By Jeffrey Barnhart, President and CEO
Marketing on purpose, versus pot luck marketing, is the difference between having an integrated marketing communications (IMC) strategy and not having one. This marketing method assures that your message is being delivered to your target audiences, regardless of how they interact with your brand—whether it’s through advertising, social media marketing, public relations or digital marketing. It also offers businesses the ability to outline a core message and highlight its unique selling proposition (USP) to an identified target market, with a tailored message, through various mediums.
Although extremely effective, IMC can be a challenge for many businesses. An Econsultancy report, in partnership with Adobe, found that companies are still struggling to embrace an integrated approach to marketing across different channels. Only 14 percent of marketers integrate campaigns across all channels. Achieving a single customer view seems to be the most difficult challenge faced by modern marketers, with only 29 percent of respondents saying they currently have this capability.
Businesses can build a successful IMC campaign by:
Defining a strategy through analysis.
Before a business can even begin putting together an IMC plan, it needs a clearly defined strategy. Creative Marketing Alliance (CMA) utilizes a proprietary discovery process, Marketecture™, to engage in a strategic analysis, which helps its clients understand how their business can be best positioned in the marketplace. Customer pain points, buying motivations, competitive challenges and marketplace forces impacting its client’s business are analyzed. CMA then orchestrates Marketecture insights into differentiated positioning, captivating sales messages and, ultimately, a game plan of IMC tactics to get results for its clients.
Having a consistent brand message.
Develop your business’s brand message, through a logo and tagline. Although the delivery method will differ across channels, the core message should remain consistent, address the relevant market and stand out in the marketplace. The branding should quickly connect your product or service to its target audiences, in a memorable and credible way, in addition to setting your business apart from its competitors. This will ensure greater visibility and customer loyalty.
Guaranteeing your target audience is on point.
Next, define the target audiences that you need to address, by answering these questions:
- Are they located internationally, nationally or more locally and/or in certain geographic areas?
- What are their demographics (age, gender, occupation, income level, marital status) and psychographics (values, hobbies, lifestyle, personality, attitude, behavior)?
- Are they within certain industries (medical, accounting, lighting, nonprofit), if a B2B focus?
- What is their personality type (persona) and pain points, so you can frame the content for each?
- What are their motivations?
By doing this, you can create branding and content that will best resonate with those audiences and increase the changes of moving them up the sales funnel.
Leveraging the various marketing channels appropriately.
Once you have a strategy, brand message and identified target audiences, you will need to determine the best channels to reach those audiences. In addition to tapping into the traditional channels, like print, with the advent of digital media there are even more to target. A good problem to have, if you only hone in on the ones that are going to give you the most return on your marketing investment.
Many of CMA’s clients utilize the agency for IMC campaigns. Amerlux, a national lighting manufacturer, wanted to generate brand awareness and create lead generation for specific product lines and target audiences. CMA developed company and product key messaging, as well as buyer personas. Then, the agency executed a content strategy with blogs, public relations, videos, social media, social advertising, case studies, guides, lead generation, pay-per-click (PPC), retargeting and email marketing. Results included:
- Digital Marketing – Achieved 276 leads generated
- Amerlux’s Social Media Channels – Experienced higher quality user engagement (increased time spent on blog and website) complemented by lower bounce rates, exemplifying greater connection between postings, audiences and site content
- Facebook Advertising – Generated 4,410 link clicks
- Press Release Campaigns – Delivered more than 450 media placements (with a total reach of more than 355 million)
Another one of CMA’s clients, International Card Manufacturers Association (ICMA), a global transaction card association, had goals to grow membership and enhance industry recognition. CMA implemented an IMC campaign, which included public relations and social media marketing. Results comprised more than 11 million reached on social media and more than 1 billion public relations impressions, from the one-year campaign.
Instead of creating a one-off advertisement or press release next time you need to promote your business, product or service, consider an IMC campaign. Although it could be daunting at first, if you work with professionals who are expert in this area, you will quickly gain confidence and reap the rewards of taking a more holistic approach to marketing.
How is your business overcoming its marketing challenges? Do you have an IMC plan in place or strategy that has worked? Do you have an interesting story to tell on this topic? We’d love to hear from you. Please share it in the comments below.
Jeffrey Barnhart is president and CEO of Creative Marketing Alliance, an award-winning, full service marketing agency that builds reputation, relationships and return on investment. To ensure that you are successfully managing your small business marketing, it would benefit you to work with professionals who are experts in this area. CMA can help! Contact us at 800-852-4269 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.