Your Guide to Integrated Marketing Campaigns

Integrated marketing campaigns are now the standard of advertising as audiences are exposed to more types of media and become used to engaging with companies and sharing with their network.

An integrated campaign is made up of advertisements that are focused and consistent yet customized to each media channel used. Snickers’ “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign by AMV BBDO executed this quite well as this theme carried through different media to reach customers and leave lasting impressions. TV spots with celebrities acting out a scenario in which they played the hungry side of someone’s personality, where played alongside the hashtag: #EatASnickers on Twitter, and customers were given “emergency” Snickers in person at busy metro stations during their morning commute. Throughout Snickers conveyed one message: “Snickers keeps you satisfied”, along one theme: “You’re not you when you’re hungry”, to pass along one call to action: “Eat a Snickers”, through various media channels thus creating an integrated campaign. So how do you begin this process?


Step 1: Do your research

Whether you plan to use Porter’s 5 forces, a PEST analysis, a detailed SWOT analysis or Power SWOT, make sure it is comprehensive. This is where the direct and indirect competition’s ongoing and previous campaigns can be leveraged or avoided altogether. You don’t want to miss out on current or upcoming trends, but also don’t want to repeat what everyone else is doing.

Using a ‘combined’ Porter’s/SWOT method will allow you to efficiently evaluate Porter’s 5 forces by listing the Threats for each one. Then find all the ways you already offset these under Strengths and how you can address the other under your Opportunities. Finally, highlight the most important and achievable  Strengths and Opportunities. This is what you will leverage or pursue in your campaign.

Don’t forget to research your customers, too. You should be able to develop a target market profile that answers the following: where they live, how much they make, their family status, what they do and do not like, what their interests and hobbies include, for what, where and why they shop, which media they are likely to see and which they will ignore – for example, Do they take public transit often? Do they look up from their mobile phones when on the subway? What time of day will they be likely to see a transit ad? What mood will they be in at that time? How and will they follow up on the call to action in the ad?


Step 2: Create useful marketing objectives

This can be the hardest step and often two mistakes are made: 1) The objectives are not linked to any of the company’s long-term goals and 2) The objectives are unclear and unmeasurable.

Dave Chaffey at Smart Insights provides a simple table to combat this first mistake. He recommends using a 4 column table: The first column is your objectives. You should have a few, but no more than 5. Second you provide evidence that this is achievable based on your research in Step #1. Third, decide on the actual tactics you will use to reach each objective – for example, if the objective is to “Improve brand perception”, you might have tactics that include: – highlight positive company reviews – sponsor a local event – hold a contest and showcase winners online. Fourth, outline the metric you will use to track the objective’s progress. To take this further, add a final column that states which long-term business goal each objective supports – Revenue Growth, Product Innovation, Awareness, Acquisition, Online Presence, Corporate Social Responsibility, Customer Service, etc., etc.

Avoiding the second mistake, unclear and unmeasurable objectives, is all in the way you phrase them. If your objectives is to “Gain more website visits”, you do not know where these visits should come from, how you will track them, how you hope to gain and when you will stop counting them. This is what the SMARTER objective is all about:

Specific: Is the objective focused and sustainable?
A few examples: drive purchases, increase brand recall, improve brand perception, increase awareness of a new product line, acquire customers from a specific region, retain customers with high purchase frequency.

Measurable: Can you regularly check that your objective is on track using a meaningful metric? How will you change course if it is not?

Attainable: Is this objective possible? Does it align with your corporate goals?

Relevant: Will the objective help you get to the desired goal or is it just a “nice to have”? Should time, money and effort be put into this objective and why? Is this useful/engaging/effective for your target?

Timely: When will you start and/or finish this objective? What are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that show you the objective is on schedule?

Evaluate: Is it meeting expectation? Are we missing the target audience? Is this objective still consistent with the company’s goals? How is it affecting the other objectives? – for example, if you aim to create better packaging, but this is negatively affecting a goal to reduce pollution, you will need to adjust one or both of these objectives.

Re-evaluate: How frequently will this objective be evaluated?

