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Back to the future.

The baseline understanding of

integrated marketing is in a flux in today's complex media universe. Having said that, the core principle of integrat-

ing all the promotional tools so that they work together in sync holds true even with the current dynamics. The core issue in getting integrated

solutions right is the challenge of getting your communication tools to work as a composite, intertwined unit with a unified objective, rather than working on each media channel in isolation. The peril in this approach is that, more often than not, the sum of parts is not greater than the whole.

Drilling down to the basics this process combines all the available mediums including print, TV, outdoor, in-store promotions, digital, social, etc. in a campaign to ensure that a unified brand message is heard loud and clear by the greatest possible number within the target audience. It's that simple.

The mounting dominance of digital marketing and the keenness of marketers towards data and technology-led solutions have given agencies a fantastic opportunity to integrate campaign results with analytics and CRM. However, in their eagerness to try new things, a lot of brands forget to safeguard the fundamentals against the flow of technology. The medium of marketing could be traditional or digital, but we still need to outline clear-cut objectives, define the target audience and set appropriate measurement metrics.

Digital has evolved from a medium used to gain attention from random people to a medium used consistently over a period of time to target a specific audience. It's a medium not just to attract but also to inspire and grow the audience base. Without proper integrated planning and business goal identification, digital marketing remains a mere concept. In my opinion, rather than spending marketing dollars on creating fancy elements like 'micro sites' or 'social media communities', the focus should be on identifying the real business problem, which in turn would drive us to select the required digital marketing platform.

A few typical issues could be:

Do we focus more on pay-per-click than on social, as that's giving a better conversion?

Do we need to increase spends on email marketing and leverage the database generated through in-store promotions?

Do we run a video sustenance campaign alongside the TV burst to achieve exponential reach?

This is where an integrated campaign comes in handy; it helps us in decoding the right media at the right time. Since digital media is a progressing domain, and as marketing dynamics keep fluctuating, it needs to be revisited time and again.

Integrated marketing communi- cations (IMC) ensures a two-way dialogue with customers, which is a must for all businesses. Customer feedback on all owned channels such as websites and social media handles need to be monitored well to make them relevant in the long

run. Remember, customer feedback is valuable and needs to be evaluated carefully. Gone are the days when marketers used to rely only on any one form of advertising and simple promotions to make their brand popular among end-users. In the current scenario of cutthroat competition, marketers need to promote their brands across multiple digital touch points effectively and integrate relevant tools for digital analytics. This will ensure better results and improved productivity. IMC plays an essential role in delivering a unified message to end-users through various digital channels and thus has better chances of attaining the overall campaign objectives.

Ways to create a successful integrated campaign:

Clear understanding of your target audience: It is extremely important to identify demographic and psychographic factors. This will help in defining the key messaging and selecting the best communication channels.

Pick relevant channels: Be ruthless in selecting (and rejecting) channels. It's better to be visible on effective digital media channels rather than to be almost invisible everywhere.

Maintain consistent communica- tion: Brand identity should be consistent on each and every piece of that campaign communication. A consumer should be able easily to establish a visual connection in a Facebook post, an emailer and an online banner.

Multi-channel content: Master communication should be flexible enough to fit into a 30-second YouTube video, a LinkedIn post, a direct emailer or an online banner. This will prove to be extremely cost effective and should be planned well in advance.

Define individual platform KPIs: In order to measure the digital media effectiveness of a platform and its role in achieving the desired objective, it is important to define KPIs in detail.

Never forget to track: The most important aspect of any campaign, especially digital integrated campaigns, is to ensure implemen- tation of proper digital analytics tools and attribution models.

In essence a successful and effective integrated campaign should be a great combination of technology and strong marketing fundamen- tals. It would be prudent to always remember that in order to be future proof one must first become past perfect.

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Publication:Campaign Middle East
Date:Nov 19, 2017
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