Integrated marketing: what it is, advantages and strategies

Have you heard of integrated marketing, but don’t know what it is and how it works? Its advantages are not clear to you? No problem, you are in the right place! In this article, you’ll find out how integrating different channels and tools can help your business leap in quality and what makes integrated marketing successful.

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What is Integrated Marketing?

Although the name may seem high-sounding to you, integrated communication is nothing more than the evolution of the traditional marketing concept. But what is the difference and what is meant by integrated marketing? It is a strategy based on the promotion of services or products through the coordinated use of different marketing methods and tools and differs from traditional marketing for two main reasons.

  • It gives greater importance to the customer: each decision is taken and implemented only after a careful study of the target audience. The definition of the buyer persona is the starting point, and only secondly are the 4 levers of the marketing mix analyzed: product, price, promotion, and placement (distribution).
  • Integrate the different communication channels so that they work together to achieve a common and shared goal.

We have therefore moved from a limited vision in which each resource worked on its own, to a more farsighted vision in which the various channels collaborate synergistically to reach the ideal customer together, in the most effective moment, place, and way.

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How to create a marketing plan?

To develop a winning integrated marketing strategy, it is very important, first of all, to identify and define the communication channels most used by your ideal customer.

Here are the main channels that you can insert and integrate into your marketing plan:

  • traditional channels: television, radio, print advertising, billboards;
  • digital channels: in the context of integrated digital marketing, the main channels are as follows:
  1. Website: it is the main showcase of your “shop”. The more accurate, captivating, and full of information it is, the more it will attract customers. It is truly a fundamental business card to make yourself known online.
  2. Direct marketing: it is a very powerful tool for creating a direct and personalized relationship with the end user. The newsletter is a great example of this!
  3. Digital PR activities: these are all those activities aimed at monitoring and improving the reputation of your brand online thanks to the creation of a network of relationships with the other players in the digital ecosystem (influencers, bloggers, journalists).
  4. SEO: search engine optimization is the discipline aimed at optimizing web pages on search engines. If you appear high in Google results it is surely thanks to a good SEO Specialist!
  5. SEM: this is advertising on the search network or the Google Display Network, a very important and productive activity since it allows you to advertise products and services to reach a greater number of potential customers.
  6. Social Media Marketing: Nowadays almost everyone has a social account. Ignoring these meeting places would be a real shame!

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To develop a good marketing plan, remember to always follow the following steps.

  • Define your short- and long-term goals: Without a clear vision of where you want to go, it will be difficult to structure an effective strategy. It is important to start with an in-depth analysis of the brand and from there set ambitious but realistic goals. If you are a newborn brand, you don’t have sales as your first and only goal. Rather try to make yourself known as much as possible through activities aimed at increasing brand awareness. For each phase that your brand is experiencing, define precise objectives and indicate the integrated marketing channels with which you intend to achieve them.
  • Identify the ideal target and study their customer journey: have you ever heard the phrase that goes “If you talk to everyone, no one will listen to you?”. Here, this must be your mantra! You need to find your niche and study your typical customer down to the smallest detail: gender, age, profession, hobbies, education, purchasing power, geographic location, and marital status. Then focus your attention on his wishes and especially on his problems, and from here try to understand how your product/service can improve his life. After creating a detailed sketch of your target, you’re ready to study their customer journey, i.e. the routes they take online and offline to get information and purchases: do they watch TV in the evening? do you read blogs? Click on banners. Wherever your customer is, you need to be there and implement a communication plan winning that allows you to effectively intercept your audience.
  • Develop a message consistent with your brand and customize it according to your customers: communicating is essential and is the best way to sell today. However, it is important to always be honest and consistent with one’s image and values: identify your key messages and your tone of voice and maintain a clear and recognizable line of communication. However, remember that being consistent does not mean offering the same content to all customers: the truly effective message is the personalized one. Analyze your target, study their behavior on the various channels that you have implemented in your integrated communication strategy, and modulate everything based on customer preferences and the characteristics of the tool you are using.

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Integrated communication: offline and online channels

As you have just seen, there are many communication channels at your disposal and they offer various opportunities. So which ones to choose? I start by telling you that integrated marketing has overcome the traditional division between offline and online channels by preferring a holistic and synergistic approach. There are therefore no series a or series b channels, there are only the right channels for your target. Therefore, start with an in-depth analysis of your ideal client to understand in which direction to move! Having said that, online channels certainly have something extra, and not just in economic terms. In the next paragraph, you will find out why.

Integrated digital marketing

Integrated communication is a concept that has always existed, but only with the advent of digital has it truly exploded. This is because the very nature of digital channels allows for greater integration than traditional ones. Thanks to the hyper-connection of digital tools, any data can be collected, measured, and compared. And remember: data is your power, and their correct reading is the basis for planning a good marketing strategy.

Here are a few examples of integrated marketing where you can see the potential of collaborating across different channels and tools:

  • Neuromarketing tools such as eye tracking can be used on your website and exploited to get to know the consumer in depth;
  • Marketing automation: a very interesting application is that of email marketing. Thanks to sophisticated automation systems (CRM software) it is possible to send e-mails automatically based on users’ actions;
  • Analysis software: essential for any successful business! Just think that there is a platform that can collect data from all the communication channels you use and compare them to always have the progress of your business under control. And I’m not talking about science fiction, but about Google Analytics;
  • QR codes on billboards: they can be an excellent tool to integrate your online and offline communication and thus offer a more complete service to the public;
  • Chatbots: connected to your social platforms or website they can guarantee a better and more comprehensive user experience.

Digital is, therefore, maximum transparency and interconnection, which is why integrated marketing is total only if digital.

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The benefits of integrated marketing

If you’ve come this far, it’s because you’re curious to find out how to integrate marketing channels and tools to make a change in your business. Below you can find the main benefits of integrated marketing.

  • Convey your message on multiple channels by creating a 360° narration: thanks to integrated communication you can be present on all the platforms used by your customer and you can create an immersive and cross-media experience.
  • Overseeing the right “places” at the best moments: thanks to a careful analysis of the user, you can be found in the correct touchpoints, at the most propitious moments. Appearing with your advertisement just when the user has decided to change insurance is not black magic, but integrated marketing!
  • Gain a big advantage over your competitors: By being present on multiple channels, you could steal customers from under your competitors’ noses. Being featured (unlike a competitor) in a travel blogger’s article could get you a super booking!
  • Customer loyalty: with integrated communication, you can be much more present in the user’s mind and this allows you to consolidate the relationship.
  • Increase sales: last but not least, a holistic approach will allow you to boost brand awareness and significantly increase turnover!

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In a world where competition is at the highest levels and the user is increasingly distracted, the possibility of being there and remaining in the user’s mind and heart is fundamental and this can only be achieved with integrated, multi-platform communication, engaging and personalized.

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