To be effective (i.e., instrumental to sales), marketing must be integrated in several ways:
1. Consistency of messaging across different marketing vehicles and communications channels. So that you do not confuse your customers and prospects, the look, feel and messaging of your print advertising needs to be consistent with that of your website, exhibit displays at events, (as well as the venues themselves), direct mail, online advertising, social media and public relations activities. This helps to solidify and extend your brand.
2. Consistency of messaging over time. Instead of chasing “the opportunity de jour” with messaging that appears random to your constituents, you need to have a long-term strategy and the patience to stick with it for an enduring period of time. After all, repetition is the key to brand-building. Yes, mid-course corrections are sometimes needed as you continue to learn from the marketplace. While specific words and positioning can always change, overall themes must be preserved until you are ready for a major re-branding initiative.
3. Continuity of marketing processes from setting objectives > market research > product/service strategy > product/service development > communications strategy > communications tactics > analysis of results, with a feedback loop to ensure that past learnings improve future performance.
4. Integration of marketing with other corporate functions. Think of marketing as efforts to predispose prospects to say yes to your sales people, who are needed to close the deal. If the marketing message is inconsistent with what the salespeople are saying, you will confuse prospects and diminish sales. Every part of the company that touches the customer must be in tune with the marketing messages, including receptionists and customer service representatives. Each touch point with the customer either reinforces or diminishes your brand.
Future posts on this blog will provide more detail and illustrative examples of each aspect Integrated Marketing.