In our post, which looks at whether CRO or SEO comes first, generating new website visitors or converting existing ones, we ended on the realisation, that most marketers really want (and need) to do both:

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So, in this post, we’re going to explore the topic of integrated marketing.

What is it?

Integrated marketing is, “combining different marketing channels in a coherent way to achieve a common objective”.

Sounds simple, right? Just point all your marketing resources at the same goal and, bingo, you’ve got integrated marketing.

Yes, and no.

Yes, when you remove all the complexity and jargon, it is that simple. But in reality, integrated marketing takes a bit more effort.

Agreeing on a common objective

When managed by separate teams, email, social, search and display can all be focused on achieving different things, and expect different things from their colleagues.

For example, an email marketer is often most obsessed about click-rate. And she expects her colleagues in search to be promoting content that generates newsletter sign-ups. Whereas, the social media marketer in the same business, is often most obsessed with followers or retweets. And she expects her colleagues in search to be promoting content that’s going to get shared most often.

You can see the confusion that results when you extrapolate this out to include marketers who are responsible for display advertising, print, and even TV or radio. Everyone’s fighting for what they believe is the most important thing, but no one sees eye-to-eye.

We’ve found that 99.9% of the time, the one unifying metric for all marketers is revenue. It’s obvious when you think about it; all marketing activity is ultimately designed to generated sales and revenue. Yes, even social media.

Choosing the right channels

Not every marketing challenge needs the kitchen sink thrown at it. So the integrated marketer needs to select their channels correctly – not only at a macro level, like including or discounting all social media, but selecting channels more tactically. For example, if you’re targeting a business-to-business audience, you might discount Pinterest but include LinkedIn.

Organisational Design

Integrated marketing really requires integrated teams. Putting your email marketers in a different location with different line management to your search marketers is crazy if you expect them to work together to achieve the same goal.

Before you start planning your advertising budgets, think about putting in place tools and technology that make it easy for the teams to talk and share ideas. Webex, Gotomeeting, or an actual room all work well. And then give the team a common line manager, who can provide consistent guidance.

Measurement and KPIs

In an integrated marketing campaign, different channels have different jobs. But all too often, Marketers measure them the same way.

In a comparison between Display Banners (0.25% CTR is pretty good) and AdWords (10% CTR is pretty good), AdWords is the clear winner.

But it’s not a fair fight.

Display Banners are ‘awareness’ devices, they are designed to interrupt a user and show them something they weren’t necessarily looking for. AdWords is direct response. AdWords shows the user something they were explicitly searching for.

The easiest way to start measuring channels differently is to create, what we call, a measurement framework. The measurement framework should clearly state what the channel’s job is in the user’s buying journey and provide a target to beat.

When Integrated Marketing Goes Wrong

It does, which is OK. Marketing is a game of proving hypotheses. But what’s boggling is how easily the errors could have been averted.

I’m not in the game of pointing fingers at other people’s misfortune, so rather than name and shame, I’ll just describe some campaigns that haven’t been as integrated as they might like:

  • The underground tube station poster with a QR code call to action
  • The live event that has no on-demand video option
  • The TV advert that says “search for [insert vanity phrase here]” that has no PPC setup to catch the traffic

As you can see, all of these hiccups are resolvable. In most instances, a quick conversation or a meeting with the right people would have been enough.

An Integrated Campaign I Like

The console games market is massive. And it’s super competitive, even in sub categories.

Sports gaming and more specifically, Football (soccer, if you must) is a category that I think EA Sports have won through clever, clever integrated marketing.

The campaign to promote their latest edition, Fifa 16, is something astonishing. It is integrated, multi-channel and very well executed.

The game is released every September, and there’s always lots of fan debates on what’s coming with the latest release.

EA Sports did a great job of piggy-backing on this surge in interest by gamifying the design of the game’s cover. Starting in June, and in 5 regions around the globe, EA let the fans pick who appeared on the cover.

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And the teams of the players shortlisted got behind their players, which increased the reach of the campaign exponentially, sparked a PR frenzy and caused a heated debate on social media.

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Around the same time in June, the Women’s World Cup was being played. And because of the FA’s published, Game Changer strategy, EA Sports marketing campaign made the most of the increased attention and exposure to the women’s game by adding women to the Fifa game for the first time ever, and deploying a paid search campaign to promote this.

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On top of some wise social media and PR-backed moves, EA Sports have invested in very joined up content marketing initiatives that are all designed to build desire for the product ahead of launch. The latest being a playable demo that is accompanied by tutorial video content showing how to see some of the new game’s features.

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The integrated content, social and search activities have led the gaming press to champion Fifa 16 as one of the most anticipated, and more importantly, most pre-ordered games so far this year.

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And the integrated campaign goes right through to point of purchase, with some heavyweight promotion on Amazon:

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What Can We Learn From EA Sports?

Granted, EA Sports have a marketing budget that’s bigger than some countries’ GDP, but as marketers, we can all see the principles they’ve applied to making their integrated campaign work:

  • The campaign has a clear common goal (no pun intended), which is sales and revenue
  • The channels have been chosen wisely, to maximise reach and engagement
  • The efforts are clearly being coordinated, which also suggests the right KPIs are in place internally

These principles, we believe, can be applied to every digital marketing strategy – regardless of size or budget.