Remember the really cool science experiment to make a volcano? You use simple ingredients like baking soda and dish soap. On their own they work for baking and cleaning, no wow factor. But when you combine the two you get a volcanic eruption. Pretty cool.

Marketing works in much the same way. If only one channel or technique is used to promote the business, firm, or product, many find they get so-so results and come to the conclusion  that whatever channel or technique they used didn’t work. Unfortunately, this happens all too frequently and some marketing gets a bum rap.

The magic with marketing happens when you take an integrated marketing approach. Much like our volcano experiment, when you combine the right ingredients (marketing channel or technique) you’ll see an eruption in your results. Research shows that consumers must be exposed to your message multiple times before they notice you. It also helps to reach people in more than one way, as integrated marketing’s use of various channels and means to deliver your message also helps to reach people who have different learning styles. Someone may see an ad and have it barely register in their subconscious, but when they see a detailed description or recommendation through another source it clicks. Somehow they remember hearing about the product so they know it and now they have another message that hits them to ignite the volcano. Magic.

What does this mean? When you are working on your strategic marketing plan, you must expand your horizons. Look closely at the channels used by your current customers and those you would like to be customers. Even though integrated marketing requires multiple channels, you should only include as many channels as you can do well and consistently. This will vary based on whether you are a B2B or B2C company. The demographics of your customer base will also have an impact, with younger age groups more likely to respond to social media and mobile marketing channels.

Plan campaigns that will touch each person a minimum of 4-6 times and use more than one channel. Many people run to the web, social media, TV, direct mail, newspaper, or radio first. These are all good options depending on who you are trying to reach. But don’t neglect to have a strong, consistent Customer Relationship Management & Marketing (CRM&M) campaign, it is one of the most cost efficient marketing tools to increase business. If your business is referral based, also include a Professional Relationship Management & Marketing (PRM&M) campaign.

Be consistent with your branding and message. To make magic, your message and brand must be recognizable from channel to channel so people can make the connection in their minds. Monitor campaign effectiveness; don’t be afraid to adjust campaigns that are not working as well as you’d like. Converting new customers is frequently a numbers game—it all comes down to planning and effectively executing on those integrated marketing plans.

Think about how you can incorporate these ideas into your marketing strategy to improve your results. Questions and comments are welcome. Please share any success stories or challenges as well.

Author: Jeanne Frazer