Are you the same person as you are over the telephone? Of course you are. You are also the same person when you answer e-mails as you are when you talk to clients in your office about new opportunities. So, why would your marketing voice sound different online than it does in print? Well, if you have an integrated marketing communications program, it won’t!
What integrated marketing means is communicating holistically and with a singular, clear voice. In marketing, it means making sure all of your communications complement each other and maximize exposure. It creates efficiency and efficacy for your brand.
With an integrated solution, each component strengthens and reinforces the other. An easy example to think about is in the social media sphere. Your Twitter account works to communicate with other Twitter users, but at the same time your Facebook Page should do the same with consistent messaging. If you’re using these outlets to drive traffic to your website, your site should supplement the information you’re communicating via social media.
Likewise, brochures and advertisements work to raise brand awareness. They may be utilizing different vehicles, but should convey the same message and tone of whatever it is that you’re promoting. They should also be complementing the messages you’re promoting via social media and on your website.
Now you can see why integrating your marketing strategy is so important. So what does it take to achieve integrated marketing communications?
One important element is vision. Your brand should have a unique and consistent approach and a clear goal. This lends credibility to your service and lets people know what your brand is all about. If you aren’t communicating who the “you” of your brand is, you aren’t leaving a very memorable impression with prospects.
The most successful brands speak with a clear voice. It’s all about unity.
Once your vision and goals are clearly set, you can get to work on your tactics to reach your target audience. This comes in many forms, and I always advocate diversifying.
From traditional print media to emerging social networking platforms and online technologies, reaching a broad audience is key to developing brand awareness and access.
In the end, it all comes down to how your marketing strategies work together. You shouldn’t rely too heavily on one form of communication. Your website, your blog, your print advertisements, and the people who answer your phones should all communicate the same vision and same voice that you want to associate with your brand.
I’ve been in the business of integrated marketing communications for more than 30 years, and I’ve seen firsthand how important it is to build a brand through clear and cohesive marketing. As the industry evolves at running strides, I can tell you that diversifying and integrating is the best way to maximize your brand’s exposure and stretch your marketing dollar.