Why Retailers Need an Integrated Marketing Strategy

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

integrated-marketingThe growth of communications technology during the past century has created a multitude of ways for business owners to communicate with the consumer. When print, radio, and television ads were first introduced, these changes came gradually enough that it was easy for business owners to integrate each tool into their larger marketing plan. The last 20 years however have seen an explosion of communication technology as computers, the internet, and mobile devices have taken center stage. While this has created a lot of opportunities, marketers often find themselves running disparate campaigns on social media, websites, TV ads and so on. This can lead to an ad campaign being less effective that it potentially could be. This article will show why retailers need an integrated marketing strategy.

Business owners and marketers still spend the most on TV ads but they’re also spending a lot of money trying to reach customers through the internet. According to a recent study from eMarketer, US retailers will spend $7.7 billion on online and mobile paid search, classifieds, online directories, and email ads in 2014. And according to Forrester Research, search, display, mobile, email, and social media advertising will account for 26 percent of all advertising spending by 2016.

There is certainly a lot of money being spent on online advertising, but it doesn’t mean the ads are having the reach and effect that marketers want. In a staggering figure, Nielsen reported that 49 percent of online ads are never viewed. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the takeaway for marketers is that they need to make sure the ads that are seen have an effect on the audience.

The internet has fundamentally changed the way that consumers learn about products and how they interact with companies. Until the internet, the lion’s share of advertising was unidirectional. The marketing message came to the user (in the form of a TV spot or radio ad) and the user made their decisions based on the ad and the occasional recommendation from friends. There are now a multitude of ways for people to find information to help them make buying decisions.

“Consumers no longer sit back and respond to inbound messaging,” explained Abid Chaudhry, senior director of industry strategy and insight, BIA/Kelsey. “They lean in and evaluate how and where they will spend their money by reading consumer reviews, reviewing websites, viewing images, watching videos and tapping into their social networks for ideas and recommendations.”

Besides the benefit of increased reach, an integrated marketing strategy has the advantage of reinforcing a marketing message on the multiple channels that a user visits. Very few people only watch TV, or only use the internet. So integrated marketing strategies targeted to a specific demographic will reach some members of the demographic in both locations. This is reflected in what Nielsen found in a recent study. The average integrated marketing campaign including TV and online video reaches 7.6 percent of its intended audience via both.

In this way, integrated marketing campaigns can resonate with consumers in a way that a single advertisement can’t. Integrated marketing certainly has the same goal increased sales, but the resonating messages make it better able to raise sales through brand advertising. As one Nielsen executive explained, it’s this resonating connection that leads to greater profits.

“The goal of brand advertising is to positively influence brand opinions, generate brand lift, and ultimately impact sales,” said Dan Beltramo Nielsen’s Executive Vice President of Product Leadership and Marketing Effectiveness. “Simply being viewed proves only that someone saw it, not that they connected with it.”

In the end, even with all the new technology for marketing communications, the success of any campaign depends on it’s ability to resonate with the audience. It’s possible to achieve this with a single viewing of the single ad, but more often than not, it takes the consumer multiple views of an ad on multiple channels to drive them to action. This is why an integrated marketing campaign is essential; it ensures the maximum reach of a consistent message. As new technology emerges, business owners and marketers need to be on the lookout for new tactics they can use to integrate their marketing channels.

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