Best Practice from Chazbrooks Communications
Most businesses understand the benefits of an integrated marketing campaign, says CBC director Chaz Brooks, yet many companies find it difficult to build a cohesive strategy that really works
In its simplest form, the term 'integrated marketing' describes the ability to coordinate a variety of communications media so that a company's key messages are received by the greatest number of people, through a variety of different channels.
Many people consider advertising to be a key part of this approach, but it doesn't need to be. By and large, advertising remains an expensive option for most companies, and many small-to-medium size companies simply do not have the budget to make a big advertising splash.
At CBC, we recently rolled out an integrated campaign for a Surrey-based company called GrenkeLeasing. GrenkeLeasing is the leader in IT leasing for products with relatively small transaction values, such as PCs, notebooks, copiers, printers, and software. Its customers are smaller local but also medium-sized national companies.
The company's headquarters is based in Germany, so the strategy and marketing plan also had to be in line with the international corporate business objectives.
The challenge for us was to create an integrated marketing campaign within the limitations of a small budget. This means that we had to choose a communication strategy that would fulfill our client's marketing objectives, but which wouldn’t cost too much.
The efforts also had to be focused on the target market of GrenkeLeasing which is very diverse at it can basically be any company that sells computer equipment to other businesses.
Our strategy was to identify the existing and potential customers of GrenkeLeasing, what the company wants to achieve, and the market it wants to target. The communication objectives from GrenkeLeasing were to build up the brand, while reinforcing the key messages.
The goal here was to make an impression on potential and existing customers from as many different directions as possible, since all of these different touch-points would raise the awareness of GrenkeLeasing.
So we focused our efforts – and the client's budget – on areas where we could gain maximum impact with minimum expense. Our strategy was to start off with a PR campaign that would provide a steady flow of communication to the press.
Following the publication of these initial press releases (in both print and online media), we planned to send out sales letters to potential and existing customers.
In addition, high profile reader competitions were placed in a key trade publication. Potential and existing customers would read about GrenkeLeasing in the press, receive a high-quality sales letter, and would be able to win great sports tickets.
In the first three months of the campaign, we prepared three separate press releases for the firm's target media. This steady flow of information is very important, especially at the beginning of an integrated campaign.
For this reason, press releases represent an essential part of any communications strategy, mainly because they are a quick and effective way of getting the company name in front of the journalists.
Company newsletters and direct mail can also play a key part in an integrated marketing campaign, and many of our clients have decided to pursue this option as well. Imagine the impact of receiving a sales letter on the same day that you've read about the company in the newspaper, noticed its reader offer in a magazine, and received its latest newsletter in your email inbox.
If nothing else, the company's name will certainly begin to sound familiar! Chazbrooks Communications transformed Grenke’s sales and newsletter correspondence into a more targeted and integrated communication tool.
Competitions and reader offers are often overlooked when it comes to planning a communications strategy, but these tactics can be extremely effective. For the cost of whatever prize the company chooses to donate, the sponsor company is essentially provided with direct access to its target audience.
Chazbrooks Communications liaised with the magazine ‘Microscope’, and arranged two competitions to give away tickets to an international match at Wembley stadium, with each competition prominently covered in two separate issues of the magazine.
During the campaign, GrenkeLeasing was mentioned in more than a dozen of its key publications, including Microscope, CRN and Leasing Life. The competition elicited a great response, and formed the foundation of a large database with many new business leads.
Of course, the difficult part with this type of integrated campaign is timing, but coordinating all of these different activities is an achievable goal.
And that is the beauty of integrated marketing: although it requires time and attention to detail, it won't break the bank, which means that it is a viable strategy for virtually any company to pursue.
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