Integrated Marketing: A Primer
November 7, 2016 by Vanessa Zucker
You’ve probably heard a phrase that a lot of agencies are using nowadays to describe their capabilities: integrated marketing. What is integrated marketing? How does it differ from offering a host of marketing oriented services loosely tied together? Why are agencies going from specializing in one service (like PR) to offering other forms of marketing services? We will explore these topics in this post.
What is Integrated Marketing?
Integrated marketing is a way of conveying a brand’s message consistently across multiple channels using an array of methods and techniques, such as public relations, influencer marketing, paid media and social media messaging. By integrating several methods of communication into one campaign, one can achieve greater effect and benefit than simply performing each task separately.
How do brands benefit?
Instead of siloing tasks into different departments, integrated account teams are comprised of several specialists. One team working with a client-brand may have a social media manager, a press release writer, a media relations specialist, a paid media specialist, a data analyst, and a strategy director. The team will all be briefed on the overall campaign parameters and strategy, including brand voice and messaging, and then execute simultaneously and orchestrated. This approach brings a level of consistency to each tactical execution that would otherwise be lacking. Messages across platforms can refer to each other, bringing familiar themes and tones to all communications while still maintaining the form and function of each platform. The team can also analyze results across all channels to gain a holistic view of the effect of the campaign and adjust accordingly.
Another benefit of an integrated approach is that clients typically need to deal with only one point of contact for all of their program updates. Instead of reiterating the brand’s needs to multiple disconnected agencies and risking miscommunication or varying interpretations, clients only need to explain once.
Why are agencies moving in this direction?
The advent of integrated services is a direct result of the evolution of communications technology. Consumers no longer get their information solely from a select few sources such as cable news networks and daily newspapers. Instead, these “few informing the many” have increasingly been replaced by “many informing the many.” Facebook feeds and Twitter posts have allowed consumers to pick the news that is important to them, share it with their network of peers, and determine as a community what deserves the most attention. New forms of media and increased accessibility to that media like podcasts and user-created videos on Youtube allow amateurs to become influencers within a niche community. With the advent of Web 2.0, users could respond to the information they were fed and voice their opinions instead of passively consuming what editors at media companies thought were newsworthy.
What are the obstacles and how can one overcome them?
The evolution of the media and communications has created many new opportunities but also has presented its own set of challenges. The level of content quality can be hit or miss, with untrained creators releasing information that may be biased, poorly written, or even untrue. The internet can often seem like a wild west of channels of varying credibility. Consumers are tasked with navigating through the “noise” to find the meaningful “signal”.
With all of this information coming from countless sources in many directions, an agency takes the reigns and tames the conversation through themes and a strong point of view. In Spark’s case, we integrate Narrative services, public relations, paid media, creative work, content creation, social media, and analytics in order to create comprehensive campaigns that cut through the noise and keep brands perpetually relevant. Let’s talk and get the conversation started for your brand.
About the Author
Vanessa Zucker is Spark’s in-house marketing manager. She has done in-house marketing for small startups, tech giants, and non-profits. She merges creativity with analytical thinking and organization in order to create unique, quality content.