What Is Integrated Marketing? A Complete Guide with Examples

Asif Ali

Oct 11, 202313 min read
What Is Integrated Marketing? A Complete Guide with Examples

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Imagine a video editing software brand.

Their Twitter bio reads: “An affordable video editor for marketing teams at startups.”

And their website says: “Video editor for SMBs and Fortune 500 companies.”

Do you see the difference in how they describe themselves on two channels?

There’s a lack of consistency in their messaging. And it can lead to confusion among their audience.

Integrated marketing helps solve this problem.

In this article, we’ll discuss: 

  • How integrated marketing can help your business
  • How to create an integrated marketing strategy
  • How to develop an integrated marketing campaign

Let’s start with the basics.

What Is Integrated Marketing?

Integrated marketing ensures your business delivers a consistent message across all channels. It can enhance your brand recall (how well people remember your brand). 

This is achieved through integrated marketing communications, which strategically combine various forms of media—TV ads, print articles, digital content, and even billboards—to create a cohesive brand message.

The idea is to use these media channels in a coordinated manner to ensure your brand message remains unified and consistent. No matter where your audience sees it.

For instance, do you remember Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign from 2011? 

The company replaced its logo with common names like “John” and “Emily.”

The campaign was a huge hit. It’s also a great example of integrated marketing.

Coca-Cola’s messaging was consistent across TV ads:

Youtube video thumbnail

Social media:

Coca-Cola's social media ad

Source: Twitter

And the product itself.

Coca-Cola's bottles on the shelf

Source: Wikipedia

Thanks to this campaign, Coke sold more than 250 million named bottles and cans in Australia alone that summer.

Why Is Integrated Marketing Important?

With so many channels and markets to consider, an integrated marketing strategy is more important than ever. This is because it:

  • Builds trust: A consistent message across all channels reinforces your brand’s reliability. When customers encounter the same message everywhere, they’re more likely to trust its authenticity.
  • Maximizes reach: By broadcasting a unified message across multiple channels, you can reach a broader audience than you would with isolated, single-channel campaigns
  • Optimizes resources: Crafting one strong message and adapting it for various platforms is more efficient than creating new messaging for each channel
  • Streamlines analytics: Tracking a consistent message across various channels allows for direct comparisons of its effectiveness on each platform. This simplifies data analysis and offers a comprehensive view of the campaign’s overall impact.
  • Boosts customer engagement: A consistent message reduces confusion and resonates better with audiences. When customers understand and relate to your brand’s message, they’re more likely to engage with it.
  • Strengthens brand identity: Consistent messaging helps make your brand more memorable, solidifying your brand’s identity

Now that you know why you need an integrated marketing strategy, let’s discuss how to create it.

How to Create an Integrated Marketing Strategy

An integrated marketing campaign is a short-term, focused initiative aimed at achieving specific objectives. Conversely, an integrated marketing strategy is a long-term, overarching plan. 

Before you plan your integrated marketing campaigns, you must have a strategy in place. This will keep your campaigns in sync with the company’s goals and long-term vision.

Here’s how to create an integrated marketing strategy.

Define Your Target Audience and Build Personas

You can develop more compelling marketing messages by defining your target audience. The better you understand your audience, the more relevant and personalized your messaging can be.

Start by analyzing your existing customer data with tools like Google Analytics to identify common demographics and behaviors.

You can also use audience research tools like One2Target to gain insight into your competitors’ audiences (which will likely be similar to your own audience). 

Open One2Target, enter your competitor’s website, and click “Analyze.”

"amazon.com" entered into One2Target search bar

You’ll see four types of reports:

One2Target's reports tabs highlighted
  • Demographics: Shows broad demographic information, like your audience’s age, sex, and geographic location
  • Socioeconomics: Shows the audience’s household size, income bracket, employment status, and education level
  • Behaviors: Shows the audience’s interests, device preferences, and social media usage
  • Audience overlap: Shows audience overlap among domains within your chosen market

Further reading: Learn more about these One2Target reports in our comprehensive guide.

Go through the reports to gather more information on your target audience. And build comprehensive buyer personas.

Buyer personas are fictional profiles that represent your audience segments. 

They help you understand your audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points. Based on these insights, you can create targeted messages that hook your audience more effectively.

