What is integrated marketing from a digital marketing point of view?

DSM Digital School of Marketing - digital Marketing

You’ve probably heard marketing thought leaders wax lyrical about how integration is critical to marketing success. In this modern age, where consumers are demanding more convenience, creating seamless brand experiences through integration has become a survival tactic – not just something to look into but something you should have been doing in 2010.

Nevertheless, it’s never too late to start something great! Let’s take a brief look at what integration actually means in general terms, a few definitions of marketing integration from through leaders across the globe, and how digital marketing integration might just be the recipe for success businesses have been looking for.

Integration defined

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines integration as:

“The act or process of uniting different things.”

While the above is technically accurate, it does not speak to the real purpose of integration. It’s not just about bringing things together. It’s more about unifying different parts of a fragmented yet whole system, where different parts work together to achieve more than what is possible on their own. Integration is about bringing things together for a purpose; not merely to have them all in one place.

Marketing integration

The Integrated Marketing Community defines integrated marketing communications (IMC) as:

“Integrated Marketing is an approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with the brand/enterprise; it attempts to meld all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and social media, through their respective mix of tactics, methods, channels, media, and activities, so that all work together as a unified force.”

Before the rise of digital marketing, brands were limited to traditional marketing and advertising channels. In most cases, the advertising department was separate from the PR department, which was different from the customer services department.

Then came the internet, and suddenly publics had the capacity to consume advertising, marketing, public relations, and customer services content – in one place and in an almost instantaneous fashion. This gave rise to a real need for brands to integrate their public-facing activities – so that departments knew what other departments were doing, creating a unified brand message.

Integrating digital marketing

However, the above definition of integrated marketing is not entirely applicable in today’s marketing arena. More channels have been added to the marketing mix (Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram) alongside the ‘traditional’ digital channels like email and text messaging, which has made integrating digital marketing activities much more difficult (and way more critical for brand survival).

Digital marketing integration is all about creating that unified brand message – but across all online channels. This means that your brand appearance, tone of voice, and other elements that make your business unique should carry across all online interactions with customers (existing and potential).

Any public-facing digital marketing activities shouldn’t be developed in the silo of the marketing department. Instead, PR teams, advertising specialists, customer services staff, and others should all know what the plan is and where they fit in. This will ensure that the same message is delivered consistently across all digital touchpoints the customer has with the brand.

Integrating digital marketing might seem like a mammoth task at first, but becomes easier once you learn the ins and outs of how individual online channels operate, and what their integration capabilities are.

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