The terms integrated marketing and multichannel marketing are sometimes used interchangeably. It’s easy to see why: integrated marketing can include multiple channels and multichannel marketing can be integrated. Think of intersecting Venn diagrams: the two strategies overlap but are not exactly the same.
The key takeaway is that integrated marketing and multichannel marketing create a powerful impact when you use them together. Incorporate both to improve marketing effectiveness.
Integrated marketing delivers a unified, consistent message to an audience through a variety of tactics and possibly across multiple channels. When you are exposed to the same marketing message and recognize the look and feel of a company’s marketing content whenever and wherever you interact with the organization, you are experiencing integrated marketing.
For example, you open a marketing email, click on an offer, and end up on a landing page that looks a lot like the email and delivers the same message. You download the white paper or register for the webinar and those also have the same message and look to them. Later you might see a display add or a social media post with the same themes and offer. You click on the ad or read the post. On the back end, the organization is tracking each touch you have with the company. That’s an example of integrated marketing.
Benefits of integrated marketing include:
- A more memorable experience for your audience throughout their buying journey due to a seamless, consistent exposure of your marketing message.
- A stronger brand image created through consistent messaging and visuals across all marketing content.
- Cost effectiveness through the re-use of content and imagery.
- Ability to track and analyze all the components of a campaign.
Multichannel marketing simply means you are using more than one channel to connect with your audience. A multichannel campaign might be integrated by using the same key messages, visuals, content, and offer across each channel. This would likely be the case if you are targeting the same audience across all channels.
In other cases, you might use different strategies on different channels to target different customer segments. You’re engaged in multichannel but not necessarily integrated marketing. For example, you’re targeting economic buyers with ROI concerns when you publish an executive brief or sponsor an analyst report. But you’re connecting with engineers and technical professionals when you post data sheets and how-to videos. Or you use different channels for different product/geographic markets.
Benefits of multichannel marketing include:
- Ability to target different customer segments or customers at different stages of their buying journey.
- Greater brand awareness through a wider market presence.
- Reaching engineers and other target audience members using their preferred medium. For example, some like to read blog posts, others like to watch videos.
You also hear about omnichannel marketing. If multichannel marketing means using multiple channels, does omnichannel marketing mean you use every possible channel?
No. Most experts will say that in omnichannel marketing, channels are integrated to deliver a consistent customer experience across the board, even when customers skip around among channels.
For instance, a prospect might visit your website one day, read a marketing email the next day, and poke around your social media posts another time. Each time a customer interacts with you, through whatever device or channel they happen to be using, they will have a consistent, brand-recognizable, cohesive experience.
That sounds a lot like integrated marketing and multichannel marketing combined. So instead of saying integrated, multichannel marketing, let’s just call it omnichannel marketing.
There’s no need to get caught up on exact definitions. The point is to be a successful industrial marketer, you have to know how and when to create an integrated campaign using multiple channels—because those strategies working together will create the best customer experience and could lead to the best results for you as well.