Semrush offers a free buyer persona tool

Semrush Persona landing page

It includes several templates. Pick one, and start building your personas using all the audience data you’ve collected using One2Target.

Semrush Persona template

Conduct Competitive Analysis

You can learn about what marketing strategies are working well in your industry by conducting a competitive analysis.

It will provide you with insights to:

  • Create targeted messaging to capitalize on gaps in competitors’ strategies
  • Spot active channels competitors use to find new opportunities
  • Understand the types of content that resonate with your shared audiences
  • Evaluate competitors’ customer experiences to outperform them

Start by identifying your top competitors. You can use Market Explorer for this.

Open the tool, select “Find Competitors,” and enter your domain name. Click “Research a market.”

"nike.com" entered into Market Explorer search

You’ll see an “Overview” report like this:

Market Explorer "Overview" report for "nike.com"

Click the “All Domains” tab to see the list of top domains competing against the domain you entered. You’ll also find a lot of data highlighting how your competitors are growing through organic and paid channels.

"All Domains" table for "nike.com"

Once you know who your competitors are, you need to do two things:

  • Learn about their website traffic
  • Look at their social media activities

Head to Traffic Analytics, enter their domain, and click “Analyze.” You’ll see this dashboard:

Traffic Analytics overview dashboard for "adidas.com"

It details your competitor’s estimated website traffic. Providing metrics like visits, unique visitors, traffic sources, and more. (Learn more about the Traffic Analytics Overview Report)

Next, go to Social Tracker and enter your competitors’ social account URLs.

Social Tracker overview dashboard

You’ll find several insights, like their top social posts, engagement rates, and more.

These insights will aid your own strategy. Helping you decide where to allocate your resources and how to tailor your messaging in unique and compelling ways.

Follow our in-depth setup guide to configure Social Tracker.

Plan Budget Allocation and Resource Management

To ensure your integrated marketing campaigns and other related initiatives are fully supported, you need to effectively allocate budget and resources.

Factors like the size of your business, the scope of your campaign, and your team’s capabilities will influence your budgeting decisions.

Begin by itemizing the costs associated with each component. Like content creation, advertising, and workforce.

You can use a budget spreadsheet to track these expenses and allocate a contingency fund for unforeseen costs.

Regularly review and adjust your budget based on the ROI of different activities and campaigns. This will ensure your resources are optimally allocated and used.

Create Unified Brand Messaging and Assets

You can deliver your audience a consistent and impactful experience (no matter where they interact with your brand) by creating unified brand messaging and assets.

Brand messaging goes beyond just a tagline or a slogan. It encapsulates your brand’s values, mission, and unique selling propositions. 

Brand assets include visual elements like logos, color schemes, and typography that complement your messaging.

To create a cohesive brand message, reflect on your brand’s core values and mission. Consider what sets it apart and what you stand for in the eyes of your audience.

As an example, here are Slack’s brand values:

Slack’s brand values

Source: Slack

Once you’ve got that down, develop a brand voice guide.

Decide on the brand tone, style, and language that best represent who you are. For example, if your brand is youthful and energetic, your tone might be casual and your language filled with contemporary slang.

Here are Slack’s voice and tone guidelines:

Slack’s voice and tone guidelines

Source: Slack

For assets, create a centralized folder where you can store all your visual elements like logos, color palettes, and typography. 

Use asset management software like Brandfolder for this.

Brandfolder's landing page

The objective of unifying brand messaging and assets isn’t just to make your brand more recognizable. It also ensures that every interaction someone has with your brand—be it through an email, a social media post, or your website—feels like a continuation of a single, engaging conversation.

Come Up with a Central Theme

You can ensure all your campaigns and content revolve around a core idea by creating a central theme for your integrated marketing strategy.

Think of it as the storyline that ties all your marketing efforts together.

For instance, Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign promotes self-esteem and body positivity. A theme that is consistently reflected across their advertisements, social media, and even product packaging.

Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign billboard

Source: Time

So, consider your brand’s mission and the problems you solve for your audience. 

Once you have a theme, integrate it into all your marketing materials. From social media posts to email campaigns to landing pages.

A central theme will help you build a cohesive narrative. Which will make your message more impactful and your brand more memorable.

