By Jake Clements

The term “integrated marketing” has been around for decades, but the concept behind the buzzword is just as relevant today as it was then. For example, according to the PEW Research Center, 64% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind, so it’s vital to consider the impact such changes have made on various marketing channels.

 Today, you have to examine how each element in a marketing plan works to achieve the objective. When marketing channels are strategically combined, they increase the response of each individual channel by creating synergy for a successful campaign. Each channel has its place, but it must have a clearly defined purpose if it is to advance the overall goal.

Think of it like a football team: You don’t win games with just one player, the team has to work together to move the ball and defend their turf. A star running back is only as good as his offensive line. Quality content can advance your brand, but without strong channels (social media, email, blogs, website, etc.) to communicate the content, it’s pointless.

For example, billboards used to be nothing more than brand awareness channels, however, they can now be transformed into direct marketing tools. Today, anyone can respond to a call to action simply by pulling out his or her smartphone:

  • Billboard offers a 10% discount at

  • Consumer uses smartphone to visit website

  • Portal captures consumer information and emails the coupon

  • Retailer offers additional 5% incentive for sharing on social media

This is a simple example, but it shows how retailers can easily attract new consumers, add potential customers to an email database for future marketing and turn them into mini brand ambassadors by getting them to share on social media. In the end, the retailer has effectively integrated a combination of offline, online and social channels.

So how do you create an effective integrated marketing campaign? Simply consider the following:

  • Who is your target audience?

  • How do they consume information?

When considering which channels to use in your marketing campaign, it’s vital to understand your audience and how they interact with various channels. Campaigns do not have to be complex, but effective integration is essential for success.