5 Steps to an Integrated Marketing Strategy

Doing business on the internet has caused a radical shift in some of the principles of marketing, away from the generally accepted concept of the “Four P’s” (product, price, place, promotion), and towards some new thinking and the emergence of the “Four C’s” (consumer/customer, cost, convenience, communication). This evolution is driving marketing professional to become highly focused on customer segmentation in order to understand buying behavior and then, in turn, to deliver integrated marketing campaigns that a) match a company’s product with the customer’s specific needs, and that b) are measurably effective across all channels. Because the Internet has made the world smaller, customers have a vast number of options to choose from when it comes to buying a product or service. Having neither the time nor the inclination to research every possible option, customers who are overwhelmed with choices will be impressed by the perception that some company (hopefully yours) understands them. In today’s fast-paced digital world, an integrated marketing campaign must not only utilize the many avenues available to reach its target audiences, it must communicate an idea about the product or service that will stick in the mind of the customer because it resonates with their needs. Having a full understanding of the customer and their buying habits is key to fully executing integrated marketing campaigns across multiple channels.  Successful integrated marketing strategies combine a number of tools and media to make this happen. These could include:

  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management);
  • Mobile technologies;
  • Online advertising (banner ads/paid placement);
  • SEO/SEM (search engine optimization/search engine marketing);
  • Web sites and micro sites;
  • Email (e-blasts, e-newsletters);
  • Social networks and social media;
  • Sales and marketing assets;
  • Direct mail and direct response mechanisms; and
  • Advanced real-time business analytics.

Tools and technologies are available today that allow businesses of any size to develop highly focused, segmented, and integrated marketing campaigns without major expense. Content management systems (CMS) are capable of delivering digital assets that can be utilized across multiple media, and acquisition of the business Intelligence and analytic tools needed to build highly robust customer segmentation models no longer requires the investments in complex customer data warehouse architecture it once did.  As a result, highly personalized, integrated marketing campaigns can now deliver the same message in direct mail pieces, emails, micro sites and personal url’s (PURLs) at the touch of button or two. An integrated marketing communication strategy is more than just the coordination of a company's outbound message between different media and the consistency of the message across them. Ideally, it is an effort to aggressively capture the wealth of available customer information that then can be segmented, tracked or reported upon in real time, and then make strategy changes based upon the dynamics of the marketplace.  The fundamentals of a highly effective integrated marketing ecosystem are based upon the five (5) following activities:

  1. The development of a highly robust customer database that is segmented by customer buying habits, so that highly personalized campaigns and messaging can be developed.
  2. The continued analysis of customer data to develop highly effective and focused marketing, sales, and service communications strategies.
  3. The quick execution of strategies in the form of appropriate marketing tactics that can be targeted to specific markets.
  4. The evaluation of campaign results as close to real time as possible to learn about changing customer buying habits and evaluate the effectiveness of your current marketing strategy and tactics.
  5. All integrated marketing campaigns must have a closed loop component within the communications ecosystem that demonstrates ROI or payback. Once the loop is complete; start again at #1.

Are you in agreement with these five primary activities? What else do you is important to consider for an effective and integrated marketing strategy? Please share your thoughts.

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