The Great Integration: Marketing Communications

What is true integrated marketing communications anyway? We are all familiar with the term. For most of us, it means logo consistency and, for larger organizations, centralizing all marketing functions; but this doesn’t even begin to encompass all that is integrated marketing communications.

It was a term coined by concept-creator and developer Don Schultz, a marketing professor at Northwestern University. Simply put, integrated marketing communications means ensuring all of your communication assets and messaging are working in concert with one another in order to enhance their collective effectiveness, making the most out of your capital investment.


Your direct mail, email, and social media campaigns should be cohesive and command equally valuable engagement. Forbes disclosed their secrets on how to execute a winning integrated marketing communications plan. Here are 3 big takeaways:

  1. Pinpoint campaign goals and predict possible limitations. Know your mission, resources for and potential challenges of each campaign.
  2. Creativity gets the square. Be simultaneously informed and innovative.
  3. Communicate or bust. Is the message clearly and consistently communicated through all channels, including internally throughout all of your organization’s staff?


If you advertise but fail to connect your advertisement with your channels and contact information, you’re coming up short in the integration game. For profits caught onto this years ago. Take a look at Bed, Bath & Beyond’s latest mailer; within a matter of seconds you will be able to pinpoint their various social media platforms and how to reach whomever you may need to.

It very well could be that you have a handle on integrating your channels already. So what’s next? Integrating your messaging.

Have you ever been so completely laser-focused on and consumed by a new capital campaign that you neglected to include information about other contribution opportunities – sometimes better-suited – for your audience? These are missed integration opportunities. One message for all, not all for one.

Your campaigns must all be united through both their visuals and messaging. Sending a stand-alone campaign can cause questions and confusion amongst your donors. These feelings of weariness are the antithesis of what true integrated marketing communications should produce.

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Take note from our friends at Feeding America. All communications—print, web and through to their social—they have a unified brand and message, no matter the campaign.

When it’s done right, integrated marketing communications create feelings of comfort, security, and synergy for everyone fortunate enough to be involved. You don’t have to be a part of a big nonprofit to benefit from and appreciate all that is integrated.

So, how do you integrate? We want to hear what works for you and your organization.

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