There is a buzzword used in the marketing world that I believe is an important concept for us all to be aware of and that is “Integrated Marketing.” As a web designer who’s top priority is the success of her clients, I am interested in any marketing tools that will help them with visibility, page ranking and lead generation. I want their sites to be interesting, beautiful…and found!  So, as part of my services I help my clients devise a marketing plan and as soon as we begin to discuss search engine optimization, ranking and integrated marketing the first question most ask is “Do I HAVE to do social media?” “Well,” I say, “not if you really don’t care whether anyone finds your brand new site.” In other cases, before we start on a marketing plan, I’ll  get the same question but from another angle, “What is the best way for me to help people find my site?” to which I always answer, “Integrated marketing using social media.” Social media is one, albeit an important one, marketing tool, of course, but it is a key medium for garnering interest in your product or service and getting people to your site. This is probably not news to a lot of you, it’s intuitive if you think about it. Nearly all of us are on one platform or another—take a look at the infographic at the end of this post for some statistics and demographics—and each of us has multiple connections, so sharing via social media spreads your story to more people more quickly than any other medium (and sometimes taking it viral, if you’re lucky). Communications today are lightning quick and a single post can end up being a “wrecking ball” either breaking through barriers to entry or totally damaging a company’s reputation. That is how integral social media is in creating a complete marketing plan.

Integrated Marketing

So, what do I mean by “Integrated Marketing?” Basically it is combining marketing tools, using a common thread marketing concept and harnessing the power of the internet to increase the number of touches by connecting all of your marketing together. Marketing, as you likely already know, evolves almost as fast a social media platforms change. While marketing is obviously not just about social media, social media is one of the most important spokes of the marketing wheel. If you have a fabulous website, a great logo, enticing offers and beautiful advertisements, your marketing will go nowhere if you’re not communicating where people are reading—online. If your target audience is 50 years or younger and you’ve not integrated blogging and social media into your marketing you’re missing huge number of possible clients/customers.

What does Integrated Marketing Look Like?

Imagine a wagon wheel, with the hub being integrated marketing. From that center hub, which is where the story you want to resides nine spokes radiate out to the wheel. The spokes are the pieces of marketing that help carry that story out to potential buyers. Each one is a different type of marketing, but they all carry the same message and even more importantly they link with each other. Another good representation of this theory could be a braid, where each strand is the marketing tool braided together to create a single integrated message. So on the spokes of the wheel to your right you can see the tools I recommend for integrated marketing. To be clear, not everyone can use or needs all 9 tools. I personally believe that the most important tools are your website, search marketing and SEO, social media and email marketing. Every marketer should be using those 4 tools. The others are dependent upon budget, product or service type and size of the business. If you were my client we would sit down and zero in on the marketing message you want to send (whether for a single campaign or an overarching message) and decide which tools to use and how to integrate them.

An Example

Mary Smith has invented a widget and has done all the work needed to set up her business selling her widget.So we sit down and develop a strategy to introduce her product to the world. She has a name and needs a logo and website. We work together to determine a look, based on her mission, personality and the target audience and then we plan her first campaign. This one, we decide, will be introductory campaign with special offers and a ribbon cutting event. Then we plan the rest of the campaign, setting up a business page on Facebook and a LinkedIn Profile, and since her product is photogenic, we create an Instagram account. On the Facebook page we create an event for the ribbon cutting event. On her business pages we post offers, asking folks to share for a give away. We send out an email invitation to her contact list and possibly purchase a list of targeted individuals to send email or print invitations. If it makes sense we might advertise in a local print medium, though as a startup, advertising can be expensive. I might suggest to her that she create online or app ads, like, for example AdWallet. We create a blog post on her website introducing her product and post a link to the blog on her social media and we also create a splash or landing page with her special offers and create posts, emails and event fliers with links to the landing page. This is a simple marketing plan, but effective as long as she (or her, ahem, marketer) stay on message with every post, blog, ad or email.

Are you ready to try integrated marketing? Contact us today for a free review of your marketing and let us help you design a great integrated marketing campaign!