Discover everything you need to know about integrated marketing and learn why it’s the recipe for success in a post-pandemic world.
It’s well documented, by now, that the various COVID-19 lockdowns accelerated the widespread adoption of digital tools. Ultimately, our use of digital channels has become more sophisticated due to lockdowns, and this has led to brands having to elevate their online presence in order to survive and thrive.
However, as the world is returning to normal after the pandemic, consumers are craving in-person events, being on the road and away from home, and doing everything they enjoyed before the pandemic, and who could blame them?
It’s clear that in a post-pandemic world, traditional media is making a comeback, but digital media isn’t going away, and this is why brands need to formulate their strategies and adapt their game plans, to take an integrated marketing approach.
This article explores how integrated marketing can be the recipe for success in the post-pandemic landscape.
Integrated marketing for your post-pandemic campaigns
The biggest issue that brands face in the first place is treating digital and traditional media as separate entities. Digital marketing doesn’t work in a silo, and neither does traditional marketing, so when using each of them separately, it contributes to more noise and clutter, than effectiveness.
When planning your integrated post-pandemic campaigns, it’s important for marketers to understand that consumers don’t necessarily discriminate between channels and experiences. Rather, they add all their experiences together and build a perception of your brand that drives action. This is why it’s crucial to engage with audiences across multiple, integrated channels, and make it possible for the audience to take their own journeys with your brand.
Essentially, your campaign messaging should come from a well-curated strategy, not a channel plan. A successful integrated marketing campaign will be one that resonates with your audience and creates relevant, interesting experiences that positively impact their lives.
One major trend that is set to impact integrated marketing is a dire need for compelling creative work. Marketers spend a lot of time and energy analysing data, tracking the customer’s journey and nurturing them, and they often forget that they’re interacting with actual humans, who are enlightened by great experiences. Evoking an emotional response within your audience is key to a successful campaign, and this requires the pushing of creative boundaries.
At the end of the day, it’s all about finding that sweet spot of blending traditional and digital channels into your campaign which isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula.
For some brands, a shift towards more traditional channels may be the answer, but for others, they’re still achieving all their goals with a digital focus. However, combining the two will contribute to a killer strategy that will set your brand apart.
Consider how the pandemic has impacted the buyer’s journey
COVID-19 has overwhelmed livelihoods around the globe, which has forced brands to re-think what customer care really means, and closely examine the buyer’s journey, while developing strategies to address what they need. This is why it’s crucial to take into account how the pandemic impacted each stage of the buyer’s journey, especially in a post-pandemic world.
The Awareness Stage
At the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, one common mistake we saw brands make during the pandemic (and after) is bombarding their audiences with messages that weren’t relevant. This also contributed to digital fatigue, and consumers losing trust in brands.
During this critical stage consumers need guidance and support more than ever. They need resources they can trust and make them feel safe, and Penquin does just that for our clients, by staying true to our brand values and purpose, and delivering on our brand promise.
The Consideration Stage
In terms of the consideration stage, what brands seemed to lack was value and depth in their content. The rising volume of marketing messages is no longer empowering for consumers—it’s overwhelming. Rather than pulling their audiences closer, we’ve seen brands pushing them away with relentless, and ill-conceived efforts to engage.
When developing content for your audience at the consideration stage, brands need to master three areas:
- Connecting the content strategy to the business mission
- Making brand content central to the lives of the people it serves
- Developing an integrated ecosystem that serves up the right content to the right people at the right time
The Decision Stage
Today’s consumers are empowered to do everything themselves online, from comparing prices to making purchases, and booking flights. Where there’s a will, consumers want a way, and in the decision stage, making every transaction as simple as possible is key.
Brands can achieve this by aiding navigation, building trust, making it easier to weigh options, and allowing consumers to confidently complete purchases (while ensuring their privacy).
With so many changes in consumer behaviour post-pandemic, a strong focus on customer experience plays a crucial role in retaining and delighting your audience. Your integrated campaigns should carefully map out all the points of interactions that your audience has with your brand, and from there, develop improvements to ensure that the experience is beneficial for your audience. (Remember that it’s vital to have an in-depth understanding of your buyer personas).
