Integrated Marketing: The Basis Behind the Buzz
In marketing, we not only hear more than our fair share of buzz words, but we love to craft them. From “storytelling” to “brand journalism” to “snackable content,” we’re suckers for a good, catchy phrase that highlights a new perspective on our trade. But just because these words are trending doesn’t mean they should be tossed aside as fluff. There are valid concepts or relevant solutions behind the lingo. Take, for example, “integrated marketing.”
Although integrated marketing was coined back in the early ’90s, it’s gained in popularity over the past several years, thus hitting buzzword status. But what is it, and why should we do it? And does integrated marketing have a place in the agricultural industry? Sure, ag is about cutting-edge technology and approaches, but trendy isn’t really its thing.
What Is Integrated Marketing?
According to Dictionary.com, the definition of “integrated” is “combining or coordinating separate elements so as to provide a harmonious, interrelated whole.” It makes sense then that integrated marketing is about ensuring all your marketing components (traditional advertising, digital elements, social, content and public relations) work together to deliver a consistent experience or message for your target audience. To be most effective, every element should be considered from your audience or customer’s perspective so it delivers on their expectation.
Why Do I Need to Do It?
The quick answer to this question is that you can’t afford not to embrace integrated marketing. But since we’re marketing peeps, we’ll give you our top four reasons:
- Brand Consistency – Consumers (farmers included) expect a brand to be consistent no matter how they experience it. Whether it’s a website visit, email newsletter, field day or ad in their favorite print publication, they expect their experiences to be consistent with what your brand has established. Without consistency, you’re confusing them and minimizing the effectiveness of all your efforts.
- You’re Building Trust – From brand consistency comes trust. Every touch point with your target audience helps establish and grow your brand’s relationship with them. You need trust to get the opportunity to tell them about your product and trust for them to become customers by buying your product. And ultimately, you’ll need trust when issues arise so you have the potential to get the benefit of the doubt.
- It’s Efficient – We know everyone talks about efficiency, but by having all marketing elements under one approach, concept or message, costs can be shared across elements. There are no one-off projects that are budget-eaters. And, most importantly, you can optimize the strengths of each element, medium or format you use so you’re not relying on one to carry all the weight.
- The Sum Is Greater Than Its Parts – In the case of integrated marketing, one plus one can equal five. When everything works together, the results are exponential.
Integrated Marketing Begins with Planning
In looking at an integrated marketing approach, marketers often find themselves checking the box to ensure they are “present” in all the appropriate channels. We think it can be a visual campaign resized for placement in print and digital, which becomes the cover of our new product brochure. Slap a bow on it, and you’ve just developed an integrated marketing plan. But is that the best way to integrate your campaign? To do it right, you can’t check the boxes.
So how should you go about it? Here a few key steps to take to make sure your approach is rock solid.
- Understand Your Audience – What do they want? What are their habits? What media do they consume, and how do they consume it? You should also understand what they experience every year (how often are they in the tractor?) and what seasonal trends may be influencing them (wet spring, low prices, infestation). You can do this by combining primary research with market trends, seasonal needs and historical patterns.
- Understand Your Brand – Duh, right?! It sounds like a no-brainer, but you need to understand how your product/brand fits in relation to your target audience’s needs to determine the right marketing mix. Is your product only used two months of the year? What happens during the other 10 months? What’s the timing for decision-making vs. actual purchase vs. using the product? And can you change your message to meet those needs?
- Bring ALL the Right Players into Planning – For brand managers, that means bringing in your internal team as well as any outside marketing partners. At Woodruff, we bring in representatives from all disciplines – account service, media planning, public relations, creative, content, digital and analytics to provide their unique perspective and recommendations for strategies and tactics. While this may seem like a lot of people to involve, the time and resources spent in planning on the front end will streamline the process, saving costs throughout the implementation of the plan while delivering the best results.
At Woodruff, we love looking at challenges for our clients from an integrated marketing perspective. That means diving in to know your target audiences, understanding your brand and products, and providing recommendations on the right messages, mediums and mix that will make the biggest impact. If you have questions about our process or just want to chat more about our favorite buzzwords, give us a call.