The Value of Integrated Marketing

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For any small or medium sized business getting the marketing spend right will always be a major factor in the success of the business. There are two key elements in getting the marketing spend correct, firstly deciding how much marketing budget you are able and willing to make available to achieve your objectives and secondly deciding how to spend that money.

One approach to marketing worth considering is integrated marketing. Integrated marketing is an approach to marketing that incorporates all the individual marketing disciplines into one co-ordinated and structured campaign. These individual marketing disciples may include graphic design & branding, advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion, online marketing, public relations, affinity marketing, etc.

When developing an integrated marketing campaign it is vital to identify the key marketing message and convey that message in all communication media and marketing tactics. That marketing message may be based on identified unique sales points, a particular slogan or a special offer. Branding needs to be consistent through every element of the campaign.

Integrated marketing may not be the right way forward for every business, this will usually depend on the nature of the products or services that the business sells, the channels of distribution and the target market. For example, some online businesses will find slightly little value in offline media and will focus their spend online or smaller building companies will rely on word of mouth and listings in local directories, etc.

What integrated marketing does offer is the opportunity to reach a target market via a number of different media be it email, internet, direct marketing, advertising, public relations, etc. This in turn builds a feeling of familiarity with a company or a brand and that feeling of familiarity in turn leads to a level of trust. Trust is an important part of any business relationship and purchasing decision to be in a business to consumer or business to business environment.

The other key advantage of an integrated approach to marketing is that it avoids 'putting all your eggs in one basket'. By utilizing a number of marketing disclaimers and carefully monitoring the results a business can direct future marketing spend towards the disciples and media that has produced the best return on investment. That is an attribute worthy of consideration for any SME.

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