Build Your Toolkit

A robust toolkit can help automate your workflows (such as email marketing sequences and social media posting), centralize data, track ROI, and do much more in planning and executing your integrated marketing campaigns.

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a must-have to manage customer data. Salesforce, Pipedrive, and HubSpot are popular choices.

Analytics tools are also essential. They’ll help you measure the effectiveness of your efforts, providing deeper insights into what's working and what needs improvement. While Google Analytics is a solid starting point, you may also need specialized third-party analytics tools for more granular data.

A marketing calendar is another important part of the toolkit that will allow you to organize, coordinate, and track your integrated marketing campaigns.

Tip: Learn more about marketing calendars (and get free templates) in our marketing calendars guide.

In addition, look at factors like your business size, team capabilities, and specific marketing objectives to choose more tools. For instance, you may need solutions for social media management, email marketing, SEO, and content creation.

The idea is to have a comprehensive set of tools at your disposal. So you’re well-equipped to handle any aspect of your integrated marketing campaigns.

Bring Your Team Together

Keeping your team informed and aligned ensures your integrated marketing strategy is executed effectively.

Also, consult your team members for their unique insights and expertise to bring varied perspectives to your strategy.

You can start by hosting a kickoff meeting to outline the strategy’s objectives and each team member’s role.

You can also train your team members on new tools.

Hold regular meetings for updates. To ensure everyone is on the same page.

Remember: A well-coordinated team can adapt quickly, spot opportunities, and mitigate challenges, making your strategy more agile and responsive. 

Develop an Integrated Marketing Campaign in 8 Steps

While your strategy sets the long-term vision, campaigns are the tactical maneuvers that get you closer to your goals.

Now that you have an integrated marketing strategy in place, follow these eight steps to develop your campaigns:

1. Think of an Idea

Start by brainstorming a campaign idea that aligns with your central theme.

For example, Apple has used its main theme “Think different” to create various ad campaigns over the years. Each with its own unique twist.

Apple's "Think different" campaign

Source: Apple / Wikipedia

Whatever your integrated marketing strategy’s overarching theme is, use it as a creative foundation to come up with a campaign idea.

2. Set Clear Objectives

Determine the specific outcomes you want from your campaign. Such as capturing leads or gaining more Instagram followers.

You can use SMART goals. They should be specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound.

By setting SMART goals, you create a clear roadmap for your campaign. Making it easier to measure success and make data-driven adjustments.

An infographic by Semrush explaining SMART marketing objectives

3. Select Appropriate Channels

Start by looking at the personas you’re targeting with this campaign. Consider where they’re most active online and what types of content they prefer.

Also refer to your competitive analysis. See which channels your competitors are focusing on and whether those channels are right for your campaign’s objective.

Prioritize the channels you use based on their relevance to your target audience and which ones will bring you more ROI.

4. Plan the Campaign Timeline

Create a timeline specifying when each campaign element—be it content, ads, social media posts, or email newsletters—will be launched.

This timeline will serve as a roadmap, allowing you to monitor the progress of your campaign.

5. Develop a Content Plan

This is the stage where you outline all your content-related activities for the campaign. 

The content plan will answer what type of content to publish, how to distribute it, how to repurpose it for different channels, and more.

An infographic visualizing different content types

List content formats and topic(s) based on your campaign idea. And organize them in your marketing calendar.

Here are a few other tips to develop a content plan:

  • Ensure your content aligns with your brand voice and central theme
  • Focus on creating impactful content rather than focusing on the quantity
  • Use analytics to understand in real-time what’s working. Adjust your content strategy accordingly.
  • Experiment with different content types and topics to improve your returns

6. Assign Channel Managers

Assigning dedicated managers for each channel ensures your campaign runs smoothly. These managers will execute the campaign elements on their respective platforms.

For example, if you’re running a campaign on Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads, assign a manager for each. They’ll handle content posting, audience engagement, and performance tracking on their specific platform.

7. Track and Optimize

Real-time monitoring and optimization are key to maximizing your campaign’s effectiveness. So, continuously monitor its performance.

Keep a close eye on your key performance indicators (KPIs) using real-time analytics tools.

Be prepared to make quick adjustments. This could mean pausing an underperforming ad or reallocating the budget to a more successful channel.

8. Conduct a Post-Campaign Analysis

After your campaign has concluded, analyze its performance. You need to understand what worked, what didn’t, and how you can improve for future campaigns.

