The Growing Importance Of Integration In Marketing
Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 3152
, Published on 12 June 2012
Marketing media has witnessed a tremendous shift in recent times. Rewind 20 years and most of the activities used to be above-the-line and mass media. The mainstays of the promotional mix were television, print and radio. Fast forward to the current times and we see that a plethora of new media have sprung into existence and the modern eclectic promotional mix includes online marketing (social media, website advertisements, blogs, search engine optimization, etc.), out of home media, mobile marketing, event marketing, public relations, in-film advertising and video game advertising in addition to the already existing media of television, print and radio.
Now, the challenge that marketers face in today’s times of a vast promotional mix combined with the reducing attention span of the customer is how to make a marketing campaign holistic and ensure that it works effectively.
The key here is INTEGRATION! Organizations must learn how to treat different type of media as cogs which have to work in tandem for the wheel to turn. It is essential to have a clear message which then needs to be consistently and constantly communicated to the target audience using the different media. In such a scenario, most companies tend to over-fragment. For example, a host of new television channels have opened up catering to different regions and demographics. This leads companies to air the same commercial on various channels in order the catch the greatest number of eyeballs. This inflates an earlier sufficient marketing budget and results in a less than optimum utilization of promotional resources.
Therefore, unity in vision is very important at the corporate level. This over-fragmentation has made it very difficult for companies to formulate effective marketing campaigns. The mantra to create an effective promotional campaign is to catch the consumer’s elusive attention and sustain it over a period of time.
Another important point to be kept in mind while creating integrated marketing campaigns is CONTENT. Content needs to be customized for the different media being used in the campaign. Snapshots of television commercials rarely make for great print ads. Similarly, an advertisement which looks great on a billboard might not have the same impact when seen on a smartphone.
Companies who succeed in executing integrated marketing campaigns are aware of this fact and customize content to suit the medium used. It is equally important to ensure that the message does not get distorted at the hands of content customization. The message that the organization is trying to convey must be clear in all the types of media employed and it should be consistent throughout these media.
A few companies across the world have managed to take these changes in their stride and have developed marvelous promotional campaigns. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
McDonald’s has shown a very creative streak when it comes to integrating their promotional mix. In addition to video game advertising, which we can see in the snapshot above, they came up with a McDonald’s train time table at the Stockholm railway station. The screen displayed waiting times for trains in terms of hamburgers, cokes and fries you can wolf down at McDonald’s before your train arrives. A very eye-catching innovation indeed!
McDonald’s has a Twitter handle where the company promotes its latest offerings and consumers are welcome to give their feedback. They also made good use of out of home advertising by installing a large digital screen on the streets of, again, Stockholm. People could play Pong on these screens, controlling the ball using their smartphones. If a player lasted for 30 seconds, he/she won a gift from McDonald’s which could be collected from any nearby McDonald’s outlet.
Well, they were not animated after all! The Vodafone Zoozoo campaign was another marvel of integrated marketing. Apart from the famous TV commercials which were aired frequently during IPL season 2, the Zoozoos would still catch your attention on billboards while you were on the road and on YouTube videos and online advertisements when you were browsing the net. They also made great use of advertising to a captive audience by placing Zoozoo advertisements at airports. Especially at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, where every nook and corner was occupied by the egg-shaped Zoozoos! In addition to that, the Zoozoos became so popular that they generated a lot of word-of-mouth (WOM) publicity for Vodafone. To capitalize further on the popularity of the Zoozoos, Vodafone was able to generate revenue by licensing Zoozoo merchandise like t-shirts and key-chains.
The YouTube videos generated thousands of hits and the fan following on their Facebook pages exceeded 2 million! The key to the success of this campaign was, again, integration. Vodafone and Ogilvy & Mather designed the campaign in such a manner that they were able to reach out to consumers at critical touch points without being intrusive.
And now, let’s look at the biggest example of successful integrated marketing in India in recent times.
The promotions started with television commercials of the new and catchy jingle “Aisa Mauka Phir Kahaan Milega” which was picturized on all the anchors of the show. IPL has used out-of-home media very effectively by placing banners in great numbers in cities where the stadiums are located. For example, as one is about to enter Pune either from the Mumbai or the Bangalore highway, billboards claiming that the “Warriors Are Back” are hard to miss as there is one such ad almost every kilometre!
IPL has also licensed its merchandise like jerseys and caps through Reebok, Adidas and Puma. Sale of merchandize helps fans in associating with teams and breeds a sense of loyalty among them. It is also a great way of generating word-of-mouth publicity as fans arelikely to talk about their favourite teams and players even more if they have the merchandize with them!
IPL has gone a step ahead in online integration and has tied up with the online movie ticket agent BookMyShow. One can see an aerial diagram of the stadiums along with the availability and prices of seats while booking IPL tickets on www.bookmyshow.com. This has opened up a new channel for the franchise to sell stadium tickets. The merchandize can also be purchased online on sites like www.myntra.com, www.iplshop.com, www.infibeam.com, etc.
They have also managed to utilize the social media space very effectively. The Twitter handle of IPL gets tweets almost every second and a counter showing the number of tweets is shown during matches. This further creates a buzz about the franchise and generates interesting viewer comments about the game. It is a very effective way to involve the viewers. The Facebook page of IPL has more than 1.1 million likes! This is a phenomenal number and goes to show just how popular the franchise really is. To sum it up, IPL has orchestrated a magnificent promotional campaign. The fact that cricket is like a religion in India also helped, but they deserve the credit nonetheless for carrying out a superb integrated marketing effort.
Some companies have demonstrated great execution of integrated campaigns as we just saw. Others are realizing the potential that integrated marketing offers and are following suit. For example, Pepsi has decided to re-structure its marketing initiatives in the Americas, i.e. North, Central and South America, by forming the Power of One – Americas Council.
The initiative seeks to integrate the food and beverage businesses of Pepsi together so that they can synergize the two and leverage the brand in a better way. This strategy has been formulated keeping in mind that the two businesses are complementary. This integration will help Pepsi in formulating a clear message across verticals. A clear message will, in turn, facilitate a targeted marketing campaign which will boost brand building initiatives.
It is not only multi-national corporations like PepsiCo which need to introspect and make changes in the way they function. Even medium and small players in industries need to integrate their marketing efforts in today’s times if they don’t want to be left lagging behind. With the attention span of viewers decreasing and the media fragmenting by the day, organizations will have to be dynamic and pro-active in designing campaigns in order to remain relevant to the consumer. The future demands planners, managers and strategists who are comfortable working in a fast-changing world and thrive under constant pressure.