Here are a few examples of SMARTER goals:

  • Create a 10% increase in online revenue following a 3 week print ad placement.
  • Acquire 50,000 new customers at an average order profitability of $100 by September 2016.
  • Increase website traffic by 18% by the end of the quarter.
  • Reward 150 active customers within the next 3 months.


Step 3: Design your advertisements

Now is the time to put it all together. Creative briefs are most often used to compile the most pertinent information for the project and its creative theme. There are different templates one could use to write a creative brief, but they will typically highlight background and target information, list the marketing objectives and outline the brand positioning, product benefits, desired tone of ads and media channels to be used. Next, it is time to design your advertisements, planning exactly what images will be used, the layout and the copy. Be sure to stay focused, but dare to be creative with each media channel you use.

Often advertisers miss the importance of being customer-centric. Do not choose an ad layout because you like it, but because it is eye catching for your target audience. Choose copy that will be memorable and relevant to them. Evaluate each ad carefully through fresh eyes and ask yourself: What is your customer’s journey, from first seeing an ad to purchase? Does each media channel effectively lead to the next and drive the customer towards your desired objective? Is there a connection between the images, the message, your brand, and the campaign as a whole? Does it make sense to your audience given their current perception of your company? Will it change their perception positively? What other ways could the ad be interpreted?


Step 4: Create an implementation plan

Budgets, timelines and media buys, oh my! As you work through step #3, you will start to plan out each media you will use, calculate the desired reach and frequency, weigh this against the cost of ad space, and then consider the best times or season to place your ad. For deadlines to media publishers, keep lead times, the time between the date you submit your ad and the date it is published, in mind. Online posts are instant and tend to be flexible, while print usually requires a longer lead time. A media blocking chart, like the example found here, is a simple way to visually track when each media will roll out so that you can allow for time to create and submit your advertisements on time.

If you are planning to publish on social media or any other channel with ongoing engagement, be sure to consider the need for staff to monitor the pages and continue to post content. To stay on track with this, you can make up a social media post schedule using Excel or a more intuitive program like Hubspot, which tracks your best times for engagement and lets you schedule your next posts in advance.


Step 5: Evaluate your campaign’s effectiveness

As the SMARTER objective outline suggests, you will need to track your progress and evaluate how the program has performed. This should be done during the campaign, to avoid issues in advance and once it has ended, to determine the effectiveness of continuing the campaign.

Most online programs like AdWords, Constant Contact, iSpot, Hubspot and Hootsuite, have an analytics service built into the package that will provide the metrics for your evaluation. If you decide not to use these systems or are not using the numbers they provide, you will want to be sure you’ve already determined your key metrics and tested them. An incorrect analysis could compromise your campaign and lead you to continue spending where there is little to no return.

Metrics like sales revenue, are fairly straightforward, but if you want to track how many customers found your product through an online ad or email invite, you’ll want to use Unique URLs. If you want to track the age of customers that visit your website after seeing a billboard or print ad, you can request that users sign in and ask for their age and “how they heard about your company”. Metrics don’t have to be complex, but they must be accurate and not interfere with the customer experience.


By now what you should now know about integrated campaigns is:

  1. They consider internal and external influences – how each objective will support the overall company strategy and address the industry’s competitive trends.
  2. They maintain a simple, clear and consistent call to action.
  3. They integrate all media channels by driving traffic to and from one another.
  4. They’re customer-centric and focused on the target’s perception of an ad, where and when they will see it and how they want to engage with the company.
  5. They use meaningful and accurate metrics that allow them to be monitored and adapted.

Key documents you’ll need:

  • Background Analysis
  • Target Market Profile(s)
  • SMARTER Marketing Objectives Table
  • Creative Brief
  • Ad Mock-ups and Story Boards
  • Reach and Frequency Calculations
  • Customer Journey Map
  • Implementation Plan including a Budget, Project Timeline, and Media Blocking Chart
  • Social Media Post Schedule
  • Metrics Tracking Plan, Reports and Analyses


Happy planning!

Let us know how this article has helped you or share your own tips for designing an intergrated campaign below.