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Do I Need An Integrated Marketing Plan?

Marketing has evolved into quite the complex beast with a whole slew of platforms and channels to choose from, both online and off. Naturally with a dearth of options from email to social media, paid ads to your website, there is a concern over continuity and integration which begs the question; do I need an integrated marketing plan?

Before we answer that question, let’s delve into a few other topics and then follow the breadcrumbs back to an answer.

Common Marketing Plan Pitfalls

  • Mixing Objectives – Marketing campaigns need to be relatively simple and straightforward when it comes to goals and objectives. You simply can’t create a program that will do everything. Objectives need to follow the SMART standard (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant or time bound) and need to follow your core business objectives. With too many objectives you can create counter-productive situations or watered down messaging.
  • Following Your Own Opinion – Far too many people get married to ideas simply because either they created the message or they love the creative pitch. While it might be good, it can also just as easily be bad. The world is littered with horrible marketing ideas. So how do you overcome? The basic answer is testing. Google surveys and other outlets can provide quick, cheap feedback on ideas from multiple people which can let you know if an idea you think is great is received well by a majority of people that represent a sample of your target audience.
  • Unmapped Messaging – In some cases people will design a marketing plan that uses multiple channels or platforms without providing a consistent message. If you are going to use an ad on your social media channel and also your website it needs to be consistent.

Ways to Create a Successful Marketing Plan

  • Understand the Target Audience – If you want to be able to develop a message that resonates with your audience first you need to clearly understand your audience from all sides which includes attitudes, interests, demographic and behavior. This allows not only proper framing of messages but awareness of which channels most effectively reach them. Make sure to ask yourself about the customers motivations, how they like to get information, what they read, where the read it and what they like to talk about or share.
  • Pick Your Channels – Picking channels is somewhat of an art these days. Not only do you need to consider which channels your customers use but also what are the strengths and weaknesses of that channel? Some people arbitrarily pick a channel due to popularity rather than looking at whether or not the channel has the ability to meet your actual business objectives. Take the time to concentrate on the most effective channels rather than using all of them just to be on all of them.
  • Be Consistent – You need consistency on multiple levels from your visual identifiers to your content. From a visual standpoint it is more than just your logo but also the style of typography, colors and graphics you use. Ideally you want people to look at an e-mail, a Facebook post, or a blog on your website and at a glance can tell they are from the same business. For content, you need to develop items that can be used on multiple channels and that content needs to be clear, compelling and consistent in messaging.
  • Keep in Sync – For some companies there is one person that spearheads a campaign, for others there might be teams or individuals with different aspects of coverage. No matter how you do business, everyone involved needs to be working together and on the same page to deliver a consistent campaign that meets your brand standard.
  • Make Your Messaging Integrated – Each campaign should have an ultimate target goal, for example increasing purchases or newsletter subscriptions. Whatever that ultimate goal is, each element of the campaign needs to do its part to drive traffic towards that goal. The reason for using integrated messaging in a marketing plan is to ensure that each platform is using the right keywords and phrases along with providing a consistent message that all works together towards that ultimate goal.

The Bottom Line

So after looking things to avoid and things to do it should become apparent why our answer is yes. Integrated plans can take advantage of all mediums from print marketing to social media, using what is most effective depending on the message, audience, and business goal.

In today’s hectic world filled with so much noise you need to deliver that same set of messages to your audience that is focused and precise, covering multiple points of contact and using a variety of mediums or channels. That is why you do need an integrated marketing plan for all of your marketing campaigns so that you can obtain the highest ROI and level of effectiveness.

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