He cites the example of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ integrated campaign, which has used digital, PR, experiential and retail activity. Anna Ling, communications manager for VW Commercial Vehicles, says the link between old and new media must be seamless as well as innovative.
“A brand has specific objectives and because technology moves so quickly, we are always looking at new ideas,” she says.
“We are currently exploring how important texting is to our audience and what value it will have as a response mechanism. We could
certainly use SMS in future integrated campaigns as long as the messages sent are not seen as intrusive.”
But whether integrated marketing innovation means a whole new style of campaign, such as the IKEA Facebook initiative, or simply innovating on how you market better across multiple channels, it is clear that brands must become more proactive about how to make their operations truly integrated. Paying lipservice to the concept will no longer do.
Julian Reiter is managing director of digital marketing agency Positive Thinking
As integrated marketing becomes the norm, we are seeing traditional definitions of abovethe- line and below-the-line all but disappear. They remain the bastions only of diehard brand advertising agencies.
An integrated and innovative approach is now absolutely what clients demand because it is what their customers need. Big or small, global or local, consumers are responding to multichannel messages and brand owners must react appropriately.
The fastest-moving trend is in digital integration, where search agencies are joining with media agencies and where everyone is having a punt at social media because it is such a hot topic.
Social media means you can actually serve ads within environments that are relevant to the products being advertised. I remember Diageo spending large sums of money placing out-of-work actors in trendy bars and clubs to talk about Guinness and less trendy drinks.
Consumers thought that if such cool people were drinking these brands then they should too. Nowadays, you can do this type of social marketing for a fraction of the cost.
However, what is still not always happening effectively is the integration of offline with online activity. There are lots of great, integrated campaigns but underneath all this, the above-the-line versus below-the-line battle for supremacy is being replaced by the battle of offline versus online.
This is because digital marketing can really demonstrate a return on investment. When you can prove that if you spend £1 you can make £1.20 by tracking it through your media channel directly to when the money goes in the till, then any business will keep spending in this direction until they reach diminishing returns. Above-the-line budgets will get slaughtered until they get better at documenting their value.
Michael Bates is marketing director at supermarket. Morrisons, whose Let’s Grow vouchers scheme won a Grand Prix and the Best Integration prize at the IPA Effectiveness Awards.
An integrated approach has been crucial to the success of our Let’s Grow campaign, with TV and press activity supported by government endorsement.
The campaign has got children more interested in gardening and how their food is grown. However, the campaign came about because we needed an innovative approach to engage with communities in areas where Morrisons was a fairly new brand following the takeover of Safeway and the subsequent brand relaunch in 2007.
Without a link-up across different media, there can be confusion for the customer and waste in marketing spend. We prefer to work with a number of specialist agencies, but you need to be sure that everyone is clear about your objectives from the very beginning.
There is always the risk of conflict when any output is being shared so clients need to know that every agency understands the brand’s vision and can be innovative around it. Only then can we be confident that all the agencies representing our brand and the campaign are pulling in the same direction.
It is important to have monthly meetings with key representatives from all the agencies to discuss trends in each of the disciplines. We work with media agency Mediaedge:cia, creative agency Billington Cartmell and strategic agency Delaney Lund Knox Warren for TV, press creatives Candi for digital and Lexis PR for public relations.
As a retailer, we know that bringing things to life in-store is very important to a campaign’s success. Most campaigns have to convey different messages to a variety of audiences and this can be one of the biggest challenges when using multiple marketing channels. For Let’s Grow, we are not just talking to consumers but to schools and to schoolchildren, so this has to be part of the integrated thinking.
innovation in integrated marketing
- Integrated marketing no longer means simply repeating creatives across different media. Innovative brands are making sure different ideas linked to a campaign’s underlying objectives stretch across a variety of channels.
- Marketers want to follow the trend of using social media but some are still reluctant to fully engage with this channel because they worry about losing control of their content. Smart brands are adding “share” buttons to prompt consumers to swap information with multiple contacts.
- Innovation is helping to give integration more credibility in the eyes of clients, who are taking more of an interest in how exactly their money is spent and the return they get from each marketing channel.