What are Integrated Marketing Campaigns?
Only a few years ago, marketing departments in large organisations existed in siloes. There would have been someone to handle PR and Communications, others managing Demand and Lead Generation, someone else focused on Data Management, an Event Manager thrown into the mix, and a senior manager designing the over-arching campaign strategies mapped to the business goals and objectives.
Despite the team sitting together in an office, chatting across desks and having weekly meetings, they operated individually within their roles, occasionally discussing some overlap and working out when it was necessary to handover their completed portion of work to another colleague. There were processes in place around how to create and send an email campaign to specific audiences. If you were wanting to target C-level executives, perhaps you were going to create personalised invitations to an event, or you decided to try a unique direct marketing idea to get your foot in the door of a customer currently being serviced by a competitor. Each of these campaigns would have been run separately, with some thought as to when it should be run so it didn’t overlap with another campaign potentially targeting the same audience.
Depending on the audience segmentation, the key messages, and whether you were targeting end users or channel partners, the team would work together as though they were on a fixed term project. Campaign messages didn’t offer a continuous or logical flow throughout the year, instead you ran a campaign as an individual exercise and regarded it as one touch-point that didn’t relate to another. And if you had a reasonably clean CRM, your campaigns would be loaded in manually to track their progress through the sales cycle.
When Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot, and several other marketing automation tools launched on the scene, everything changed! Organisations were now able to run more targeted, responsive and cost-effective campaigns than before. An individual email campaign was transformed into a multi-touch, multi-level strategy that integrated with your CRM, allowed sales reps to be notified when specific assets were downloaded, and offered greater insights into customer engagement and preferences than were previously attainable.
The humble monthly customer newsletter, was now being integrated into a much larger communications and content strategy, that when combined with the use of social media platforms, could reach a broader audience through Sharing and Liking capabilities, even when just promoting it to your organic network. The ability to use uniquely coded links, created through your marketing automation platform to track the reach and responsiveness of email content, asset downloads, website visits and more, allowed you to better understand who was viewing and investing time in your content than ever before. On the flip side, it also provided insights into content that got swallowed up in the noise, or didn’t attract readership because it wasn’t deemed interesting enough or relevant.
Direct mail campaigns have been transformed into targeted Account Based Marketing campaigns which go well beyond posting personalised gifts and gimmicks to individuals followed up by telemarketing specialists. If you aren’t following up with invitations to attend an event, to register for a webinar, or asking them to download related assets or complete a survey to develop a new e-book or whitepaper, you are missing out on key interaction points and understanding your buyers’ journey.
These changes highlighted the need to produce content – lots of it – continuously. But content without structure, the right tone of voice and relevance is useless. It became apparent that an isolated campaign message was like running into a dead end! So instead of stopping and starting campaigns repeatedly, a focus on storytelling emerged to create a journey for your customers to join you on, a way to create consistent on-going messages that seamlessly flow throughout the year.
When you combine your CRM, marketing automation tool and social media platforms, a whole new world opens for you to communicate your story with both organic and inorganic audiences. Adding remarketing capabilities, paid search, sponsored advertising and boosted posts with links that can all be tracked through either your website’s Google analytics or marketing automation tool, ensures your campaign health will be strong.
If you are still unsure what constitutes an integrated marketing campaign, in short, it’s the use of a variety of marketing tactics that relate to a specific topic or story identified as relevant to your audience.
You need to create an awareness campaign for the global launch of a new product or service capability that’s unique in the marketplace. The following tactics are an indication of what constitutes an integrated campaign design which will be driven over a designated period of time to ensure maximum exposure and traction:
- Teaser announcements (online advertising, social media, save the date emails)
- Media interviews set up under embargo (online, print and video)
- Follow the sun Media Releases (online and print)
- Launch events inviting partners, customers, prospects and media in major cities (event)
- Launch campaign promotional offer (direct mail, email, telemarketing, online and offline advertising, social media)
- Content nurture strategy (marketing automation tool)
All the above relates to the one major campaign and incorporates numerous tactics. It requires input from all members of the marketing team as well as key other departments to both promote and engage with your audience throughout the campaign period and beyond.
The nature of marketing over the past 10 years has undergone some dramatic changes. We’ve said goodbye to the days of stand-alone tactics, it’s all about storytelling, reach, account based marketing and personas. It’s about the technology and the insights being provided to organisations regarding their customer’s preferences, interests and buying cycles. All of these capabilities and the information gleaned is worth maximising, as it’s defining the direction of marketing and business strategies for all types of organisations.
What we have learned, is that integrated campaigns designed to leverage marketing automation tools, allows you to build long-term relationships and engage in multiple conversations within an organisation, with lighter touches so as to not frighten them away. It’s also extremely effective in reconnecting with past customers who perhaps weren’t aware of all your products, solutions or services. The inter-connected content and tactics adds breadth to your story as people are not only able to follow your present and future direction, but are able to track backwards to understand your beginnings or changes in vision, focus and objectives.
Integrated campaign designs are strategic, purposeful and offer longevity to your messages so you can develop meaningful connections and business relationships. The ROI is a data gold mine and worth delving in to if you want to offer your audience exactly what they are after. Perhaps we should all reflect on the following quote by the Dalai Lama, “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”.