On the Necessity of Integrated Marketing

Sometimes referred to as a strategy, communication, or community, integrated marketing is the lifeline that runs through all of your marketing efforts. Or, at least it should be.

Integrated marketing is defined as: Strategy aimed at unifying different marketing methods such as mass marketing, one-to-one marketing, and direct marketing. Its objective is to complement and reinforce the market impact of each method, and to employ the market data generated by these efforts in product development, pricing, distribution, customer service, etc.

Here at Sparkloft, the foundation of any successful integrated marketing strategy is based on consistency and authenticity. For a ‘big idea’ to produce results, it should be supported by a cohesive strategy.

This means three things: consistent messaging and branding (not only within a campaign but also tying all communication channels to the brand’s values), a cohesion and understanding of all traditional and non-traditional channels, and a solid plan (be it a yearly, monthly, or campaign-based).

Based our experience and exposure, here are five strong recommendations to follow when developing an integrated marketing strategy:

  1. Break boundaries

Decide as a team to be as innovative and effective as you can when building a strategy or brainstorming a campaign to produce the highest results. Try something new or simply increase the quality of your idea compared to past campaigns. Take it up a notch.

  1. Logistics

As much as possible, map out timelines and budgets from the very beginning to establish a realistic plan pre-implementation.

  1. Customer path

If your customers can’t easily follow your line of thinking, it’s never going to work. Build out the customer’s path in a flow chart to constantly reference when making decisions.

  1. Fluidity

While brand guidelines are the structure of any marketing department, digital marketing requires a certain element of fluidity and agility in order to adapt to ever-changing platforms. Therefore, determine what ‘agility’ and ‘fluidity’ look like for your department within the larger strategy, so everyone is on the same page when the pressure is on and the stakes are high.

  1. Kick-off

Hold an effective and solid kick-off by inviting everyone to the table: digital, design, marketing, communications, perhaps PR and/or IT, etc. It’s important for all parties to understand the functionality and capabilities of all departments.

One of our favorite campaigns to utilize a fully realized integrated marketing strategy is Snicker’s Hunger Bar. For this campaign, Snickers strategically and beautifully tied together a video, hot line, hashtag, microsite, social media, print advertising, and packaging.

Throughout the years, Snickers has been consistent with the core message of "You're Not You When You're Hungry,” and it has been impressive to watch the brand come up with new creative ways to deliver this message across all their channels (traditional and nontraditional) in consistent yet innovative ways.