What does “integrated marketing” mean?

Integrated marketing means taking all your marketing efforts and coordinating them so everything you do aligns with your goals, message, and theme to meet your audience wherever they are. This doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel every time you want to do something new. With a defined target, and a process to attract that audience, you will be able to build an integrated marketing plan for your organization.

When it comes to integrating your marketing and coordinating your efforts, you want to first make sure that you’re speaking to the right people.

1. Personas—Who are you trying to reach? – WHO

If you’re trying to reach everyone all the time, you’re not likely to get very far. It’s easier and more effective to dissect your audience’s habits and interests so you can pinpoint a smaller, more targeted group that will respond to your messaging and marketing tactics. Check out this Persona Development Template to get started.

2. SWOT—Where are the opportunities? – WHAT

Determining your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) is a key component to developing your integrated marketing strategy. Why? Because if you don’t understand the market in which you compete, you will never be able to clearly define what makes you attractive to your personas. By learning where the gaps are, what your competition is doing, and how you can stand out, you’re able to tailor your message to highlight the unique aspects of your business.

3. Goals and objectives—What are you trying to accomplish? – WHY

Without figuring out what your marketing goals and objectives are, you’re likely to develop a plan that lacks direction and focus, and although you may be reaching the right people, you won’t be leading them in the direction you’re hoping for. Clearly defining your top priorities based on your personas and opportunities in the marketplace will aid in directing your focus instead of randomly throwing together messages that lack consistency.

4. Channels and tactics—What channels are you using to deliver? – HOW

This is where it gets really fun. After you’ve laid the groundwork, (you know who your audience is, you know your message is unique and compelling, you know what you want to achieve) it’s time to dive into your approach. Not all channels will work for every audience. Choosing your channels wisely based on your personas, opportunities, and goals will save time that might be wasted on ineffective platforms. Review the channels where your audience is spending time and decide how you are going to reach them with the right message at the right time. Are you using Facebook? Instagram? YouTube? Are you featuring the right information on your website? What Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and digital advertising methods are you considering?

5. Marketing themes—How are you delivering your messages?- HOW

Okay, so now you’ve outlined your personas, opportunities, goals, channels, and tactics. What’s next? It’s time to start creating your marketing themes. Decide how far out you want to plan your marketing (6 months, 1 year) and choose the top three to five themes you’d like to focus on within that timeframe. Consider researching which topics your audiences are interested in where you can provide more value. Once you have these themes clearly developed, you can snap your efforts across channels into those primary themes.

6. Timeline—How are you going to get it all done? – WHEN

You’re almost there. With your themes in place, it’s time to start planning. Take your content, production, and resources into consideration. What do realistic timelines look like within your organization? Planning as far out in advance as possible will help to keep your staff on track and priorities in order.

7. Review—Is it working?

Don’t set it and forget it. Once you get the ball rolling, check in. What’s working? What’s not working? What needs to be tweaked? Monitor and review your successes and failures to ensure  you’re meeting your audience where they are with the right messages. This will give you insight into how to alter your strategy moving forward.

This is your digital strategy, coordinated to meet the needs of your business and your audience. There is no cookie cutter solution, so find what works for you, and pay close attention to the effects each effort has on your success.