A clear, consistent marketing plan that works across every channel from Twitter to a newspaper ad is the dream yet too many businesses are falling down at the first hurdle. Here are 5 ways that any business can improve their integrated marketing plans.
1. Write them down and show them to someone
This sounds trivially obvious but many business owners and marketing team leaders carry their vision in their heads. This makes it difficult for others to access, and also makes it hard to work through it logically and prioritize. Whether you’re a one-man-band or heading up a team of hundreds, writing your plan down and discussing it with a trusted colleague will help you quickly spot flaws and inconsistencies as well as prioritize key elements and discard ineffective or outdated ideas. Once you’ve got a written document, you can easily share your brand vision with anyone who needs to know – logo designers, social media experts or your colleagues.
Try something new and measure the results. Expert advice is based on experience, ideally from doing exactly that: trying something that ought to work and finding out if it actually does. The digital age is a dream for integrated marketing solutions as it gives a previously unprecedented level of insight. For example, with as little as £10 you can start testing the effectiveness of a business name, ad campaign or slogan. Advertising networks like GoogleAds make it easy to run a split campaign – for example, two ads that are identical apart from the headline – and see which is more effective in real time. As long as you listen to the data, experimentation can give your integrated marketing a real boost across the board.
2. Be selective
We live and work in an era of mass communication. When you factor in niche social networks and sites, such as industry-specific forums, professional networks and regional sites, there are so many options to choose from that simply signing up to all of them would be a full time job. As a result, the single most effective thing you can do to improve your integrated marketing is to focus your attention. If Twitter isn’t working because all your clients are on Facebook or LinkedIn, abandon it. If you don’t have time to Instagram regularly, redirect your attentions elsewhere.
4. Plan your content for multiple channels
We’re not suggesting you only Tweet links to your Facebook page, but when you’re creating or commissioning new content, ensure it’s easy to use across multiple channels. As an example, a small business in a design led field (such as kitchen fitting) might ask a customer to let them share images of their finished work. Prepare and watermark the images so that they can easily be shared on Instagram, embedded in a longer blog post and shared on Facebook but also make sure you retain high resolution unmarked images in case you extend the campaign to print or get asked to feature in a magazine.
5. Keep a record and review performance
Treat every campaign as an experiment and gather the data to assess its effectiveness. This review stage is one critical step that separates high performing integrated marketing plans from duds. Every time you assume that a campaign element will work simply because of the prestige of the channel (an advert in an industry leading magazine, for example), the history behind it (you’ve done it every year for a decade) or because it seems obvious (a half-price offer should obviously attract more customers) you lose a chance to understand how your marketing works and how to improver your return on investment in the future.
Too much to think about? Call an expert
At boxChilli we create and implement integrated marketing plans for businesses of all sizes. We’re ready to put our expertise to work to improve your business so if you have any questions about what you’ve read or what you should do next, please get in touch.