Integrated Marketing – Defying the laws of mathematics

July 15, 2015

One plus one equals two. That’s what we all learn in school. But, my old calculus teacher, Mr. Saunders, would be dismayed to find that the same doesn’t hold true in the world of marketing. When a company subscribes to a truly “integrated” marketing plan, they soon find that one plus one can equal three, or if the campaign’s really good, even more. Although I don’t have a blackboard and chalk for us to share, I will attempt to explain this freak occurrence of marketing mathematics.

“Integrated marketing” is when your creative approach, branding assets, and messaging are consistently pushed out through all the various marketing platforms available to your campaign and interconnected wherever possible. When this happens, it produces “synergy.” Synergy is the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. Some call it hoo doo voo doo, but I’ve seen it work.

Let’s create a scenario: Danny at Danny’s Auto Service wants to increase his customer base. Together with a marketing consultant, he decides to create an integrated marketing campaign. They engage some creative vendors and get to work. First, they create a radio commercial and buy time on the appropriate local stations. The radio commercial uses a catchy jingle…”We beat anybody’s price…guaranteed,” and let’s listeners know that they can visit Danny’s website to get a coupon for an additional $15.00 off of any repair. They also design and send out some door- hangers that offer the same deal to all houses within a 3-mile radius of the business. They build a small pay-per-click campaign with keywords like “auto services,” “best price,” and other important identifiers. Finally, he takes out a billboard in the neighborhood with his URL and copy that says, “We Beat Anybody’s Price, Guaranteed. Check our website for monthly specials.”

Now, what you get is multiple touch points with customers and a way to build a larger client base. When listeners hear the radio campaign, not only will they receive impressions about Danny’s Auto Service, but those that need auto repair services may be inclined to visit the website for a coupon. Once they are at the site, the customer will be required to enter their personal contact information in order to get the coupon. They then have to come into the store, confirm their information, and get the deal. This same process will be driven by billboard impressions, coupon leads, and pay-per-click, all of which will share similar messaging and be targeted to the relevant, demographic. Now, Danny should have people coming into his store, as well as building his database of customers for future marketing efforts. Once this is all in place, Danny’s business should expect to feel the synergy of his campaign. Because he was able to engage customers on multiple levels, (one guy in the targeted neighborhood hears the commercial, sees the billboard, and gets a coupon mailer) he has the potential to create a deeper branding experience with each potential customer. Because these customers are exposed to the same message over and over, it becomes more top-of-mind.

When products, services, and companies are top of mind, referrals take place. Friends ask friends if they know of good mechanics, and even if they don’t have one personally, they may tell their friend about the $15 off coupon they heard about on the radio, and Danny gets a new customer. This kind of referral action takes place outside of tracking numbers and website visits correlating with radio spots. This referral action is the result of synergy created by the integrated marketing campaign. Consistent messaging and strategic use of platforms to tie marketing efforts together is the key to growing business beyond the evident numbers and analytics. Although my math teacher isn’t looking over my shoulder, I’m sure he would frown at the math. But if he was my marketing client, once we implemented an integrated marketing plant for him, I’m sure he’d be happy to give me an A.

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