Integrated marketing has moved past a buzzword thrown around at industry conferences and has evolved into a viable agency marketing model due to the need for increased speed, integration of skill sets and a lack of client side resources. However, it is a term that needs more clarification about its complex definition, especially on the agency side.
But first, before you can understand what an integrated agency is, you must understand what integrated marketing is and why it’s important for brand recognition and campaign success.
Similar to omnichannel marketing, integrated marketing is an approach to marketing that uses several tactics for reaching consumers. Few, if any, brands use only one method of communication in a campaign anymore. Rather, it’s become the norm to invest in display ads, social media ads, affiliate marketing and other types of digital advertising all at once.
An integrated marketing mix is the combination of channels and services that when put together help construct a holistic digital marketing strategy. Any common combination of services in the digital marketing landscape could be considered an integrated marketing mix so long as they are working together. Common combinations like search engine optimization and email marketing can help grow your newsletters, where videography and social media management can help grow your following. Even combinations like PR and Marketing can come together in an integrated agency to yield spectacular results.
Quite simply, integrated marketing communications is all about meeting the customer where they are. Rather than simply only advertising in one channel, an integrated agency would have the capability of creating high quality user experiences across several channels. With the technical support of a web development team, creative spark of the designers, and the marketing know-how of subject matter experts an integrated team is best for ensuring your brand is fully promoted on the web.
Integrated marketing usually brings to mind the combination of multiple communication channels for a campaign like print advertising, social media and in-store efforts. While this is true, it is just the tip of the iceberg for integrated marketing. Also consider the integration of skills within a single channel. For instance, an integrated email marketing campaign can require a user experience designer to lay out the template, a designer to apply the visual theme, a programmer to tweak the code, a videographer to create the interview that is embedded in the message, a writer to create the copy, an analyst to make sense of the metrics and an account manager to make sure it all comes together on time, on budget and meets the target audience’s needs.
An Integrated Marketing Agency is simply an agency who specializes in several digital services and can produce results on a holistic strategy that takes advantage of the key strengths of different channels.
An integrated agency has distinct skill sets that can be combined to produce better and typically, more efficient results for their clients. Due to its talent and production model, an integrated marketing agency focuses on solution versus service delivery.
For example, an Integrated agency could effectively launch a PPC campaign for your brand, then take the leads generated and nurture them with an email campaign. The integrated agency would have an in-house staff of account managers and subject matter experts to effectively deliver on this cross channel strategy. The way in which teams come together is a critical aspect of success for integrated agencies.
These are some signs of a true integrated marketing agency:
An integrated marketing agency tends to be more nimble because of the diversity of skills at their disposal. This agency model can allow the firm to look at issues and opportunities through a more neutral lens since there are many ways to assist and serve changing client needs over the long term.
When an integrated marketing agency can supply most or all of the skills across the marketing spectrum, it’s a more efficient approach for the client in respect to managing consistency and use of time and budget resources.
Working with an integrated agency also puts your campaign message top of mind as users interact with your brand at multiple points throughout the day. Seeing the same or a similar message on a social media ad, then a YouTube ad, then a sponsored LinkedIn InMail post will do wonders for brand recognition over choosing one outlet for campaign distribution.
Jason Therrien is the President and CEO of thunder::tech. He is a fan of entrepreneurs and trailblazers, a proud dad and he liked scotch before Mad Men.
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