Integrated marketing is one of the most touted phrases in today’s multi-channel world. If you Google it, 600 million+ results pop up in less than a second. Twenty years ago, the phrase referred to unifying different marketing disciplines (advertising, PR, direct mail, etc.) to serve one strategy. Today, most use it to describe online and offline channels working together to create a seamless consumer experience.
So everyone talks about it and tries to define it, but does it exist?
The truth is, not really – at least not the way it should, and can. We all know that in today’s disrupted marketing landscape there are more places than ever to spend dollars, and the pressure to create campaigns that integrate multiple channels and then deliver stellar results is unrelenting. But the typical way of planning and executing a campaign remains very dis-integrated.
It doesn’t matter whether all channels are managed by one agency or one department under one brand promise. Disparate teams with differing points of view and separate budgets and KPIs make true integration impossible.
Consider the national arts and crafts retailer that was experiencing low store traffic, poor participation in its loyalty program and declining sales, despite a massive number of discount offers. Multiple vendors owned creative strategy, content production and execution, which made it difficult to combine and assess data. The retailer didn’t know who its customers were.
Or an $8 billion consumer packaged foods company that saw profits dip as its brands, managed by different vendors, struggled to differentiate themselves and compete with online grocery sources. An e-commerce site set up for consumers to order military care packages was handled by a third party that then took a share of profits but didn’t share customer data. This hampered an effective customer loyalty program.
Or the CMO of a national outdoor retailer who was frustrated by his team’s inability to keep up with the content demands of so many channels. “Our business is providing solutions to our customers, not marketing services,” he complained. Processes for new channels, cobbled onto the initial ones for traditional channels, had created loop-backs and extra steps that slowed marketing content speed to market. Missed marketing opportunities meant sales started to slip.
Clearly, there are disparate moving parts to any marketing campaign today, and bringing them together to increase marketing spend effectiveness is challenging. Companies need data-driven consumer insights, digital channels coordinated with offline channels, consistent content ‒ and a lot of it – and creative strategy paired with execution. When these do come together, it creates a truly integrated marketing campaign, like these:
1. Arts and crafts retailer – We dug into the data, POS systems and loyalty programs to assess what was driving results. We discovered that, contrary to our client’s assumption that its target audience was made up of women, a majority of active customers were men. We also used the data to re-evaluate the media spend and to develop a refreshed marketing campaign that unified tactics across channels, added engagement tactics such as a color quiz and a national art contest, and reduced the number of coupons. We produced all content for the new campaign and executed it (in-store, email, direct mail, website, landing pages and retail inserts). Sales rose by 4.9 percent after the new campaign was fully implemented.
2. Consumer packaged foods company – We built an online portal for the company’s e-commerce, taking it away from the third-party platform, and expanded the military care package program to allow customers to upload photos and messages to personalize package sleeves. We also helped the company manage and analyze customer data, using those insights to develop a media plan/buying program that targeted primary users. Buzz around the campaign and e-commerce site increased repeat purchases and new customers.
3. National outdoor retailer – We did a deep dive and analyzed content creation across multiple departments, then reorganized it into a single content hub, facilitating collaboration. We provided onsite assistance to design, create and activate content at scale, including ads, catalogs and digital. As a result, we cut 44 workflow steps and saved three weeks in the content creation timetable.
What does Quad know about solving issues like these? We know what to do exactly because of our foundation in print. Our business has always been about getting things done ‒ creating millions of pieces of content and using data to deliver them into the right consumers’ hands.
Over more than four decades, this has required a commitment to streamlining workflow, processes and logistics; expanding into digital channels to amplify our clients’ print messaging; developing increasingly sophisticated consumer insights and data to drive direct mail; and always incorporating ROI measurement into our deliverables. Along with that we’ve grown our content creation capabilities until we are now the largest onsite provider of content, working in-house with our clients at businesses across the U.S.
The truth about integrated marketing is that it delivers results when it’s truly integrated, and that you can’t create a seamless consumer experience if your marketing supply chain isn’t seamless.