On the surface, integrated marketing is simply a coordinated marketing message across different media, but it is actually much more.
Integrated marketing is an aggressive planning process that allows the development and tracking of marketing strategy. It uses an extensive amount of information to make the marketing initiative greater than the sum of its parts, if those parts work together to support each other.
All too often, small business owners tend to follow a Ready! FIRE! Aim! approach when they market their offerings.
Actually, and perhaps surprisingly, this back-asswards strategy is not limited to small businesses; large companies can also be surprisingly fractured in terms of how marketing is implemented.
The roots of fractured marketing may vary. In a company where sales dominates marketing, programs can get created as knee-jerk responses to how sales is doing. If sales are down, marketing get used in an attempt to turn things around. If sales are up, marketing well, marketing tends to get ignored. The result is as if marketing has attention deficit disorder: resources are moved from initiative to initiative, things are started and not finished, and everything is done for short term results.
This effect can also take place when the same person is doing both sales and marketingwhich is often the case with small businesses. When sales are rocking, who has time to market? And when sales are down, the only marketing strategies that are interesting are those that will generate leads today.
Another reason for disconnected marketing initiatives is simple lack of planning. It can be very difficult to step back, take a deep breath, and dedicate a chunk of time to planbeginning with overall business planning. There are so many choices when it comes to deciding how to pursue marketing that, unless you know what you want to accomplish for the business, it can be difficult to figure out what to do.
Steps in an integrated marketing system are: