How to launch an integrated campaign
Identify campaign goals to get the most out of your marketing.
Every business owner’s marketing dream plays out something like this: a potential customer sees their company’s billboard while driving down the highway as a radio commercial plays in their car promoting the same product or service. In an even more perfect world, that is followed by a notification in the person’s Facebook or Twitter feed and reinforced by an email promoting that same product or service. It may sound like sensory overload, but repetition and reinforcement is critical to the success of an integrated marketing campaign.
An integrated marketing campaign — one that interweaves different forms of marketing communication, such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct mail marketing, and social media — can help maximize marketing efforts and helps introduce your business to a new and larger audience. It can also build trust in your brand.
“The more people can see and touch your brand, the more real it becomes to them,” says Tracie Broom, co-founding partner of Flock and Rally: Integrated Communications for a Brave New South in Columbia, South Carolina. “That helps to build trust in your brand with that customer.”
Launching an integrated marketing campaign — which Broom says can cost a small business anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 a month depending on the reach — begins with identifying your goals: What do you hope to achieve through your campaign? Do you want to raise awareness, or generate leads? How many leads would you consider a success? Do you want to increase sales? If so, by how much? And, for all of these, within what timeframe? Marketing budget will also vary based on size of the company, as well as scope of and frequency of the campaign.
“Having a clear, precise idea of what you're hoping to achieve will ensure that you're able to measure and evaluate how successful your campaign was,” says Linda Pophal, owner and CEO of Strategic Communications, LLC, a Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin-based marketing consultancy.
The next step is to learn about the customers you’re trying to influence: Who are they? Where are they? What’s their education level? What media do they consume?
“Even though anyone could potentially buy your product or service, it doesn’t mean you should attempt to appeal to the masses,” she says.
Clearly segmenting your specific audience from the masses helps you to both identify the appropriate communication channels and create targeted messages to address the needs and interests of that market segment.
“If you’re trying to reach college students, you’re not going to take out an ad in the print newspaper,” Broom says. “But you might create a Snapchat geofilter at the location of their graduation celebrations.”
The next step is choosing the right communication channels for your business. The top channels for each industry will differ, according to Broom, but in general, it’s wise to focus first on your website, social media, and public relations.
To create content for each channel, Broom recommends answering these questions:
What is your value proposition?
What benefit do you offer to your community?
What’s your competitive advantage?
“You have to determine your brand’s niche,” she says, “and then tell a story.”
You then tell that story verbally through copywriting, and visually through photography, video, and graphic design.
The content you create for your website can be distilled into email newsletter content, for instance, then refined even further into social media content. All the while, your public relations efforts will direct your target audience back to your website and social media channels.
All your content, on all channels, should have a similar look and a message that reinforces your brand, yet is unique to each particular channel.
“Repetition is so important,” Broom says. “The more often people hear it, the more your brand will stick.”
But most importantly, after launching your integrated marketing campaign, you must be able to deliver on your promise.
“That means both in terms of being able to meet demand and to deliver on the expectations you've raised through your marketing efforts,” Pophal says. “Campaigns don't do the job alone. An exceptional campaign that generates demand for a product or service that underwhelms the target audience is still a failure.”