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How to create a truly integrated campaign

How to create a truly integrated campaign

By Louise McGrath, business development director at Big Dot Media

A fully-integrated approach to a brief can actually save money and bring about exceptional results.  So why is it that so many agencies still miss vital touch-points which then has consequences for both the brand they are working on behalf of and the reputation of the agency itself?

Consumers are becoming used to traditional advertising methods, or more importantly, learning how to ignore them – have you ever fast forwarded through the ads when you have recorded a TV programme? But that does not mean it is all doom and gloom for traditional marketing methods. With 11m people watching the 2011 NFL Superbowl and ad spots going for £2m for 30 seconds, it shows traditional advertising still has a place.

These days, however, brands have to engage their consumers rather than just advertise to them. Brands have to focus on many different streams of media for their campaigns - traditional, online, social and even experiential. The buzz is around multiple touch-points but, too often, many brands associate more touch-points with more money. Wrapping this up in a nice bow is the phrase “integrated marketing communications” – above the line, below the line, across the line, any which way around the line that gets results.

An integrated approach can still be achieved on a tight budget; you just need to think carefully about what you can do for that budget and put your money in the right places.  You could throw all the money in the world at each and every touch-point in a vain effort to ensure a major success for your client, but it’s the idea that is most valuable.  That creative genius that comes from a few hours of brainstorming with your collective team members, not wasting £10,000 on a Facebook Ads campaign when there’s nothing else to back the campaign up.

There are certain touch-points that should almost always be used, and which will give that important integrated aspect to a campaign, and produce positive results.  And almost all of these revolve around social media. Some might say a campaign is doomed from the start if it does not have an element of social media, as the public now expect it.  For example, a product launch will benefit from a social media-based competition and an email send-out to the database, if they have one.  

Stephen Haines, commercial director at Facebook, thinks there will be a shift in how brands use social media platforms over 2011, with brands beginning to put people at the centre of their campaigns to create a more personalised advertising experience.  And with Facebook having more than 500 million active users, of which 50% log in on any given day, the average user having over 130 friends, and more than 30 billion pieces of content being shared each month, this should be one of the first places you look to when creating an all-round marketing campaign.

In 2010, 294 billion e-mails were sent per day, and when, e-mail marketing done right, is still and hugely cost effective method of targeting consumers.

As the figures above go some way to showing, social media and email marketing alone have the potential to generate massive success for a campaign, and are frustratingly the ones that are most often missed, usually because agencies imagine them to be complicated, or expensive – or both.  Even just a little social media goes a long way and need not have a huge budget thrown at it.

If you don’t understand social media and how it can impact your clients, then partner up with a specialist.  Many agencies, partner up with specialist outsourcers to provide the expertise that enables an agency to offer an all-round package.

In order to create a truly integrated approach, involving all departments in the initial planning stage is key, be it your outsourcing partners or your in-house teams.  From creative to digital, everybody should get their chance to talk about traditional ideas and brainstorm new ones.

It is time to take the blinkers off and make it your mission to embrace all that modern technology has to offer.  Make no mistake about it; the vultures are close by, waiting for the perfect opportunity to show your clients where you are falling down, and to prove that they can do it better.   The new media era, whether you embrace it or not, is here to stay and it is changing its colours every day.

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