The importance of having an Integrated Marketing Strategy has increased as technological advances have altered the business environment. With the vast amount of information available to consumers at any given time, the messages which companies share with the public must be consistent and relevant across all channels. When done properly, organizations are not only able to better market to their consumer base, but also control the content of their corporate message.
A properly executed IMS creates a competitive advantage for companies who intend to increase their sales and profits. The definition of an Integrated Marketing Strategy as described by the American Association of Advertising Agencies is, “an approach to achieving the objectives of a marketing campaign through a well-coordinated use of different promotional methods that are intended to reinforce each other.” This definition lends to the ultimate goal of an IMS which is the unification of multiple departments (advertising, sales, customer service, public relations, direct marketing, sales support, etc.) to create a single brand message across all marketing channels. Accomplishing this goal allows a business to simultaneously consolidate its image, create a dialogue, and build a relationship with its consumers.
While a traditional marketing strategy would have focused much of its effort and budget within the channels of radio, print, and television; an IMS takes into consideration all channels which the selected consumer would utilize. As customers spend more time using computers and mobile devices, marketers have the ability to use multiple contact points to create brand awareness and relevancy. These strategies are especially useful for medium to small-sized firms, being the cost is greatly reduced in comparison to traditional marketing methods.
The following trends can be linked to the increasing need for a properly executed Integrated Marketing Strategy:
- The move from traditional mass marketing channels (radio, television, and print) to more modern communications (websites, and social media).
- Consumers becoming increasingly favorable of marketing through niche media, which takes consideration of their individual needs and interests.
- The increase in internet literacy, access, and use for commerce by consumers.
- Businesses becoming increasingly accountable for all marketing activities.
- Many industries have shifted from being run by the manufactures to being run by retailers. (As retailers are those who are on the frontlines communicating with consumers)
- Word of mouth communication has become a major consideration for businesses because of the worldwide use of social media.
These trends make integrating your marketing strategies with the proper mix of consistent channels imperative in today’s business world.