What gets your business from A to B doesn’t necessarily take it from B to C.

When a business first starts out, it is generally recommended to focus on a small number of activation based marketing tactics and build outwards.

After all there is only so much time in the day and resources.

This approach works great to get a business going, but will soon generate communication silos unless you take action and create an integrated communications strategy.

Businesses can also struggle if the business become reliant on their performance to deliver sales.

This is why thought leaders such as Professor Mark Ritson recommend using a broad mix of marketing channels to build a brand as part of an integrated marketing plan.

the prudent approach is to invest across as many channels as your budget will allow.

We’re going to cover:

  • Why an integrated marketing approach is important for the growth of your business
  • Why you should think in terms of the strategy
  • Why you shouldn’t focus purely on individual tactics

Let’s start with an example

Let’s say you run an estate agency and you’ve decided to use Google ads.

You target just your local area and you’ve opted for high intention keywords.

These might work great, delivering you 5-10 leads and 1 - 2 deals per month consistently.

There is unlikely to be a sudden growth in search volume of these queries. Even if you bid more...

You’re still only going to reach a capped number of searches.

The nature of property sales is that you are unlikely to get repeat business anytime soon, so you are always chasing the next deal.

However, Search is only delivering you the same number of deals each month...

You need something extra.

From One Marketing Channel to Many

Your business has outgrown this one individual tactic. It is obvious that in order to continue to grow, that new complementary advertising channels are needed.

Bad marketers in this situation would now pick whatever the hottest new marketing trend is. Facebook ads are hot now right? Maybe some radio?

A good marketer recognises that to continue to grow long term, a business needs to start building a brand.

This is achieved through an integrated marketing strategy which incorporates both direct response advertising as well as long term brand building activities.

Seth Godin defines a brand as:

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.

Research conducted by Binet & Field in their book The Long and the Short of It delved into this. The graph below demonstrates how large organisations such as Nike, Apple and Nestle are have built using both brand and performance marketing.

Upfront spend on sales activation delivered a sales uplift for each campaign.

However, you can clearly see that over the longer term brand building activities eclipsed sales activation, delivering far more value to the business.

That’s not to say activation activities don’t have their own place, they certainly do. Field and Binet recommend a budget split of 60% on long term brand building and 40% on more immediate activation activities.

Integrated marketing Strategy In Practice

Your integrated multi-channel marketing strategy should include both short term activation tactics and long term brand building activities.

To do this you are going to need to test new advertising channels. Check out our blog on testing new marketing channels which gives you a framework for approaching this.

Outdoor advertising is one of the channels that works effectively in building a brand. Car Quids has worked with many brands using integrated marketing channels to deliver results.

Integrated marketing plan example

Ola Cabs used Car Quids as part of their marketing mix for city launches across Bristol, Exeter and Cardiff.

In combination with a variety of out of home advertising for their mobile app, Ola Cabs used street teams, door drops and App store optimisations to drive downloads of their app. Though Ola is an online business, they recognised why they should use outdoor advertising

Putting together Your Integrated Marketing Plan

Businesses growth strategies change as the business grows. One core concept will continue - using a variety of channels to reach an audience and constantly testing new channels.

The three key takeaways are:

  • Do not put all of your marketing budget into one channel to make you grow
  • Focus on strategies and not individual tactics and channels
  • Building a brand will create better outcomes when paired with short term activation than activation alone