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5 Steps to Make Your Next Integrated Marketing Campaign More Successful

75 inches—that’s the length of a full-size mattress in the US.

I know this because I slept on one for more than half of this year. At 6’4, I was distinctly aware of this measurement from the moment I laid down. Each time I drifted off to sleep, I did so being forced to concede at least an inch (6’4 = 76 in) so that my frame could fit over my bed frame.

It wasn’t ideal, but it’s what you do when you’re cheap and someone offers a free bed and frame after you’ve just moved across the country.

But at the end of this summer I finally cracked.

Fortunately, I knew exactly where I wanted to start looking for a new mattress and frame because of how impressed I was with one particular brand’s marketing. Bob’s Discount Furniture, one of the largest furniture retailers in the nation, had recently moved to the Valley with four new locations. I knew this because they told me back in September.

They told me online through digital display and search ads. They told me on the way to work with a billboard and several radio spots over the course of the month. They even got Spotify to tell me in between sessions of Lana Del Rey and Phoebe Bridgers (let me celebrate fall my way). They knew that a young millennial like me would want decent quality furniture at the cheapest price possible, and they targeted their campaign with pinpoint precision.

This was integrated marketing orchestrated to a tee and it was the perfect way to get their brand front and center of my mind when it came time to finding an inexpensive solution for my bedtime woes.

And I’ll tell you what, thanks to integrated marketing, I sleep like a king. (King . I bought a California king).

What is integrated marketing?

If this were your run-of-the-mill digital marketing agency, I’d probably tell you something like: “Integrated marketing is a unified customer experience delivered through consistent messaging and communications strategies spanning multiple channels that capitalize on channel strengths to blah blah blah blah… But who wants to read run-of-the-mill marketing babble? Let’s think of integrated marketing this way:

Integrated marketing means telling a consistent and engaging story in a way that translates across many mediums.

For example, an artist writes a song. How will they perform the same song in an intimate coffee shop venue vs. Wembley Arena? It’s the same message, adapted to the format it’s being transmitted through.

In today’s interconnected digital world, building an integrated marketing campaign is doable for anybody. It just takes the right foundation, right strategy, and right tools. Research shows that an integrated marketing approach benefits organizations of all sizes:

  • Research conducted by Gartner found that integrated campaigns across 4+ channels outperformed single and dual-channel campaigns by 300%.
  • One study of more than 400 marketing professionals found that those using integrated campaigns were more likely to report overall campaign effectiveness, and were more likely to have increased overall marketing investments over the past 1-2 years.
  • This same study found that marketers at companies with greater than $200M annual revenue reported nearly a 3X higher effectiveness of their multichannel marketing efforts vs. those with non-integrated campaigns.
  • Companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared with 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies, according to research by Aberdeen Group.

So, how do you make an integrated marketing strategy work for your brand? We’ve outlined the 5 most important steps and demonstrated with examples from several successful brands.

1. Start with the customer.

You must start with the customer. It’s the single most important step in building any marketing strategy.

We recommend you create buyer personas to help guide your messaging and inform your channel strategies. With buyer personas, you’ll be able to articulate the most important problems your customers are trying to solve and define how your company is best suited to address them.

In the case of designer handbag company Kate Spade, navigating out of the 2008 recession and building a multi-billion-dollar brand began with defining who they wanted to be and integrating that messaging across their marketing channels, particularly in the digital space. 

Craig Leavitt, who took over as chief executive of the company in 2008, stated: “We inherited a brand with great DNA and this rich heritage that had kind of just fallen off the radar.” 

For years they had been known for stylish and colorful bags, but they lacked a full understanding of their customer persona. Who was the Kate Spade woman? What did she value? Who did she follow? Answering that started with defining who she wasn’t. 

In the words of former chief marketing officer Mary Beach: “The Kate Spade woman lives in a ten-floor walkup, but has champagne glasses. She doesn’t take hours doing all of her holiday cards perfectly, she has a glitter party with her friends.”

