Integrated marketing is a confusing term. Search the Internet and you'll find many definitions. Some are spot on and others amount to a convoluted gibberish as if the "authority" who wrote the piece wasn't really sure but simply took a shot at their particular opinion of what the two words mean. So, what is integrated marketing?
Defining Integrated Marketing
Imagine a box puzzle. Pour the contents out on the table and you have a puzzle that isn't assembled. Although they will create a complete unit once assembled, they don't now. Imagine each single piece as a part of your marketing strategy. If it isn't assembled, your marketing is fragmented and it doesn't work as a unit. Unfortunately, many businesses have fragmented marketing and don't even realize it. Integrated marketing only begins when all the pieces are assembled. Only then does the marketing perform as a unit.
With an integrated online marketing strategy, the following combine to show a complete and consistent picture of your brand:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Pay Per Click and Display Advertising
- Web Design with a Positive User Experience
- Blog & White Paper Publishing
- Social Media Engagement and Integration
- Email Marketing
- Mobile Web Accessibility
Keeping a Unified Message
All the above pieces must fit together in a consistent, seamless and unified way. Suppose you run a comedy club. Your marketing slogan is, "Libations, Lobster and Laughter". Across the entire spectrum of your website and social media, Yellow Pages.com and every other site you're on, that message must carry through, if not in word, in graphics or in usability. The integration increases your impact. The message is your brand and the various platforms, pages on your website, mobile access and social media must consistently work together to identify your brand. Through whatever medium, your brand is defined as: wine and drinks, seafood specialties and local comedy. Any print or televised media should carry the same message.
Keeping your message the same in all areas with intuitive navigation from a blog to a Facebook page to a contact form isn't always easy but it has an interwoven message throughout. Using integrated marketing by distributing a unified message accross all channels eliminates confusion in the mind of the consumer; enhances your brand and facilitates more engagement with your customers and prospects.