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STRATEGIC MARKETING TIPS From Business Marketing Impact

Integrated marketing=increased sales and ROI

It will augment corporate stakeholder value perception by
initiating performance driven marketing accountability

BY TERRY L. PENNINGTON, CBC

All firms, both large and small, are facing rising costs and increased competition while at the same time equity and other stakeholders are insisting on increased returns on sales and marketing investments. With costs rising exponentially, every sales and marketing dollar must be used effectively and integrated marketing does just that. Integrated marketing is one of the most successful techniques used in both Business-to-Business (b2b) and Business-to-Consumer (b2c) marketing to meet this challenge. Integrated marketing is like a race car; finely tuned it will deliver every time.

The basics pay off every time

Integrated Marketing isn’t just a concept it is the simplest and most cost effective way to accomplish all the primary objectives of the sales and marketing communications process, i.e., attract attention, create awareness, generate interest, persuade, establish confidence and stimulate action. Integrated marketing helps accelerate the entire process by utilizing every element of a firm’s sales and marketing efforts to reinforce all the other elements. This is especially true, if you do your homework and painstakingly craft your creative for each medium to maximize its impact and success.

How? It will ensure that the same positive message is visually and graphically delivered punctually and consistently, time after time. And that, consequently, supports the reach and frequency tenet that provides the basis for effective advertising and promotion.

Be there or be forgotten

Develop a comprehensive profile and understanding of your target markets and be present where their interests are represented. The foundation of any good integrated marketing program in today’s marketplace is a strong consistent multi-medium advertising campaign. Relax; it doesn’t have to be as costly as it sounds.

The great thing about the media platforms that are available today is that there are several placement strategies you can use to accomplish your objectives. You don’t have to be a giant to successfully utilize media advertising in the 21st Century. However, it is imperative that you have thorough understanding of the basics of media analysis if you expect to develop a high performance strategic plan that will produce results.

Be critical in the predictions you accept

A strong and effective print media advertising campaign is still a viable element in the support of a good integrated marketing program. The most important feature about print media is that there are several communication and insertion strategies that can be used to reach your goals fairly economically. And, whether large or small, your company can easily utilize print media to your advantage.

There are marketers out there who will challenge print advertising as being on its way out. But don’t you believe it. And don’t minimize making it an integral part of your integrated marketing program. I remember when Guru’s said that “Computers would generate a ‘Paperless’ Business Environment.” Well, they didn’t and Print isn’t dead yet either. People like the tactile feeling and portability of printed matter.

If you are in b2b marketing don’t let the ‘new media’ technocrats convince you that ecommerce and telephony advertising are “the only or even the primary” ways to go because they aren’t—not yet anyway. And, if the transition timeline is anywhere close to what we’ve experienced with internet and computer conversion we have a long way to go before it will be.

Buyers haven’t changed

No, there has been very little change. Business buyers are still looking for reliable information, and in their search they peruse a burgeoning wealth of sources – magazines, brochures, direct mail, print advertising, internet search engines, and corporate web sites.

The key point here is that the business buyer wants (and literally has to) buy to satisfy a specific need. Consequently, b2b marketing communications can and should be more direct and to the point focusing on clarification and simplification, with the important difference being that unlike the consumer b2b buyers will not buy what they don’t need.

The only real change is that readers don’t want and don’t have to wait around for snail mail when they can get their information immediately by utilizing a publication’s or advertiser’s web site.

Old adages bear merit

My advice is to always look like a leader whenever you advertise or promote. Concentrate on developing a comprehensive profile and understanding of your target markets and be present where their interests are represented. This is the time and the place to initiate and reinforce brand recognition, address the attributes and influence the perception of value of the customer franchise.

Really maximize your Program’s results

Take advantage of the fact that in B2B marketing the development of good press and media relations is vitally important in optimizing your use of broadcast, print, and out-of-home media. Now is the time to start building and/or improving these relationships for your firm. There is no easier or less costly way to augment the success of your integrated sales and marketing program.

Reinforce your sales and publicity program with direct mail, out-of-home media opportunities and classic media advertising. Integrate your overall marketing strategy by establishing corporate and product visibility at trade shows; use the trade show dailies even if you don’t have a booth exhibit. If you are in b2c marketing use advocacy and affinity groups along with user and special interest organizations and social marketing to strengthen and add depth to your integrated sales and marketing effort.

A holistic approach pays off

It is important to ensure that your primary theme and relevant customer/product information is accurately portrayed in each b2b or b2c sales and marketing effort. This should include every activity including email signatures and text messaging through broadcasting of web casts and pod casts.

While integrated marketing is an authentically holistic way of looking at sales and marketing, it inevitably requires organization-wide buy-in from the top down. As you plan your implementation of your program recognize that management’s endorsement will result in a two-edged sword. The managers will insist on performance driven marketing accountability which in turn will require investment management measurement metrics.

Get your Dashboard ready

When you initiate your integrated plan you must ready your Dashboard
well in advance, because you can be sure that senior management will insist on seeing the qualitative and quantitative results of their marketing investment. Be prepared to document the success of your program, specifically how it supports the accomplishment of their business objectives.

So, supercharge your sales and measure your integrated marketing plan’s effectiveness with performance driven investment management measurement metrics. When they see increased sales, stakeholders can’t help but appreciate the clear evidence that you are addressing their goals and objectives.

Give your customers what they want

The marketplace is calling the shots now – never forget that. More than ever, no one wants to be sold; prospects and customers alike want reliable information and valid choices. In a buyers market you must give them compelling reasons to buy from your company. If you reliably fulfill their needs and expectations they will respond with loyalty to your brand.

Enjoy the increased ROI and good equity/stakeholder relations generated by your integrated sales and marketing efforts, and enjoy the increased ROI created by this enhanced value perspective.

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