Millennials only care about their smartphones, boomers prefer to shop in store, and seniors are helplessly behind the technological times, right? You probably understand that things aren't really as black and white as that. The world is changing, and people — all people — are changing along with it, just in different ways. There are just as many ways for you to reach your customers, which is why an integrated marketing strategy is critical for your business.
Do Your Homework
Every business wants to reach as many potential customers as possible, but marketers can maximize efficiency by identifying just one or two demographics to focus on. Once you identify this sector, it is vital that you learn all you can about it. Although it might be tempting to generalize certain audiences (millennials only look at ads online, only those over 40 consume traditional media, etc.), it's important to perform some deeper research about the people you are trying to influence, as data can often subvert your expectations.
For instance, did you know that according to Mediapost, adults aged 25-54 are likely to perform online searches for a brand after seeing a TV commercial during the local news? Or that research reported in the Washington Post shows that most college students are still buying hard-copy books? Making sure you have the facts about often-misrepresented demographics is crucial if you want to reach your customers with a meaningful message.
Coordinate Traditional and Digital Initiatives
Once you know who your target demographic is and how best to reach them, you'll need to look at ways to combine traditional and digital components of your marketing campaign to reach as many relevant consumers as possible. For instance, let's say you're marketing a new flavor of organic granola. You're trying to reach young, health-conscious women, so you run a targeted banner ad campaign on popular health and fitness websites and blogs, and buy TV commercial spots that run during shows that are popular with your target audience. This double strike connects with a specific group of people in two related arenas. Ads don't have to be identical to be complementary — and it might be a good idea to switch up your message a bit between media (while retaining your brand identity) to help craft a holistic strategy.
Repeat Steps One and Two
Just because you've put together an integrated marketing strategy and successfully launched a campaign doesn't mean that your work is done. Pay very close attention to demographic shifts that seem to occur as a result of the campaign. If you see that certain elements are working better in certain areas than in others, or you are attracting demographics other than those you're targeting, don't be afraid to change gears and make adjustments where necessary.
It's easy to see that integrated marketing is a great way to build brand awareness, but the less obvious benefits, like a better understanding of your customers, are just as valuable.