If you were to collate all your marketing content from 2015 and lay it out on the boardroom table, what would it look like? For many small businesses it would be an inconsistent array of content; yes your logo might remain the same, but do those pieces of marketing collateral tell the same story and take customers on a defined journey?
I firmly believe that effective marketing needs to be an integrated process. Your emails, flyers, website, blog content, social media, promotional T-shirts, video channel, in fact everything, should deliver a consistent brand and core message – and should all be interconnected.
WHAT DOES INTEGRATED MARKETING MEAN?
When I think of an integrated approach to marketing I don’t just mean that branding is consistent. Or that what you say about your company, and what you want potential customers to do is the same across all your marketing. Broadly speaking these should all be aligned, perhaps with some variations depending on your target customer and what you’re specifically marketing.
What I do mean by integrated marketing is that we join the dots. For example, your blog posts feed into your email campaign, and are also integrated into your social media activity – all taking your customers on a defined path. Similarly, if you’re advertising or creating promotional material, this also integrates with your other content. For example, your Facebook ad takes customers to specific landing page, your flyer does the same – no sticking the home page of your website on every piece of marketing collateral if there’s a better option in terms of your customer journey.
[Tweet “Integrated marketing is about combining all your forces into a unified and strategic superpower!”]
No element of your marketing communications should exist in isolation!
Integrated Marketing – Key Points To Address
Branding and brand message: Visually your branding needs to be consistent across all your marketing; whatever communications your customers see, must tell the same story. This doesn’t mean that you can’t create sub-brands for a particular audience or product; distinctly different offerings will need to be communicated in a targeted way. For example if you sell your products directly to customers but also have a network of suppliers you will need to communicate with each group on an individual basis, but your core message will remain the same.
Personalisation and relevancy: Integrated marketing goes hand-in-hand with delivering personal and relevant communications. If you’re targeting a particular group (customer) on Facebook by creating updates or an advert that speaks to them, you must also ensure that wherever you direct them to afterwards also speaks to them in the same language. Likewise if you have acquired a customer’s email address make sure what you send to them is targeted at their needs, not a one-size-fits-all newsletter, if you want results your marketing must be relevant to each individual customer.
Understand the customer journey: An integrated approach to marketing makes your life much easier and delivers better results because you understand where you are taking the customer. The concept of a sales / marketing funnel is a useful starting point, mapping the customer journey from their first point of contact.
Here’s a hypothetical example to give you an idea of how this might work in practice:
‘Get Great Benefits’ is a salary sacrifice scheme provider. Their website has the usual service pages explaining what they do and how they work, and they also have a blog. The business wants to attract more clients and have identified the financial services sector as being their ideal target. Using their blog, GGB has created various blog posts around the subject of staff retention, health and wellbeing, and incentivising employees to increase productivity and profitability. Some of these posts are targeted specifically at the financial services sector exploring the key HR challenges this sector has.
GGB uses their social media channels to drive potential clients to their blog with sector-specific content. They post updates aimed at HR directors in the financial services industry that speak to those individuals directly, they even post links to relevant blogs in LinkedIn groups and other forums where their targets hang out. This drives their targets to the relevant posts on their blog.
These blog posts talk to those individuals in a personal way – they demonstrate that GGB understand the issues they have, and the unique challenges this sector faces. At the end of these posts there is a CTA to find out more about how the financial services sector can improve productivity, reduce absenteeism and long-term sick leave. In exchange for their email address, potential clients can download a whitepaper on this subject.
Once the potential customer provides their email address and downloads the whitepaper, they will receive emails that are targeted specifically at them and their sector. These emails continue to demonstrate that GGB understand them and their sector, and have relevant expertise in this field. They might link to further blog content that explores the challenges and solutions in more depth, and the results GGB have delivered for similar businesses. The emails may also share links to industry-specific case studies, or relevant news and developments that help build GGB’s authority in this sector.
The final destination for prospects in this funnel is to speak directly with the named consultant who heads up the financial services sector of GGB.
Throughout the process these prospects have been nurtured and provided with high quality, relevant content that has first helped them define the issues they face; identified potential solutions; explored how these solutions can be implemented and what they need to put in place; demonstrated how GGB have the expertise to help them; validated this with case studies and testimonials from other businesses in their sector; and ultimately given them all the information needed to make the [right] decision about contacting GGB and becoming a customer.
Of course, this process is not confined to blog posts, social media, emails etc., the integrated approach means that anything could form part of the customer journey. For the right business and sector, that promotional t-shirt could be part of the process – directing people to your Facebook page, Instagram profile or YouTube channel – just as long as there’s a reason to send them there, and that you know what to do with them next!
Please give me a call if you would like to discuss integrated marketing in more detail. Or leave a comment below – always happy to answer questions and share my advice and expertise!