Originally Published September 2020, Revised December 13, 2022
A Guide to Help Marketers Optimize Every Integrated Marketing Campaign (IMC)
Just a few years ago, integrated marketing was cutting-edge.
But as consumers call for personalized content, and MarTech makes it easier to plan, manage, and optimize complex marketing, integrated campaigns are the norm.
Integrated media planning is essential for personalized marketing. So if you’re eager to engage your audience and boost brand loyalty, this guide to building an integrated marketing campaign is for you.
First Things First: What is an Integrated Marketing Campaign?
Integrated marketing, also called integrated marketing communication or “IMC,” uses carefully coordinated messaging to deliver a clear, consistent message across multiple channels.
Unlike multichannel campaigns, which tailor messaging to the platform or audience segment, integrated marketing provides a consistent experience across every touchpoint.
For audiences, it means a better experience throughout the journey. For marketers, it means the more significant potential to develop a single customer view and maximize customer lifetime value.
Why is Integrated Marketing Important?
We’ve updated this IMC guide to reflect sweeping changes catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent global shake-ups.
The media landscape is expanding, seemingly without end. Consumer behavior is evolving. Overlaying all that, the clock is ticking on third-party cookies, presenting marketers with a unique challenge.
Marketers must cut through the noise and provide authentic, personalized customer experiences while working with tight budgets to time-poor people.
- 72% of consumers want to be engaged with an integrated marketing approach, but only 39% are receiving it
- 87% of US internet users use more than one device when browsing online
- 61% of consumers expect brands to provide what they need when they need it
The solution isn’t to do more and hope it works. Instead, it’s to use marketing data to its full potential.
Integrated Marketing Campaigns…
- Reach a wider audience
- Balance short-term results and long-term brand growth
- Increases recall and recognition potential
- Generate consistency and credibility
- Repurpose assets to reduce content development costs
How to Build an Effective Integrated Marketing Campaign
- Set a strategy
Before considering what channels to use, consider who you’re targeting and, most importantly, why.
Take inspiration from established brands like AirAsia and Facebook (sorry, Meta), who rebranded to reach younger audiences. Then there’s Gillette’s The Best Men Can Be campaign, modernizing the brand’s iconic (if outmoded) tagline.
Or there’s always Coca-Cola. The long-running Share a Coke campaign de-branded an icon and spurred a ton of user-generated content. Over a decade, the story remained coherent across 80 markets and countless mediums.
In Coke’s case, the integrated marketing campaign increased market share by up to 4% and reversed a decade of declining sales in the US.
- Know your audience
The bottom line? Personalization pays off.
Integrated campaigns need to demonstrate that the brand understands its audience. It’s the only way to create an authentic connection and build brand loyalty.
You need to know the following:
- Where they consume content
- Their motivations and barriers
- Demographic data
- Purchase or interaction history (if you have it)
Use any data to unearth a critical insight that will spread across the integrated campaign.
For broader brand campaigns or always-on advertising, segment your audience into personas. This helps to craft relevant messaging without needing to know thousands of people on a first-name basis.
- Channel strategy
Campaign goals and deep audience insight will be vital to defining your channel mix for IMC campaigns.
- What channels do you have available?
- Where is your audience most active?
- Do those channels link up with your goals?
- Do you need to establish new channels?
- What balance of above-the-line and below-the-line activity will work best?
The media universe is almost as vast as the observable universe. That might be an exaggeration, but there are more than a few channels to choose from.
“Integrated marketing campaign” doesn’t mean establishing a presence on every possible platform. Don’t be scared to exclude low-performing channels, as the intention is to optimize resources and reach your audience where they are.
Use data to drive decision-making. Integrated campaign management platforms like Mediatool provide all the data you need to determine the channels, content, and creative with the highest potential value.
Tip: Don’t forget about the offline activity—90% of shoppers who visit brick-and-mortar stores research online before making the trip.
- Create reusable content
One of the most significant benefits of integrated media planning is the ability to repurpose content to use on a different platform.
Repurposing content reduces costs and creates familiarity.
Whatever content you create (video ads, graphics, imagery, etc.), make it adaptable. For example, a three-minute TV spot can be adapted into still images, GIFs, HTML5 banners, or a YouTube pre-roll.
As you repurpose content, ensure the USP remains clear, consistent, and relevant. The basis of integrated marketing brand familiarity throughout the user journey.
Your next challenge is scheduling content. With so many channels in play, integrated media planning can become chaotic. Mediatool simplifies the task, giving you tools to plan, schedule, and collaborate on complex content plans. After going live, real-time data from all your channels flows back into your campaign dashboard so you can track, measure, and optimize activity.
- Launch, measure, and optimize
The work doesn’t stop after the campaign goes live.
Quite the opposite.
Integrated marketing campaigns are like an orchestra: when all the players are in harmony, it’s beautiful. But if the violins speed up or the flutes fall out of tune, the audience will soon look for the exits.
In this metaphor, you’re the conductor. To keep everyone in sync, you’ll need a holistic view of campaign data that updates in real-time.
That’s what Mediatool provides.
With third-party integrations, real-time target tracking, flexible data filtering, and powerfully simple reporting, you remain in control of content and budgets. See which creatives and channels perform best, unearth audience behavior insights, and optimize your approach with reliable data.
- Bonus tip: Budgeting for integrated marketing campaigns
We don’t need to remind you that marketing plans cost money. Back in 2020, HubSpot’s State of Marketing report showed that 91% of marketers were ‘somewhat confident’ or ‘very confident’ their efforts influenced revenue. And yet, only 75% reported on how marketing directly impacts revenue.
We can’t stress this enough: proving marketing ROI helps your chances of receiving a bigger budget next time.
The most effective way to do this is by connecting marketing to customer value. In other words, report on metrics demonstrating how your efforts led to higher revenue, more leads in the pipeline, or greater lifetime value.
- Equip your team with the right tools
Finally, we come to the pointy end of integrated marketing.
More channels mean greater complexity in the media planning and delivery stages. More data sources to track, more risk of missing material deadlines, and more analysis to optimize performance and budget allocation.
40% of marketers say their biggest challenge in integrated marketing is trying ‘advanced techniques. Likely that’s because they’re spending too much time chasing down data and figuring out what it all means.
With the right marketing campaign management tool, you can forget about the endless spreadsheets and data comparisons and benefit from:
- Real-time data tracking from all channels
- Target analysis
- Flexible dashboards to view and export results
- Collaboration tools to plan and deliver campaigns
- Mid-campaign optimization driven by useful data
- Drill down on regions, audience segments, channels, etc.
- Value-adding insights
- A single source of truth for the entire team
As marketers, we set out to create an end-to-end campaign management platform that reduces admin time and streamlines integrated campaign delivery.
Mediatool is built for the post-cookie, post-funnel, post-linear, post-guesswork marketing era. From collaborative media planning to third-party integrations, real-time target tracking, and visually stunning reporting, Mediatool makes the complex seems simple.