How to Save Your Marketing Plan from Falling to Pieces

Your marketing plan could be in pieces and you might not even know it. Think about it—an unsolicited appeal here, a soft-ask there. A direct mail piece sent, an email marketing campaign received on the same day with a different message.

You’re probably thinking, “No, not OUR organization. WE wouldn’t do that.”

No, probably not intentionally; but these are the types of things that could easily happen without an integrated marketing plan in place. And they’re exactly the types of occurrences that turn donors off to even the best organizations.

Let’s talk about what an integrated marketing plan can do for your organization and why you should strive for it.

What Integrated Marketing Is

Let’s boil it down to the simplest of terms—unified.

Sure, it gets more complicated than that; but if you remember nothing else about integrated marketing, remember that you should be taking a unified approach to your marketing tactics.

Integrated marketing means that all the pieces of your marketing campaign are working together seamlessly, whether consistent branding even on stand-alone pieces or

Duct Tape Marketing has perhaps my favorite headline to describe what we’re talking about in an article titled, “What the Heck is Integrated Marketing Anyway?” At one point, I’m sure that’s the exact thought we’ve all had.

The article goes on to describe it as “the tactical delivery of a marketing strategy.” Let’s think about what that means:

  • It requires brainstorming and thoughtfulness.
  • It means different marketing pieces play into and support one another.
  • It means thinking through to the end goal instead of the short term.

Other words that have been used to describe integrated marketing include “seamless” and “multidimensional.”

Multi-dimensional is my favorite part of the description because it implies that there are various aspects to your campaign. It goes further than just having multiple channels of marketing that aren’t stepping on each others’ toes. It could mean that an aspect of your direct mail piece led your audience online to a landing page—and all of the pieces also featured the same hashtag leading to your social media sites that are donning a consistent message; one that relates to the entire campaign.

What It Means for Your Organization

Many of you out there are a one-person marketing department. In this case, that could give you an advantage (say what?!). If you have one person controlling the brand of your organization, it’s easier to keep consistency across all channels. The downside is that you’re only one person, which makes brainstorming and planning more difficult. If that’s the case, find a test group to talk about your plans and to bounce ideas off of.

If you’re a larger organization, you’ll have more hoops to jump through in order to keep the consistent branding and message across all boards. You can combat that issue by developing branding guidelines and a system to check off for consistency. Your advantage as a large nonprofit is that there are strength in numbers when it comes to the planning process for your marketing plan. Make sure to utilize it.

Look for Unique Ways to Integrate

Remember, there are many different ways to integrate across your organization. For example, our friend Steven Shattuck wrote for us about the importance of integrating your donor acknowledgements and appeals.

Unified, seamless and multidimensional should be words that describe the caliber of your entire organization.

You’re taking a step in the right direction by simply thinking in an integrated mindset.
Tell us in the comments below—how is your organization using integration for marketing success?

marketing plan

Lyndsey Hrabik

Lyndsey is a former editor for Nonprofit Hub and Nonprofit Hub Magazine. She now serves as a guest contributor, writing on topics such as social media, technology, marketing and starting a nonprofit.

February 11, 2016

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