Everyone has been talking about “integrating their marketing” and creating an “integrated marketing plan.” It’s an important strategy, but it can be difficult to grasp—and it’s so much more than just slapping the same logo on all your campaign materials and calling it a day.
What is an integrated campaign?
At its simplest definition, an integrated marketing campaign combines the use of multiple channels—e.g., direct mail, digital ads, e-mail, events, etc.—to deliver consistent and unified messaging to the most people in your target audience as possible. All aspects of an integrated campaign should complement and reinforce each other.
Messaging should be developed with the end user’s motivations in mind; think about what high school students truly want to hear and need to know and craft messages towards that. Then, customize your messaging based on channel. For example, a display ad isn’t the place to give your student all the details of your college’s application process, but the landing page you drive them to could be.
How do I start?
It is important to note that we currently live in an integrated world where our consumers are receiving more than 5,000 messages a day. It can sometimes be hard to break through. When thinking about how to craft your own integrated marketing campaign, remember the six M’s:
Market: Whom are you addressing? Are you speaking to the right target and are you crafting messages that are specific to them? For example, when writing an e-mail to your target audience, consider using personalization (i.e., You are eligible for a scholarship, Heather!), copy that is versionized based on segmentation, and customized CTAs to be more effective.
Mission: What is your objective? Don’t let your messages stray from that end goal. If your campaign objective is to increase brand awareness, then messaging should be more along the lines of “Learn More” rather than “Apply Now.”
Message: What are the specific points you want to communicate? Don’t give your audience more than necessary. For example, juniors will be interested in gathering insights about your school, while seniors will want to know about deadlines, open house dates, and specific steps for applying.
Media: What communication vehicles are you using to get your message across? One medium is never enough—but too many may pose a risk of sending mixed messages.
Money: How much is budgeted? And how can you perfect your combination of mediums to maximize your budget?
Measurement: How will you assess the performance of your campaign? Make sure to set up a plan to measure your results, or all this will be for waste!
What’s all this for?
Even though integrated campaigns may be tough to contrive all in one sitting, remember that they’re worth the effort. A cohesive, consistent, and well-thought-out integrated campaign can drive engagement, increase application conversions, and most importantly deliver the results your admission department wants to see!
Luecke, Richard. “Chapter 10: Integrated Marketing Communications: Creativity, Consistency and Effective Resource Allocation.” Harvard Business Essentials: Marketer's Toolkit: The 10 Strategies You Need to Succeed. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School, 2006. Print.