The Design Division

Integrated Marketing Communications – Why All Your Elements Should Hold Hands

There are many different elements to a marketing campaign, and sometimes it can be quite difficult to see all the different strands that link each element. But it’s important for all your marketing communications to be totally integrated, and here’s why!

Integrated marketing communications is a holistic approach to marketing communications where all elements such as advertising, direct mail, posters, websites and social media all share common ground in terms of imagery, messaging and content. Preferably, they are also planned together, as one unified campaign.

The approach carries many benefits when compared to the more traditional approach of regarding each tool as a separate entity in its own right. Together, they present a compelling argument:

It simplifies an increasingly complex world. It may seem hard to credit now, but once upon a time, and not all that long ago, there was no Internet. Rewind a bit further and there was no TV either, and even when it came in it was only with a couple of channels. The world was much simpler for consumers, who got their product information from a much smaller range of channels. Happy days!

Now, we all have to contend with info coming at us from all angles – it’s estimated that we see an average of 500 marketing messages every single day! If a brand can present a unified, consistent image across each and every channel it uses, it can make life simpler for customers or prospect – and more effective for itself in terms of sales and profits.

It nurtures relationships. If people see the same thing coming out of your material, they relax and feel confident. If they keep seeing different things, they get confused, and may not even realise it’s from you. The first is a much better place to be, inspiring confidence, familiarity, loyalty and forming the basis for a relationship. Over a lifetime, that can add up to a lot of sales.

It unifies messages. Research has shown that unified, consolidated messages and images have much more impact than disparate ones. If you only have a finite budget – and who doesn’t – it’s sound economics to make every pound count by plugging the key ones as hard as you can.

It helps elements support each other. Research has also proved that images used in ads and direct mail support each other and make them more effective, measured in terms of both awareness and response. You can use them to move customers through the AIDA buying process – for example, use the ad for Attention and Interest, the complementary mailshot for Desire and Action. The repetition adds familiarity and credibility. People feel safer, and it’s less risky with you because they know you. It acts like a suit of armour for your brand when the competition come in and try to tempt them away, as inevitably they will.

In truth, integrated marketing communications is a massive subject, and I feel I could write a book about it – as some already have. For more immediate information, call 0845 230 4810.