Start by curating data from all the channels you used. Build a report for a comprehensive view of your campaign’s impact.

Don’t forget to consult your channel managers. Their hands-on observations can offer important lessons.

Finally, discuss the results with your team. This collective review will help everyone understand the effectiveness of the current campaign. And provide valuable insights for your future integrated marketing campaigns.

Examples of Integrated Marketing Campaigns

Here are a few top brands that have run successful integrated marketing campaigns over the years:

‘Be a Hero’ by GoPro

GoPro launched the “Be a Hero” campaign to promote its Hero line of action cameras.

This campaign turned everyday adventurers into GoPro’s most compelling advocates. It encouraged users to share their own action-packed moments captured with GoPro cameras.

The user-generated content (UGC) was then showcased across various platforms like YouTube and Instagram.

Youtube video thumbnail

The campaign also extended to TV commercials, billboards, and digital communications, creating a unified message that resonated with a broad audience.

GoPro's "Be a Hero" campaign billboard

Source: The Daily Telegraph

The campaign was particularly effective because it leveraged the power of UGC, making the brand feel authentic and relatable.

‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ by Snickers

This campaign turned the universal experience of hunger into a marketing win.

Launched during the 2010 Super Bowl, the campaign showed people (played by celebrities) acting out of character due to hunger, only to return to their usual selves after eating a Snickers bar.

Youtube video thumbnail

This clever use of humor and celebrity appearances extended beyond TV commercials to social media and print ads.

One unique aspect was the “Hungerithm” initiative, where Snickers offered discounts when social media mood indicators suggested people were grumpy, presumably from hunger.

An article on Adweek about Snickers' ‘You're Not You When You're Hungry’ campaign

Source: AdWeek

The campaign significantly boosted Snickers' sales, resonating broadly by highlighting the idea that hunger can affect one’s mood and behavior. And Snickers can be the quick fix.

‘Just Do It’ by Nike

Launched in 1988, Nike’s “Just Do It” was more than just a slogan. It was a call to action. 

Youtube video thumbnail

Aimed at inspiring people to get active, the phrase was prominently featured in TV commercials, print ads, and billboards. And three decades later, the slogan still resonates and is a staple in Nike’s marketing.

Nike's ‘Just Do It’ post on X featuring Serena Williams

Source: Nike on X

Its enduring impact demonstrates the power of a unified, compelling message in creating a lasting brand identity.

‘Smell Like a Man, Man’ by Old Spice

This campaign breathed new life into Old Spice’s image, making it appealing to a younger, modern audience.

Launched in 2010 with captivating TV commercials, the campaign quickly expanded its reach to YouTube and social media platforms.

Youtube video thumbnail

The campaign took audience engagement to the next level by responding to tweets from consumers (including celebrities) with personalized video messages—all while maintaining the campaign’s unique tone and humor. Here’s its video response to Demi Moore:

Youtube video thumbnail

The campaign was a master class in integrated marketing, seamlessly blending traditional and digital channels to create a unified and interactive brand experience.

Sales of Old Spice doubled in less than a year. And this integrated marketing campaign left a lasting impact that still positions this brand as humorous and innovative.

‘The Gecko’ by Geico

This campaign turned a common mispronunciation of the company’s name into a marketing asset.

It introduced a charismatic gecko as the brand’s mascot, who humorously clarified that he was not to be confused with Geico.

This clever use of humor was consistent across TV commercials, print ads, billboards, and ads on social platforms.

‘The Gecko’ campaign billboard on the side of the road

Source: Facebook

The campaign’s central message, “Fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance,” was effectively communicated across these channels.

Youtube video thumbnail

This integrated marketing approach unified Geico’s message, made the brand memorable, and contributed to its standing as a leading auto insurer.

Ready to Build an Integrated Marketing Strategy?

Build a consistent narrative across all channels to strengthen your connection with the audience.

You can get started by researching your market and target audience. Which will then help you develop a central theme for your integrated marketing strategy.

Semrush offers a suite of 55+ tools for market research, audience research, competitive analysis, and more. Try them for free.

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Asif is a content marketing specialist with over eight years of experience. While working at agencies and startups, he has helped brands drive millions in sales through full-funnel inbound marketing campaigns.
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