Three Lessons Learnt From Running an Integrated Marketing Campaign

Integrated marketing and communications campaigns can be a tricky art to perfect. The challenge that we now face as communication specialists is that we live in a multi-media world, which means that new media and old media sit alongside one another, sometimes competing, other times working collectively. The game has changed. With the world around us constantly evolving, implementing fully integrated communications and brand campaigns is critical if any communications professional hopes to connect with a brand’s target audience and achieve results.

Public Relations and communications agency

This was the case with a recent Epic MSLGROUP campaign that we ran for local government medical scheme, SAMWUMED. In running the campaign for the brand, there were some hard lessons learnt on how to ensure that the money and time spent on the campaign would have the greatest impact. The campaign has turned out to be one of the most successful the agency has ever produced.

The three biggest learnings from this campaign, which can be applied to any integrated brand campaign, are:


1. It’s not me, it’s you

One of the biggest mistakes that PR professionals make is trying to convince both their clients and themselves that every channel is appropriate for the audiences that they are trying to target. Or worse, think that the channels that work for them personally are the right ones for their end user.

The reality is that not everyone will consume information in the same way. While we have become so accustomed to using platforms such Facebook and Twitter, it doesn’t necessarily mean that these are the most effective channels to connect with a brand’s audience.

In the case of the SAMWUMED campaign, investing budget in branded taxis and bus stops - instead of online banners - ultimately resulted in more of their existing (and potential) being exposed to their brand offering.


2. Speak to your audience

It is absolutely critical for communication and marketing specialists to fully understand who their target is, as well as the way in which they engage with a brand. If your audience is more likely to listen to the radio than log onto the internet, are you on this platform? It's better to concentrate efforts on the more effective channels than trying to be everywhere all the time for the sake of it.

Once the appropriate channels have been selected, it is important that you speak to the audience in a language that they understand. So, if you are planning on going into an isiZulu newspaper, make sure that whatever content (or advert) uses the same language and style that the reader expects from that publication. At the same time, avoid being derogatory or condescending to the reader by overusing any slang or colloquial. 

3. Consistency

There is an old marketing adage that says that someone will only start noticing a brand if they see or hear it three times or more. While this holds a lot of truth, what most people often forget is that it is equally important to ensure that there is consistency to any campaigns that you may run. This includes the visual language, tone and copy that you use.

By repeating the headlines, key phrases and images in each communication, you ensure that prospects and customers receive consistent messages each time they see one of the elements of the campaign. Creative consistency helps reinforce the basic campaign themes by increasing the number of times prospects see or hear the same message. If a message or campaign is too disjointed, consumers are less likely to start noticing your brand.

The SAMWUMED integrated communications campaign was a great example of brand consistency. In order to ensure that the brand and message was recognised, each channel and element had the same visual identity and messaging. Whether an individual was waiting at a bus stop, getting on a taxi, listening to the radio or reading a newspaper, consumers were easily able to identify and recognise the brand and brand message. As a result, both existing and potential members of the medical scheme started taking note.

Are we there yet?

Not all communications agencies have completely understood the importance of implementing fully integrated marking and communications campaigns, however, those who are doing this already are leagues ahead of their competitors. By integrating tools such as public relations, advertising, direct marketing, social media and sales promotion strategically, communications professionals are able provide clarity, consistency and maximum communications impact for their clients’ brands.