What is an integrated marketing agency?
An integrated marketing agency is an extension of your business. Taking a holistic approach to brand strategy and marketing communications, integrated agencies have the resources and skills to effectively promote your company across all channels.
Hiring an assortment of contractors, freelancers and single-specialty agencies is like going to different restaurants for each dish in a five-course meal. You’ll still feel full, but it’s inefficient and the entrée may not pair well with the dessert.
The advantages of working with an integrated marketing agency
An integrated marketing agency brings many advantages over working with an assortment of contracted workers and vendors. These advantages can be referred to as integrated communications: a cohesive, holistic approach to branding and marketing.
Integrated communications strategies bring much-needed consistency of tone, messaging, style and quality to your brand.
Let’s say your business hires a freelancer to write blog copy, contracts a graphic designer from a staffing agency, partners with a production company to produce video content and leverages another agency to manage social media channels. Who makes all of these distinct pieces come together into a consistent brand story?
If you’re reading this, it’s probably you.
You will not only be responsible for managing these disparate projects, but also for wrangling them into a cohesive package.
Here’s what I mean:
You’ll have to ensure that the logos created by the designer are sent to the production company; you’ll have to edit the writer’s content and pass it along to the social media agency; essentially, you’ll become a middleman between the people you hired. And when one piece of collateral does not align with the others, it will be on you to communicate the fix.
An integrated marketing agency lets you hold on to the reins while a team of experts does the work for you.
The agency provides the writers, designers, videographers, social media experts and a host of other marketing resources such as enterprise-grade tools. As a client, you can work with a dedicated team that will learn your brand inside and out, thus serving as an extension of your internal marketing efforts.
Why communication cannot be overrated
When you work with an agency that takes a holistic approach to marketing, you benefit immensely from team communication.
Rather than existing in silos, your marketing team members will work side-by-side, sharing resources, knowledge and expertise. Meanwhile, you’ll have a single point of contact, keeping communications clear and consistent. When you give direction, you only need to give it once.
How integrated marketing improves audience engagement
When you see a familiar face in a crowd of strangers, you can’t help but smile. Familiarity is comforting and less mentally taxing than novelty. We like things we’ve encountered in the past because we understand them.
In the marketing world, change can be disconcerting. If your favorite brand of yogurt redesigns its packaging, it not only takes you a few seconds longer to locate it on the supermarket shelf, but also stops you from thinking about your future enjoyment of the product. “Mmm…” becomes “Hmm?”
This challenge arises on a smaller scale every time your content does not align with other brand elements.
When a customer visits your Facebook page, do they see the same brand values that are reflected in your TV advertisements? Is it the same messaging, but in a different visual style? Any discrepancies could distract from the overall message.
Consumers really do notice when a brand’s messaging is inconsistent.
The majority of consumers believe integrated marketing builds brands, and 65 percent look favorably on integrated campaigns. However, consumers expect these campaigns to integrate seamlessly, and a significant number of them believe marketers could be doing better. In fact, 42 percent of surveyed consumers said they’re still having divergent experiences across channels.
Without a dedicated marketing partner, brands will struggle to develop cohesive messaging. Managing far-flung freelancers and contractors requires significant time and effort that could be spent on more important tasks.
Why every brand can benefit from integrated marketing
Integrated communications isn’t just for brands that market across many channels. In fact, an agency can supplement your company’s existing efforts, giving you more resources to work with.
For example, if your organisation develops research-heavy whitepapers, an agency could repurpose that content into a more digestible format, such as blog posts or infographics.
An integrated agency will do more than generate assets for you – it will delve into your brand, find out what resonates with your target audience and create content that aligns perfectly with your other efforts.
Whatever your brand’s energy, an integrated agency will match it.
Marketing is never easy, but having a knowledgeable partner ensures that the effort is well-spent. Integrated communications demonstrate to consumers your brand’s willingness to invest in quality content that provides value consistently.