Developing An Integrated Marketing Plan
Developing an integrated marketing plan is the key to the success of any business.
Templates for marketing plans are available online and can be a decent starting point, but creating a successful marketing plan is more than a matter of filling in some fields in a template with marketing buzzwords.
Here are some key aspects of an integrated marketing plan that can help any business get serious about reaching their goals:
Determine Audience & Strategy
With more channels to choose from than ever before, it’s crucial to be clear on both the business’ marketing strategy and the target audience to determine the marketing channels you will use.
Whether the business is trying to build brand awareness or drive traffic to a retail location, the small business owner or marketing manager must first develop a profile of the business’ ideal consumer.
This is done using available geographic, behavioral, and demographic customer data, or research they’ve conducted on target consumers and their best-existing customers.
Then, they must determine which channels (where online, what social media sites, etc.) these individuals are most likely to be heavily engaged with that also fit the marketing strategy.
For example, an apparel business targeting young adults might do well to distribute its message through regular image posts on Instagram. It’s a platform that lends itself to visuals and has high engagement among young adults. It’s about finding those key intersections points.
Market where your target consumers are
It’s important to know where the target audience is engaged, especially on social media. Many small business owners and marketing managers waste both time and money creating a presence on every digital platform. This doesn’t make sense if the vast majority of their clients are heavy users of only two or three platforms.
While integrated marketing does involve the use of multiple channels, the focus should be on where the targets actually are.
The second key is to provide opportunities for moving the viewer from that social channel to your website. Always be thinking about how you can get them back to your website.
Be clear, compelling, and consistent
Your messaging should be clear, but delivered in a way that connects with your target consumers. Tell your brand’s story and the problems you’ve solved for others in a straightforward manner that resonates with the public.
Your creativity should take advantage of the unique properties of each channel (size of images, use of video, etc.), yet remain consistent across all of them.
Messaging, graphics, fonts, colors, and photos should be consistent across online and offline channels. Inconsistency – even minor deviations from the standard – will disrupt consumer engagement with the brand while consistency across all channels will help reinforce the brand messaging.
Extend your messaging fully
Brand messaging should be extended to every aspect of your business. This may seem like a no-brainer when discussing an integrated marketing plan, but business owners/marketing managers will often forget to fold areas with high client contact (such as customer service) into their marketing plan.
Customer service is an opportunity to discuss new features and to make sure existing customers are aware of other services you offer.
Market, measure, adjust
Taking advantage of real-time analytics is a key benefit of digital marketing – one that can yield lucrative results. There are plenty of tools available for measuring analytics, so do your research to find which ones would best suit your needs.
Small business owners/marketing managers should not be afraid to retool creative when a particular online channel is not yielding the desired results.
Measure clicks on Facebook posts, traffic to your website from each source you are focusing on, and how your email list is growing for starters.
Incorporate your consumers and customers
Finally, consumers should be integrated into the marketing plan, which should include opportunities for two-way engagement, especially on social media platforms.
Consumers should be provided avenues to interact with the brand. Whether soliciting direct feedback, holding contests that incorporate the brand, or opportunities to create their own branded creative content. This generates more connection and trust with your company, something that ultimately helps increase sales opportunities.
That’s a broad overview of an integrated marketing plan. The key, again, is knowing who your ideal audience is, where they spend time online, and then developing a strategy to reach them there and move them to your website. Start small, be sure to measure, and keep at it!