A term that seems simultaneously old and new. It seems logical, yet needing clarification. Isn’t all marketing integrated in one way or another? A layered, multi-faceted campaign is nothing new. So what exactly is an integrated marketing plan?
As a marketing or communications leader, you may have related-but-separate departments under your stewardship: public relations, advertising, social media, public affairs, government affairs, online, promotions, internal comms, each with its own objectives and challenges. And though you have a clear strategy in place for your brand, when it comes time to tackle objectives, each department or discipline retreats to their offices and creates a plan for their area. If there is cross-over, it’s typically around one-off tactics with plans diverging after that.
In integrated marketing, the activations for each discipline converge and overlap seamlessly, creating Venn Diagram-like areas of cross-over—typically within digital and social. But it’s more than just a layering of efforts; our tactics dovetail and merge with each other. PR can be fully integrated with social media. For example, we can create PR content for media outlets, designed for distribution (both earned and paid) within social. Organic created content becomes earned media. And paid advertising can tie efforts together within social channels and beyond. Best of all, the plan is developed with everyone at the table, building and collaborating in real time.
Are there still elements of department plans that live independent of others? Absolutely. But because other efforts are so tightly intertwined, all departments work through development together, creating an overall plan that’s…integrated.