What is integrated marketing?

Integrated marketing means using multiple marketing channels to communicate a consistent message to your audience. Essentially, where businesses used to see offline (leaflets, posters, print advertising, PR etc) and online (social media, websites, Google display network advertising, and PPC) as having separate functions, it is now considered far more important to look at the bigger picture, and ensure that you are sending the same clear message across all channels.

See also: Five key things you need to know about PR before you try it

For example, if you run a farm shop and will be holding a pop-up stall at a local market once a week, make sure you commission a poster to put up in your shop and in the town where the market stall will be. But don’t stop there – you should also post about the event on social media, list it on local events sites, send a press release to the local newspaper (you can find out more about DIY PR in another of my articles for The Business Barn) and make sure it’s on the news or blog area of your website.

Why is integrated marketing important for your business?

Put simply, the aim of marketing is to share the key messages of your business with prospects and customers to increase sales. The unstoppable rise of digital marketing combines with tried and tested methods mean that there are now so many different channels on which to spread the word about your enterprise, so why is it important to have that same, clear message on them all?

Different demographics of customer get their information from different sources. An older person may be on Facebook but will probably also still read a local newspaper and pay attention to print or radio advertising. In contrast, 75% of 25 to 40-year-olds rely entirely on social media as their only source of news and updates – they watch live television less and less and don’t consume print media in the same way as their predecessors.

See also: Your guide to writing clear, concise and impactful copy

Whatever their age, your audience is unlikely to only be exposed to one channel of communication, and the more times they see a message in different places (for example that aforementioned pop up market stall or a 10% off for new customers offer), the more likely they are to pay attention to it. A new customer needs to see your brand seven times before they’ll trust you enough to make a purchase so having a carefully thought out integrated plan will really help you stand out. By choosing to push your ideas out everywhere you can think of, you will maximise the chances of your marketing campaign being successful.

While it is important to use integrated marketing to share a specific message, there are also other benefits for business owners. The role of both PR and social media in boosting brand awareness and trustworthiness cannot be underestimated. In the words of Sir Richard Branson, ‘Advertising is you saying you are good, PR is someone else saying it’. If managed properly, social media will work in a similar way, with other people (your existing customers) persuading prospective customers that your products are desirable, and the business is trustworthy through testimonials and tagged images.

Getting started

If you would like to share the latest exciting news about your business and ensure your name is at the forefront of prospective customer’s minds, then developing an integrated marketing campaign should be on your to do list. Start by thinking about who your ideal customer is and where they might be getting their information (which social networks, websites, newspapers, magazines and more), and then plan a calendar of offers and events to talk about.

See also: Eight reasons PR is just as vital in the digital world

Marketing is important for every business, but it can often take a back seat when there are urgent operational jobs to attend to. Outsourcing either some of the elements of your marketing campaign or indeed the whole block of work to expert agencies offers excellent return on investment.

Tara Punter is our traditional marketing and PR partner. Keep checking back here for more, or drop Tara a line to discuss your business and your aims and to see how a PR package can boost awareness and sales.

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