A simple system to build your integrated marketing program

Lomax Dashboard (courtesy Jamie on Flickr CC)

Do you know how everything is working together? (Lomax dashboard courtesy Jamie on Flickr Creative Commons)

What is an integrated marketing program?

The answer is simple. An integrated marketing program means that you have consistent brand messaging across both your traditional and non-traditional destination marketing channels, effectively combining several different methods to tell your story and get your messaging across.

It means that your website, print brochures, Facebook Page, billboards, LinkedIn Company Page, car wraps, and Twitter accounts are all immediately recognizable as YOU, and they work together to help you achieve your goals.

Well, no kidding, you say!

The problem is, integration is a challenging ongoing process. It must react to constant changes in your visitor, guest, or customer marketplace, and you have to get a variety of people and departments out of their silos, all clicking together.

From Bloomberg Businessweek‘s “Integrated Marketing: If You Knew It, You’d Do It” …

“It’s not easy to integrate a brand into a wide suite of processes, materials, and messages that have been shepherded by different people, driven by different objectives, and brought to life in different places within the organization.”

What a lot of folks end up with is “random acts of marketing”….something that so many do, but is seldom effective.

To have a successful overall marketing program, you need to have an integrated marketing program. What we find with some of our clients is that they have strayed from the basics (or maybe never had them in place to begin with.) There are so many moving pieces and parts to your marketing that we wanted to put together a newsletter that is intended to get you to STOP, take some time, and audit what you are doing.

Here we offer a short outline of how to audit your marketing efforts and make sure everything is integrated.

Set Your Goals

Goals – determine your specific goals for the whole brand or business first, then for marketing in general to support those goals, then for how digital marketing rolls into that.

What do you want to accomplish via your chosen communications channels? Digital considerations include:

  • Engagement – What works and how do you measure so you know what works?
  • Your website as your critical hub – our online course Lesson Two calls it your “home base.”
  • How digital presence and social media are increasingly – and powerfully – being used for customer service.
  • Think about how, when, and even IF to use social media for direct selling – we feel strongly that it’s social media, not sell stuff media, but in some situations it may work for your audience. Example: the new Buy pins on Pinterest, or selling event tickets on a Facebook Page.

Who Is Your Audience?

Define your target audience, build your visitor and guest personas, identify your competition, identify your community and stakeholders.

How Do You Do It All?

Strategy – your website is your home base.

Everything that you do should be anchored to your website – which includes your blog – as it is the one commodity that you own. (See graphic below)

Simple integrated marketing graphic by Leslie McLellan from Tourism Currents


Often you will be trying to send traffic to that website or blog, but sometimes you’re simply having a friendly social media conversation with a visitor or guest, and it won’t make sense to send them to your website. However, the site should be very easy for the visitor or guest to find, should they wish to learn more.

How Is This All Going To Work?

Execution – includes the following:

    • Identify what type of information you will share (text, photos, video, audio.)
    • Make sure your information is relevant to your visitors, guests, or customers. Give them what they are Googling for, in the words that they are using to search.
    • Set up a content/editorial calendar that includes content ideas and delivery dates as well as social media posting information,
    • Work your digital content calendar into your monthly marketing calendar for online and offline integration.

Here is an example: your downtown street festival marketing includes signage and print brochures with the festival hashtag, there are several blog posts about the festival on your website that are shared on your Facebook Page, Twitter, and with your email list, and during the festival you use the wall of a building to project hashtagged festival Instagram photos, using a tool like Eventstagram.

Is My Integrated Marketing Program Working?

Analysis – that’s the only way to know if it’s working. You need to look at the following, weekly and monthly:

Here is a list of items you might want to analyze and what you should be looking at:

  • Blog – analyze the number of social shares, audience growth (unique and return visitors), subscriber growth, conversions if applicable.
  • Email marketing – number of opens, number of clicks, conversions if applicable
  • Facebook – number of posts, page follows, likes, engagement and comments, shares, lead generation, remember to take into consideration any paid advertising and the results of that.
  • Twitter – number of posts, followers, mentions, retweets, number of lists
  • LinkedIn – number of posts, page follows, comments, likes, and shares
  • Google+ – number of posts, Google+ circle adds/follows, mentions, +1
  • Pinterest – number of pins, repins, followers, purchases from pins if applicable
  • Online video – YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Vine – views, shares
  • Photo sharing – Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, Snapchat – shares, comments, number of views
  • Traditional advertising – number of impressions (make sure individual ads are trackable), results from ads i.e. clicks to website, etc.
  • Frequent surveys, including that basic but important question, “How did you find out about us?

And Finally, One BIG Tip…

Make everything easy to share by adding share buttons on all your digital efforts.

Whenever your visitor, guest, or customer connects with your organization in one place, they should be able to easily find out how to connect in other ways, on the channels THEY prefer.

Example: They land on your website or blog? No problem finding the button for your Instagram account. They open your email and want to share it to their Facebook personal profile? There’s an easy-to-find Share button in the email. They walk into your Visitor Center? Signage and knowledgeable staff can tell them your Twitter handle and local hashtag.

We integrated our other Tourism Currents social channels with this blog at the end of this post.

Take some time and audit your marketing efforts to see that everything is connected and working together, online and offline.

If you haven’t done this before, you’ll most likely find some gaps that you need to fill. But never fear: putting in the time to audit what you are currently doing will make your marketing so much stronger and more effective.

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What’s hot on our social channels?

**  Most popular recent post on our LinkedIn Company Page  —  “

**  Most popular recent post on our Facebook Page  —  “Many museums make less eye contact than Wal-Mart, except for sullen security guards.” Thought-provoking post by entrepreneur & museum lover Gary Hoover …. 10 Ideas for Bringing Museums into the 21st Century”

**  Most popular tweet in May from @TourismCurrents  —  “Trends in tourism; our mid-year update after @SXSW Interactive & @NMX – http://goo.gl/jgCZH8  #NMX #SXSWi”

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