Stronger together: the case for integrating your marketing channels

Ben Shipley, Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer, Ovato

With more channels to use than ever before, brands that choose only a handful miss out on the massive advantages of integrated marketing.

Don Schultz, the father of integrated marketing, developed research approaches that proved the benefit of multiple campaigns integrated across media channels is greater than the sum of each channel’s benefits when used independently.

Put simply, it’s essential to get your marketing messages out across a range of channels. Applying this approach stops you from leaning on one channel too heavily and suppressing your reach. It also allows you to tailor messaging for audiences who are exposed to your brand in different ways at different times.

More channels, more people, more amplification

Sticking to one platform because it’s working for you makes sense in theory. But it also means there’s a huge number of potential customers on other channels that you simply won’t reach.

Consider the channels you use in your own life, and how you consume media on each one. On a commute to work (now a distant memory) or waiting for a takeaway coffee, you’re most likely to be on your phone. You might scroll through Instagram or watch a short video. At home on a weekend, maybe you’ll sit down and flick through a catalogue or read a longer article during an idle moment.

Placing different elements of the same idea in different places has a network effect that is far greater than an individual channel. You don’t miss out on reaching someone reading industry blogs on their lunch break because you’ve pushed all your budget to TV. And brands get stronger results when they are present across multiple channels thanks to the additive effects on customers of seeing you across many channels.

Rationalising spend in one channel to engage with an entirely new audience is a great way to get yourself in front of a brand-new audience who might be keen to hear from you, or further solidify your place with existing customers.

Embracing the challenge

All too often we find ourselves doing something because it’s “what we’ve always done.” The familiar is comfortable and we find it difficult to motivate ourselves to do something different.

But the most effective brands are constantly trying new things and extending their messages to customers in different ways. Brands who want to be on the cutting edge and reach audiences everywhere can’t afford to ignore emerging channels because they don’t understand them, or because they’re used to traditional media.

Embracing new channels also allows you to put your brand where your audiences are already spending time. Adidas, Xbox and PlayStation are just some of the brands who have found a home on Spotify. With over 280 million users on the platform, these brands are reaching potential customers by curating themed playlists and collaborating with well-known musicians and performers whose brands tie-in well with what they’re selling. Even McDonalds has unique playlists for different countries and moments. Of course, none of these brands rely only on Spotify to reach customers. It’s part of an integrated marketing strategy that lets them build the brand via new applications of the same messaging – McDonald’s is local, family-friendly and part of fun food moments - in different ways.

Trying something new can get the creative juices flowing and extend your brand to new customers. Think of the makers of the video game Fortnite, who hosted a free concert within the game that was viewed by more than 12 million people, attracting music fans and gamers alike in huge numbers.

Ultimately, it’s about selling yourself to more people, and making yourself stand out from the crowd really helps. Find your voice, make it unique, and take it to the people.

Change the channel

Facebook, one of the most marketing-dominated platforms in the world, is facing a boycott. Advertisers are pulling ad spend as a protest on its position on hate speech and other unresolved issues. The protest has grown to include well-known brands such as Coke, Unilever, Microsoft. However, as spend is yanked it needs to go elsewhere, which is a great illustration of why you need to have more than one way of reaching your customer base.

If any of those brands had relied solely on social media for effective reach and sales conversion, they’d be looking at a rapid change in strategy, a massive impact on bottom line and a drop in awareness. And regardless of the boycott, social and digital channels are known for changing their algorithms with little notice, leaving advertisers scrambling to recover reach.

These kinds of unexpected moves are a key reason why you should have a diverse marketing channel output. Getting caught by a wave of consumer sentiment or an arbitrary change in an algorithm can have an outsized impact on your marketing if you’re relying too heavily on one channel in particular. Spreading the load leaves you less vulnerable to a single change or event.

Tipping the scales

Being able to reach more people through more channels is a win for every marketer and brand. There’s simply no downside to being able to offer your product to more people in different places. It’s very hard to cover your potential market with just a handful of channels if you want to achieve scale.

You need to go to the customer; you can’t expect the customer to come to you.

Interested in learning more about integrating your marketing? Speak to us today.