The Power of an Integrated Marketing Campaign: How to Make 1 + 1 = 3

By Lisa Ross President & Partner, rbb Communications | November 18, 2018

When integrated marketing communications was first introduced decades ago, many marketers deemed it as a phase with no lasting-power. Since then, it has managed to become the go-to approach for forward-thinking companies, especially as technology has evolved to play a key role in the way consumers live, acquire information and interact with brands. I strongly believe in the power of delivering an integrated message to consumers across all channels in a brand's arsenal.  Businesses that recognize the importance of this will reap the rewards.

Integrated marketing campaigns can effectively transform a company's relationships with its customers, regardless of the industry.  The most successful integrated programs assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect are relevant and consistent over time.  This means that no matter where your audience sees your message -- a magazine ad, newspaper article, direct mail flyer, social media post, or sales commercial – it is presented with clarity and consistency to tell a cohesive brand story.

Integrated marketing is planning communications using key brand images and messages in combination with different channels ranging from advertising, direct mail and public relations to sales promotion and social media for maximum penetration with target audiences. Finding the proper mix of messages, content and platforms to surround target audiences with brand communications can engage consumers and help move them through the multiple stages of the booking process. This effort requires time, commitment and resources, but it's worth the benefits it delivers. Competitive advantage, sales boost and increased profits are just a few of the reported outcomes from smart marketers.

Think about it, all of the world's leading brands – Nike, Amazon, Starbucks - have a constant image and message, and they speak consistently with one voice all of the time, every time. One of the most prolific companies in the history of marketing is Coca-Cola, which also was among the early adopters of using integrated marketing to reach and impact its consumers' lives. The universally recognized brand often optimizes the use of different marketing tactics. According to this case study , Coca-Cola uses web-based interactive marketing as well as public relations, banners, video and more to engage with its customers.  Online games, and social, cultural and sporting events also are part of the company's marketing mix and have all become the focus of the brand's website content. Despite the use of different tactics, the brand's message remains the same, and its steady commitment to consumer engagement is a key focus in each campaign that allows it to continually increase customer loyalty.

Here are a few reasons to consider a move to integrated marketing:

1.     Stronger Results

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.