9 Ways to Take Integrated Marketing to the Next Level

Integrated marketing is a concept that your organization has probably heard about many times, but pushed to the back-burner as an unfeasible and expensive business practice.

If you’re looking for what exactly integrated marketing is or how it can be useful to your nonprofit, we’ve got you covered here. Today, however, we’re talking about a different side of integrated marketing.

Don Schultz, one of the pioneers of integrated marketing communications, has presented many different ways for organizations to adopt and implement integrated marketing. Here are the 9 guiding principles of integrated marketing communications, broken down into simpler terms.

When you begin planning your communications, start from outside your organization and plan inward. What this means is that, rather than starting within your organization and planning messages internally, start with your audience in mind.

Whether you’re reaching out to donors or potential volunteers, make sure to understand them first and then plan your message. You may choose to create a short survey or interview current supporters. The key is to find how they like to be communicated with and plan your message around that.

 

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Within the organization, many may see different types of communications as working separately from one another. Typically, there is some sort of hierarchy among these departments: your organization may prioritize social media over direct mail. However, your audience won’t see it that way.

Encourage integration between departments of your organization and especially between different types of communications. Think of this as a more horizontal type of hierarchy, where all communications work together to convey a consistent message.

 

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In simplest terms, segmentation is the act of taking your entire audience and dividing it up into subgroups. This is huge because, as you might have guessed, donors will not respond in the same ways or to the same messages as volunteers.

However, segmentation does not have to be based on the type of supporter. You may even break up your subgroups into more defined groups based on location, lifestyles, income, etc.

This one is tricky and it completely depends on your audience and scope of reach, but it is extremely important in making sure that you are reaching the right audience and tailoring your message to their needs.

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When it comes to marketing, especially in the nonprofit world, we often focus on changing the minds and attitudes of our supporters and on raising awareness for our cause or upcoming event. However, according to Schultz, the key driver behind integrated marketing communications is impacting behavior.

What we should be trying to do is understand how and why our audience acts, or why it isn’t necessarily jumping to action. Think about what exactly you want your target audience to do and build your message around that. And if you are able to, create easy two-way communication between you and them. That means a call-to-action that is truly worthy of action, and landing pages that are visually appealing and easy to navigate.

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Much like attitudes and awareness, the efficiency of your media tools should not be your main measurement of communications success. As an organization, you have a brand that relays a message and you want to get your target audience in contact with your brand, rather than just recognizing it.

Bring your audience in contact with your message in as many ways as you can that are beneficial to your organization. This doesn’t mean that you should blast them with emails every day, but make sure your audience comes in contact with your message on your site, social media accounts, newsletter and any other consistent communication tool that you use.

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While encouraging action is important, it’s not the only thing. Getting your audience to react and change how they feel about you is major. Word-of-mouth is a powerful communication tool in itself, so you want to do all that you can to have people talk positively about your organization to their friends, coworkers and families.

Not only does integrated marketing create consistency in your communications, it can build trust among your audience and generate some positive reactions to your content.

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Rolling out communications only make up one small part of the overall picture. You must also think about the other departments or people that are doing their own thing to make sure your nonprofit’s communications are effective.

As you plan your communications and the message you want to relay to your audience, don’t be afraid to talk out your plan with others in your organization, such as your graphic designer or even the social media intern. Not only does this boost collaboration and the potential for fantastic ideas, but it creates unity among your nonprofit and ensures that no one accidentally puts out a message that goes against yours.

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Basically, what worked on your last donor or your last fundraising campaign may not necessarily work for the next. This goes for your budget, visuals, copy and even audience segmentation. Each marketing campaign should begin from scratch, using the most appropriate communication tools and tailoring the message for its current purpose.

That’s not to say that you won’t have some overlap from campaign to campaign, but the fresher the material, the more likely it is to be noticed.

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This one is simple, yet it’s something that you may find yourself forgetting about after you roll out a marketing campaign. Do you have any numbers on the click-through rate of your email blasts? How about the return on your investment in your communications for a specific event?

These are just a couple of ways to measure the success of your communications, but regardless of how you choose to measure the value of your communications, make sure you actually do it. You won’t know what to continue or improve if you don’t measure results.