The Data and Marketing Association defines integrated marketing as “an approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with the brand/enterprise; it attempts to meld all aspects of marketing communication, through their respective mix of tactics, methods, channels, media, and activities, so that all work together as a unified force. It is a process designed to ensure that all messaging and communications strategies are consistent across all channels and are centred on the customer”.
So, while this definition is the holy grail for most B2B marketers, what’s the true key to integrated campaign success?
Traditionally, businesses planned and executed disparate campaigns, using different resource and suppliers for the various marketing disciplines. Today’s communications landscape is incredibly challenging with an abundance of communication channels and audiences’ short attention spans, coupled with an expectation of personalised audience experiences. Within this diluted backdrop, integrated campaigns have the power to cut through the noise with consistent messaging and content to influence audiences as they go through the sales funnel to drive real business outcomes.
The starting point for an integrated campaign is defining the target audiences and creating buyer personas for those ideal customers. With a deep understanding of who you need to engage and influence and what behaviour you want to effect amongst different buyer personas, the platform for devising effective delivery programmes is established.
When planning the content approach, the objective should be to create assets which will help customers and prospects rather than simply sell to them. Providing audiences with valuable information (for free) will build trust and more effectively support the sales process.
Content is essential but the mistake many organisations make when developing content is to prioritise ‘what we want to say’ over ‘what our audiences want to hear’. Campaigns will only have impact if they take an audience-centric approach to the creation and delivery of the content, which engages audiences whilst still meeting organisational objectives.
Consistency Drives Ultimate Impact
The sales funnel is the various stages which a customer will go through before purchase and it is the job of the marketer – and latterly the sales professional – to move people thorough this funnel by creating content to support every stage of the buying journey.
For the marketer, effective integrated marketing is about ensuring all elements of the marketing mix work together cohesively across channels and through the funnel – consistency has the ultimate impact and strengthens the overall delivery of the message.
As a result, marketers talk a lot about top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU) marketing activities. Essentially, these stages cover building awareness about the problem you address, educating audiences about how to choose a solution and proving why your product or service is the best solution both at campaign and strategic levels. This approach also aligns marketing activities with an account-based marketing (ABM) framework, something which are increasingly working within.
To illustrate how this might look in practice, consider a blend of:
- TOFU (Awareness): Prospects will be looking for answers to solve a problem or address a need they have. Content needs to help educate or offer insight which may include original research, thought leadership press coverage, whitepapers, eBooks and blogs.
- MOFU (Evaluation): Audiences will know their problem needs to be solved and be exploring what is the best solution is to fit their needs. The content should demonstrate that the company is skilled and delivers results and could include expert guides, webinars, handbooks and case studies.
- BOFU (Purchase): A purchasing decision is ready to be made and prospects are reviewing what needs to be done to become a customer. At this stage demos, offers, product and service literature and fact sheets are all useful tools to encourage prospects across the line.
A recent integrated marketing campaign that we executed with Omnico Group generated £12 million in qualified sales and more than 200 pieces of coverage, demonstrating the real business impact this approach can have. This campaign focused on the awareness stage of the sales funnel, using original research to capture the attention of audiences, and was backed up by expert insight and opinion with the goal of moving prospects through the sales funnel. You can watch our client contacts at Omnico discuss working with us here.
If you would like to explore how to expand your current PR programme into one which incorporates other marketing communications methods for improved impact and synergies with your marketing and sales efforts, why not get in touch? You can book your free one-hour consultation with a senior member of our client services team who will provide you with tailored recommendations to consider.
Hayley Goff, Chief Operating Officer