaging. Build interest, engage and excite, and be there when you’re needed after – like a good friend the consumer will allow hang around.
Consistency is about delivering the same core message across all channels. You need to build trust with your consumers, so branding they recognise, understand and grow to expect is so important; all down to tone of voice and visibility, as well as a consistent message in what exactly you are communicating.
Having built trust, keeping things consistent allows you the right of repeated messaging without coming across as spam and obviously increases the likelihood your message will be understood and will generate interest.
This is by far the most important of these tips. You can have your message timed to perfection, over a well-structured plan through each of your efforts, completely consistent in all that you are saying to your target audience… but if the message is not relevant then you may as well forget it!
You need to be speaking to people on their terms, telling them what they want to know, when and where they want to know it. So be mindful of what it is you want to open up the two way dialogue to, because if it is not relevant, you may as well be speaking to the wall, and throwing away your investments.
I’ll be honest, integrated marketing communications campaigns can be very tricky and they really do require a lot of time, effort and planning. But when done correctly can appeal to the right people, at the right time with the right message, making your efforts more relevant to the consumer and also more relevant to you. So get thinking, planning and prepare to sit back and watch the fruits of all your hard work come rolling in.