In other words, if Michael Kors refused to fly coach and Tory Burch had a tennis racket stuck up her ass, Kate Spade would be the American Dream personified, a New York transplant that knows if she can make it here, she can make it anywhere. 

This brand positioning answered a niche need for customers seeking personality without the pretense or the price tag. Luxury bags could have their elitists, Kate Spade would address the wider market.

2. Identify your channels.

Krista Neuhaus, Kate Spade’s senior director of digital brand marketing, said the brand was on every single social channel when she initially joined the company. Her first job was figuring out not only which channels the brand should be on and which ones it shouldn’t, but also how it should approach each individual platform.

“When I came onto the brand, Kate Spade existed on every single social channel, which was amazing, but I wanted to take that step back to figure out the why, what, and how of what we were trying to do there,” said Neuhaus. “Obviously content is key and you have to produce a lot of it, but it’s really important to figure out where you want to win, because you can’t be effective everywhere.”

While initially on Twitter for example, leadership quickly realized that the current events-driven nature of the platform didn’t necessarily align with the company’s broader goals. Likewise with Snapchat. While the app is popular with Gen Z and millennials, the type of content, unfiltered, and usually on-the-fly, didn’t feel like a platform they were suited to capitalize on. 

On the other hand, Pinterest is the perfect channel for a company that deals in curated lines of products. They’ve capitalized there with thematic boards on holiday gift guides, handbags, wedding parties, colors, and more.

Instagram also tends to be a more polished and fashion-oriented platform than other social media channels, perfect for showcasing their colorful product lines and lifestyle photography. Prioritization and channel optimization has helped them consistently maintain their visual aesthetics and brand identity. 

The most standout example, the #MissAdventure series launched in 2014, is a series of short films (5-6 mins) that have been extremely successful on YouTube featuring actresses including Anna Kendrick, Kat Dennings, Marisa Tomei, and dozens of other stars. With millions of views, the films stand-alone as interesting and engaging pieces of content. But syndication of that content across channels has helped give the series an even greater impact.

Alternate scenes and splices were available for chopping up and distributing among streaming and cable TV while stills and behind-the-scenes shots were ideally suited for social media. Display ads featuring the stars and their products were also prominently plastered around the internet, reinforcing the overall campaign’s message at every turn. 

From a year before the launch of the campaign to their acquisition by Coach for $2.4 billion in 2017, worldwide sales of Kate Spade increased nearly 70%.

When identifying what channels are ideally suited for your business, ask where your customer persona is most likely to be. Where do they go to relax? Where do they go to answer a question? What kind of buying environment is ideal for your product or service? Consider the wide range of channels across both digital and traditional.

3. Build a compelling idea.

This is where you take what you’ve learned from your customer personas and craft a singular, compelling idea that can be translated across the many channels your customer interacts with.

Let’s try another example.

Geico sells car insurance. What do most people hate about car insurance? It’s confusing. It’s boring. It’s expensive. So how does Geico address these problems? By being simple. By being entertaining. By being cheap.

Enter the gecko.

It’s a simple, singular concept. Geico sounds like gecko. Alone it’s not much, but we find it entertaining because he’s a cute, mild-mannered gecko with a pleasant accent who gets involved in funny hijinks and scenarios. Every commercial also ties back into the overarching “low-cost” value by reminding viewers “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance”.

The ingenious part of the gecko is that he also works on a subconscious level that ties directly back to the brand itself: he’s exceedingly polite, friendly, charming, and all about helping people save money on car insurance, just like Geico representatives.

Since his introduction in 1998, the gecko has been in countless campaigns that span commercials, print ads, display ads, and even his own autobiography. While all these pieces center around the gecko, the message of customer service, levity, and cost-savings always remains the same no matter the channel.

What’s more is that Geico also manages to live up to its promises. In J.D. Power’s 2020 customer satisfaction studies, Geico ranked first among large insurers for the insurance shopping experience and first for overall satisfaction in the North Central, Northwest, and Southwest regions.

Is that thanks to the gecko? No. But it’s thanks to the gecko that Geico remains imprinted in our minds as the low-cost, simple, friendly car insurance company.

