Advertisers started creating integrated marketing campaigns before the term even existed. For decades, they blended television, radio, newspaper and billboards into multi-media campaigns that drove home a clever message or a compelling offer.
The same is happening today, but with completely different media channels. Websites, landing pages, direct response, email, SEM, SEO, online display, pre-roll video and social media, among other emerging categories.
Through it all, integrated marketing—often called multichannel marketing—continues to involve two key tenets:
- Maintaining a consistent, compelling message from channel to channel
- Utilizing multiple channels to ensure reach and enhance results
Increase Your ROI
Integrated marketing builds a strong brand and, with the right messaging, a loyal following. It can also reduce costs by reusing content across different channels.
The real power of integrated marketing, though, lies in improved performance.
As the marketing automation powerhouse Marketo explains, the best-performing companies are 1.5 times more likely to have an integrated approach that conveys the same message across multiple channels.
So what are the risks? Well, one is the miss-timing of the different channels. I heard this a lot when we began the paper shortage; messages that were meant to hit a mailbox shortly after the inbox were weeks late. (At Stelter we often employ a bundled approach, where an email primes, a direct response piece confirms and a follow-up email closes the loop. The timing is tight—just a week or two for the collection to arrive in donors’ hands—so any delays are detrimental.)
A second risk with multichannel is delivering mixed messages. Say, for example, you mention a capital campaign in print but fail to carry over the branding to digital. Mixed messages can erode trust and impact.
What Each Channel Does Best
Let’s look at direct mail combined with email and social media as part of an integrated marketing campaign. What role does each play?
People of all ages are engaged with social media. Popular social media channels give you an inexpensive venue for daily donor communication. Social media builds brands, establishes trust and drives engagement. Social media is now filling the role long held by television advertising: It tells people who you are and what you’re all about. A consistent presence is key.
Request your free Digital Marketing Handbook for advice on crafting your social media strategy.
When email started in the 1990s, it was almost all spam and it was not a reliable marketing tool. But with the passage of CAN-SPAM legislation and better business practices, email is now central to almost every company’s marketing efforts. Marketers like it because it’s inexpensive and highly measurable. By itself, it does not deliver tremendous results but the cost per sale or donation is always very low.
While people don’t hesitate to open an email from a sender they recognize, you don’t want to email too often and alienate your prospects. Email needs to be done in moderation and coordinated with a larger effort involving other channels.
Direct mail may be increasingly expensive, with growing printing and postage costs. It may even be slower, with new postal regulations and shortages. But it remains the bread and butter for most fundraisers. Why? For one thing, there’s less competition in the mailbox. But direct mail also carries a gravity that other channels do not. As a result, it traditionally receives greater consideration and delivers a greater response.
Put It To the Test
When selecting and combining media channels for an integrated campaign, let data be your guide. Test everything. What media and in what combination delivers the greatest return?
More often than not, your data will recommend a blanket of social media content, timely direct mail and email. This is a proven winning progression.