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Integrated marketing - How to get it right

Siddharth Taparia, VP of marketing at SAP, shares five tips on how to perfect your company's integrated marketing

Every day more online sites, emails, print titles, social media forums and outdoor billboards are competing for your customers' attention. Such an increase leads to fragmentation of audiences, increases the noise level and reduces the chance of a message getting through. Fortunately, integrated marketing allows marketers to have a consistent message across all the places customers and is a powerful way to overcome fragmentation, rise above the noise and connect with audiences.

Another reason is message consistency. Just like in the consumer space, B2B customers also research online and shortlist the products they want to evaluate before engaging the sales organisation. An integrated marketing approach enables customers to get consistent information across all channels during the research process.

If fragmentation of audiences and ability to rise above the noise is such a challenge – and integrated marketing such a powerful antidote – why don’t all B2B marketers implement it? The reason is that it’s difficult to integrate a brand into a wide suite of content, owned by different people, driven by different objectives, and brought to life in different places within the organisation. B2B organisations that do integrated marketing right, follow these five practices:

  1. Alignment with strategic themes: Integrated marketing should be built around a few key themes, aligned with corporate marketing strategy. For example when Intel wanted customers to choose Intel-based PCs, it launched an integrated ‘Intel Inside’ campaign with key messages in newspaper ads, on billboards and as stickers on PCs. It brought a consistent, easy to recall message to its target audiences, reassuring them that as long as Intel was inside their PC, they would have the highest performance and reliability.
  2. Know your audience: You should have a clear understanding of who your target audience is. What are their motivations? What are their challenges?  What are their aspirations and fears? This will allow you to craft a message that directly appeals to them and gets their attention. SAP’s ‘run simple’ campaign is directed at business and IT executives looking to reduce the complexity in their IT systems. 
  3. Pick channels that are aligned with the buyer journey: The next thing is to identify how buyers consume information. What online, print and social media do they follow? What conversations are they having in social media? The better you know the answers, the better you can select the right channels. 
  4. Develop content for use across channels: It is important to develop content that can be easily adapted or repurposed to suit different media or channels. This ensures customers get consistent marketing messages you want to convey, across all channels – paid, owned, earned or shared. So every piece of content you develop, whether it is a blog post, case study or video, can be repurposed. However, all this requires close collaboration between the advertising, digital marketing, website, content development and public relations teams.  
  5. Leverage analytics to consistently fine tune: Finally, marketing analytics is critical to optimising an integrated campaign. With calls to action, which drives customers to a specific page, you can even evaluate the success of radio or print advertising. Channels that don’t deliver the right performance can be dropped.

Multichannel, multivehicle programme design and execution is core to a successful integrated campaign. It requires that the campaign be aligned with corporate objectives and buyer behavior, facilitating connection with your intended buyer through delivery across various channels. Following these five steps will help you rise above the noise and clutter and implement a successful integrated campaign.