4. Orchestrate your takeover.

Now, assuming you’ve defined your customer persona(s), identified your most important channels and crafted a brilliant and compelling idea, it’s time for your campaign to take flight.

And who better to demonstrate this example than Southwest Airlines?

In 2015, Southwest was losing its low-fare leadership to other airlines with deceptively low prices that were actually stuffed with hidden fees. Southwest needed to remind travelers that they not only had the lowest fares and best experience, but that Southwest cared more about their customers than the bottom line.

Enter “Transfarency”.

“Transfarency” is a made-up term meant to demonstrate how Southwest Airlines doesn’t charge you extra for bags and changing seats because, unlike other airlines, Southwest loves its customers. So how do you turn a made-up word into an entire integrated marketing campaign?

  • For starters, they launched with a Merriam-Webster style definition for the term “Transfarency” printed in their inflight magazines, along with an official, in-person announcement on their annual “media day”.
  • That same day, they launched an online press release that was then picked up and circulated among media outlets in local news as well in the business, airline, and marketing industries. 
  • On their website, the homepage was changed to emphasize the messaging and updated logo. 
  • On television, they began running a series of light-hearted spots that poked fun at other airlines and made it clear that Southwest was the friendliest, most honest airline out there. 
  • Print and digital display ads emphasized fun messaging and smiling faces, as well as a visual cost comparison to demonstrate how other airlines were frivolously charging customers. 
  • Since the Twitterverse is always rife with complaining travelers, Southwest hopped online for a day to reimburse dozens of customers from OTHER airlines who had posted about being charged unfair fees, using the hashtag #FeesDontFly. A savage move for a savage platform. 
  • On Facebook, Southwest utilized flight ads that automatically generated booking options based on user interest, pulling direct imagery, highlighted destinations, and gave an upfront price. Since Southwest didn’t add fares or extra charges, customers could feel confident knowing they would get the price they were quoted. 
  • Southwest also created a Transfarency microsite that included a “Fee or Fake” game to test customer knowledge of surprising fees encountered at other airlines as well as a “Fee Hacker” section parodying how customers can avoid fees with other airlines.

Through all of these channels and more, Southwest created a unified momentum behind the idea of “Transfarency” and then delivered exactly what they promised with low fares and a superior customer experience. By orchestrating the campaign as an integrated effort, Southwest was able to amplify its message and generate even more buzz.

5. Track and adjust.

Every campaign is only as good as the data it generates. Without metrics and trend analysis over a set period of time, you have no way of judging what works and doesn’t work. For our work with Inspirada, a nationally best-selling master-planned community builder, Agital created an integrated marketing campaign that spanned traditional and digital channels, and coalesced our reporting into one simple-to-use view. This helped us make useful insights and adjustments as the campaign progressed. We also used dynamic landing pages tracked through analytics and heatmaps to drive data-driven performance changes.

For Inspirada’s takeover of the Henderson/Las Vegas market, we followed the same steps we outlined above and produced tremendous ROI. To summarize, we:

  1. Conducted an extensive market research period to unearth audience insights.
  2. Identified channels and guided media budget allocation based on customer personas.
  3. Built a compelling brand positioning that could translate across many mediums.
  4. Used our own custom platform to engage across dozens of channels at once, fine-tuning for every medium while retaining consistent tone and messaging.
  5. Used dynamic landing pages tracked through analytics and heatmaps to improve performance and decrease conversion costs.

And as for that ROI I was talking about? Head on over to our Inspirada case study page. You’ll see why we’re such big fans of integrated marketing.

Make your next marketing campaign more successful.

Even with the right foundation, right idea, and right direction, it still takes the right tools, talent, and timeline to build and execute your integrated marketing campaign. Given the enormity of the task, it helps to have experts in your corner.

We’ve laid out some basic instructions for you here, but if you find that you need more specialized assistance and manpower, Agital is the perfect partner. We create big ideas and translate them into campaigns across a variety of industries and channels every single day. Get in touch with the Agital team now to learn how integrated marketing can make your next campaign more successful.


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