What is Integrated Marketing?
As a phrase and buzzword, integrated marketing isn’t new.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not as important as ever.
The growing number of touchpoints in the customer experience journey means that campaign management needs to be integrated to deliver results.
But it has reached critical importance now due to compounding industry challenges, alongside advancements in marketing technology that have made it easier to break down organizational silos.
What is Integrated Marketing?
Integrated marketing is the process of delivering a consistent and relevant brand experience to your target audience across all marketing channels.
It is often used interchangeably with IMC (integrated marketing communications), 360-degree campaigns, and omnichannel marketing — although there’s some nuance between the terms.
Often, successful integrated marketing campaigns encompass channels and tactics such as:
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Quora, Reddit, etc.)
- Public Relations
- Case studies
- Digital media
- Influencer marketing
- Paid Search SEO
- Press releases
- Direct marketing
Taking an integrated marketing approach to binding these different channels together maximizes a brand’s chances for success and recall.
The result? A consistent, customer-centric experience that delivers results for your brand.
Why is an Integrated Marketing Strategy Effective?
Let’s say a customer is interested in buying a new bike.
Unless they have a close pal who’s a cycle guru, they’re likely going to start by hitting up a search engine and entering a basic search. The research process has now begun.
Out of all the paths this future cyclist will encounter, the purchase cycle (sorry) is, by far, the most treacherous.
They’re going to come across all types of online properties like:
- Company websites
- Review sites
- Social profiles
And now that they’ve visited all these pages, they’re going to see retargeted ads. This was a clear example of integrated marketing campaigns showing why you need a strategy in place.
Whichever bicycle the customer chooses, it’s likely they’ll interact with that brand nearly a dozen times across several marketing channels before making a purchase.
So, not only does integrated marketing strategy lead to conversions, but it also materializes ROI in three ways:
- Improves marketing-influenced revenue and boosts performance on KPIs.
- Builds equity with consistent, governed brand messaging across all touchpoints.
- Improves operational efficiency and team agility, reducing waste from duplication and lack of central visibility.
What are Some Integrated Marketing Statistics that Prove its Value?
If you need to build a business case for creating an integrated marketing team, here is some valuable research:
Change management is needed at marketing organizations.
- Almost half (45%) of marketers feel they lack the necessary talent, technology, and processes to master omnichannel brand marketing (CMO Council)
There’s a strong business case for improving cross-functional team collaboration.
- The Project Management Institute found that ineffective communication contributes to one-third of project failures
Breaking down technology silos improves the customer experience.
- Marketers who are classified as “integrators”—those who have united data and creativity—grow their revenues at twice the average rate of S&P 500 companies: at least 10 percent annually versus 5 percent (McKinsey)
Overall, an integrated marketing communications strategy drives better-performing campaigns.
What Does an Integrated Marketing Communications Team Look Like?
You need to build an integrated marketing team before your brand can deliver a truly integrated customer experience.
Many marketing teams are structured around specific channels, rather than having a more agile approach and emphasizing the holistic customer experience.
Integrated marketing organizations prioritize personalization and the customer experience above internal competition and one-way, one-size-fits-all customer communication. Building an integrated marketing organization requires building a culture of collaboration.
Content Marketing Platform developed the ADEPT framework for building an integrated marketing organization, and it can help you identify gaps in your teams and strategies.
The five capabilities of ADEPT were developed from third-party analyst insights, over a decade of fieldwork with customers, and our in-house team of marketing experts.
- Alignment: Internal alignment is essential to success as it breaks down silos and increased cross-functional collaboration. You need active participation with change management, budgetary support, and governance.
- Design: Examine your planning model. For example, is there a shared calendar view of all activities that tie into key campaigns?
- Execution: The execution element looks at the rigor of following through on your plan, processes, and guidelines. Is your team delivering on time and at scale? and more.
- Process: The process element delves into the workflows that guide your marketing execution and whether they are documented.
- Technology: Technology should help accelerate execution and aid in measuring integrated marketing outcomes. It also includes flexible reporting on campaigns, content, and operational performance.
Your organization may have some or all of the five ADEPT capabilities. You can begin to benchmark your organization with Content Marketing Platform’s Integrated Marketing Maturity Assessment.
What are the Warning Signs that a Marketing Organization is not Integrated?
There are some pretty clear signs that your organization is failing to use integrated marketing best practices:
- No clear integrated campaign framework
- Duplication of efforts leading to content waste
- Role confusion leading to a lack of accountability
- Business goals are not aligned with your marketing investments
- Your technology setup is not supporting collaborative efforts
- No central place to store or access content
- The marketing end-to-end process is not visible
- Delays in deployment and publishing
- Fragmented or disjointed customer journey
How Do I Build an Integrated Marketing Tech Stack?
Choosing which software and apps to incorporate into your stack takes a lot of time and patience and will likely require a bit of trial and error.
When evaluating where to begin, the best place to start is with stakeholder surveys and mapping your tech stacks across silos and teams. You can then begin to bucket your martech stack into functional categories.
Here are some common martech categories for organizations looking to build out integrated teams and measure integrated marketing outcomes:
- Lead management or multichannel marketing: e.g., Oracle Eloqua, Pardot, and HubSpot.
- Marketing analytics: e.g., Google Analytics, and Coremetrics.
- CRM systems: e.g., Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and SugarCRM.
- Sales enablement: e.g., Brainshark, Highspot, and Seismic.
- SEO or content intelligence tools: e.g., BrightEdge, BuzzSumo, SEMRush, and seoClarity.
- Social media publishing: e.g., Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sis-o-mos.
So, if building a martech stack seems daunting, that’s because it is.
Which is why marketers find it substantially easier to use Content Marketing Platform to handle all the heavy lifting of martech integrations.
Would it help your team if they could create behavior-driven experiences, ship content faster, and make every interaction with your customers actionable?