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What is Integrated Marketing?

integrated marketing

As a marketer, I’m always on the lookout for new techniques and ideas to enhance my marketing efforts. Today, I’m here to talk about why I’m a big proponent of integrated marketing and how it is a fundamental marketing strategy for delivering cross-channel messages to consumers. “Integrated marketing” has been a term used in the advertising community for decades, I’m sure, but it still deserves a little blog love.

Defining Integrated Marketing

Originally, integrated marketing was meant to blur the line between television, radio, and print. With the advent of digital marketing the definition changes a bit but still entails bridging the gap between different advertising media.

The American Marketing Association defines integrated marketing communications as “a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.”

Generally speaking, integrated marketing is a method that blends traditional outbound (offline) techniques with inbound digital marketing elements.

You want to have a message that resonates with as large a target audience as possible, right? So don’t put all your eggs in one basket, as the saying goes, and work to integrate various aspects of your marketing strategies.

Integrating Your Marketing

Successful inbound marketing requires an aptitude for a number of different channels. I’m talking about having a handle on blogging, social media, email, SEO, PPC, and more. There are so many marketing channels at your disposal that often a marketing strategy falls short and doesn’t incorporate any cross-channel promotion. What a mistake! Integrate your marketing. Don’t keep it in individual silos! Integrated marketing channels work in tandem to promote an offer or disseminate a campaign message.

Hopefully you are already bridging the gap between outbound and inbound marketing but here are a few ideas of integration:

Email + Social Media

Email + Blogging/Social/PPC

Social + Blogging

SEO + Blogging

Online & Offline events + Social

Analytics + Everything

Print + Digital

It’s key to market online with a sprinkling of offline marketing, particularly for smaller businesses. I’ll dive into these specific integrated marketing techniques in a follow up post.

Integrated Marketing Examples

Coca-Cola: TV + Social + Video + Outdoor

Coca-Cola has been getting on a first-name basis with consumers since 2014, when they launched their effective integrated marketing campaign, “Share a Coke.”

The groundbreaking campaign is back for its fourth iteration this year, this time with more than 1,000 first and last names (200 last names) and more flavor options. As always, consumers are encouraged to share Coke moments on all social channels using the clever hashtag, #shareacoke. Videos are produced that highlight the sense of personal ownership. There’s even a traveling “Share an Ice-Cold Coke” experience. Fans can also customize 8 oz. glass Coke bottles and six packs at And, of course, there are plenty of apparel and merchandise to go along with the other marketing elements.

The summer campaign reminds consumers that ‘nothing beats the summer heat than ice-cold, delicious Coke.’ Seeing your name on a can or bottle is a pretty special moment and super personal for consumers. This meaningful moment of connection betwixt brand and consumer is created and Coke fans absolutely love it.

The national marketing plan includes TV, cinema, radio, outdoor and social/digital advertising – a truly omni-channel experience.

Go-Pro: Search + Social + Video + Outdoor

GoPro’s theme “Be a HERO” connects its target audience in a very meaningful way.

GoPro owners can submit original videos that use the latest HERO5 and win Video or Photo Of The Day social media contests (winning submissions are then shared across multiple channels like YouTube and Instagram.) Time and time again GoPro has used user-generated content to represent their marketing campaigns and make them successful. Out of home ads get even more out of such content. Tie-ins with sponsorships deliver a targeted and scalable message.

The brand uses sponsorships and endorsements, outdoor ads, SEO, and lots of social media marketing. By integrating all their marketing efforts and leveraging great user-generated content, GoPro has cultivated a winning brand that shows rather than tells.

Going Beyond Integrated Marketing

For many years integrated marketing was centered around one single advertising or marketing campaign but I like to think bigger. Look at the big picture and incorporate more than one campaign to ensure the end goal of amplifying and strengthening your brand’s message and voice (while keeping it clear and consistent).

How? The sum of an integrated marketing campaign will get more traction than its individual pieces. Take all your marketing platforms and have them work together simultaneously, keeping your consumers in mind. If you can make digital, TV, print, and outdoor all work together, well, then you’ll be doing a better job at spreading your company’s message than a campaign using only one marketing channel.

Be sure to map your strategy around the customer; tailor your integrated marketing campaigns’ messages to every part of the customer journey. Where are they? Where do they go and what do they do daily? Align your marketing message around those touch points, i.e. smartphones. This persona-focused approach and integration of various marketing efforts will make sure everything is in sync and consistent with your overall brand message. A personalized brand experience at all touch points results in a seamless brand experience!

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Integrated marketing is driving this year’s most successful campaigns. How is your company taking measures to optimize across all channels?

Want to learn more about the growth and future of inbound marketing and other industry trends? Download the full State of Inbound below.

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