Be sure to take the extra time and effort to analyse the buyer’s journey thoroughly, understand every interaction, reduce customer efforts, and finally, implement a fluid, cohesive, and connected customer experience.
Out-of-home (OOH) for your integrated, post-pandemic campaigns
With the pandemic keeping people indoors for such a long time, a craving for a deeper sense of community, connectivity, and experiences is only normal. With people wanting to spend more time outdoors, it’s safe to say that OOH advertising is still relevant, and the field of outdoor advertising is now considerably bigger and goes beyond just billboards. OOH can be thought of as an advertising playground, where brands can leverage it to improve the effectiveness of their other digital and traditional marketing channels.
People have a unique relationship with OOH advertising. Outdoor campaigns don't have to fight for visibility on a crowded screen, people can’t skip it, and if it’s really innovative, people actually want to engage with it.
OOH is never simple, but Digital OOH brings outdoor advertising to life, as it combines the power of digital marketing in a traditional way.
Brands can now leverage the emotional power and captivating formats of traditional out-of-home advertising with the efficiency of DOOH. With a robust integrated strategy, brands can now reach people on screens of all shapes and sizes, and it can be done rapidly and efficiently. Take a look at some examples of excellent DOOH.
All the technology and connectivity that was convenient during COVID-19 lockdowns took a toll on consumers, which has led to digital fatigue. Keeping audiences engaged is an ongoing challenge that never seems to slow down, and the onset of digital fatigue makes this all the more difficult.
There are a number of ways to combat digital fatigue in the online space, but bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds, using integrated marketing is also highly effective. For example, send something tangible to your audience that they can physically engage with during your online event. Physical touchpoints not only create excitement and increase engagement, but they can also leave a lasting impression. These memorable, hybrid experiences can help build brand affinity and keep your brand top-of-mind in the future.
Another effective way for brands to avoid digital fatigue is by allowing your audience to connect with your brand. In other words, don’t push your audience down a sales funnel. Allow them to find your brand on multiple channels, and give them the opportunity to explore. This is where inbound marketing comes into play.
Word-of-mouth marketing (WOM) is very powerful, and some may even argue that it’s the best marketing tool to have.
The reason why WOM works so well is that consumers love referrals, and they tend to trust the opinions of their friends and families when making purchasing decisions. Word of mouth marketing is essentially seeking to kick-start an exponential referral chain that drives continuous traffic, leads, and sales for the brand. Take a look at some stats showing why WOM marketing works so well.
Image source: https://www.yotpo.com/resources/word-of-mouth-marketing/
During the pandemic, even with lockdowns and restrictions, the importance of WOM was still evident. Those chats among friends and family around your favourite products and services have been transferred digitally. As the world is moving towards a community-powered, trust-based economy, it’s now more important than ever for your audience to see how other people have benefited from interacting with your brand.
How Penquin takes an Integrated Marketing Approach
Penquin has always taken an integrated approach with most (if not all) of our clients. One particularly great example would be the ongoing campaigns that we develop for one of our clients in the automotive industry. With this specific client, we’ve started focusing more on consumer insights and centred our messaging around big, bold product visuals in our campaigns. We’ve made the brand a lot more enticing within the last year by developing less cluttered messaging and creating a sexier brand appeal.
This approach was very much centred on data and insights. Essentially, we created our campaigns around what the audience was responding to by seamlessly integrating digital and traditional media. All the campaigns we created for our client proved to be highly effective, as this brand is now one of the biggest automobile manufacturers in the country. Have a look at some of our work.
Another element that contributes to the success of our campaigns is inbound marketing, especially when it comes to lead nurturing and content marketing.
A final word
Brands will have a new opportunity to reinvigorate their integrated marketing campaigns in 2022 and beyond, as long as they carefully consider all the drivers that have shifted consumer behaviour over the past two years.
Finding a solid strategy that works for your business, as well as a sustainable balance between traditional and digital media, will be the key to your overall ROI, and brand success. Download our handy integrated marketing eBook and get started on your integrated strategy today.
If you’d like to book a session with us to discuss your next integrated campaign, and reach your business goals with integrated marketing, feel free to drop us a line.