Integrated Marketing Series: What is Integrated Marketing? (1 of 6)

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Aug 6, 2014 | Marketing & Branding

If you are like most senior living communities today, you have a website presence that serves as a first point of contact for consumers seeking information. You probably also engage in a variety of advertising, public relations, sales and special promotion initiatives. More and more communities are also taking advantage of social media as a productive means of interacting directly with potential customers and their adult children to highlight their lifestyle advantages.

With so many different media channels being used today by consumers, it can be very easy for your primary message to become diffused or blurred if not communicated consistently – and consistently well. Rather than a clear and compelling picture of your key advantages and benefits, your prospects could be confused as to what your message really is and what your brand actually stands for.

Effective marketing integration seeks to orchestrate your community’s key campaign message(s) in a harmonious, synergistic and timed manner through all of the communications channels you use to reach the customer. In addition to message consistency, marketing integration also focuses on the distribution of the message in a properly timed order or sequence based on interaction with the customer and the specific media used. When considering a fully integrated strategy, it is important to think beyond your print and online messaging to include your sales function as well. One key aspect of SageAge Strategies’ sales training program entails coordinating the sales message with the marketing message based upon where your prospect is in their “shopping” process.

In terms of “imprinting” your message, a well-conceived integrated marketing strategy has the power to make the whole greater than the sum of its various parts, while also optimizing the cost-effectiveness of your marketing budget.

Integrated Marketing Defined

According to one useful definition from Wikipedia, “True integrated marketing communications (IMC) is the development of marketing strategies and creative campaigns that weave together multiple marketing disciplines (paid advertising, public relations, etc.) that are selected and then executed to suit the particular goals of the brand.” Instead of simply using various media to help tell parts of a brand’s overall story, IMC leverages each communication channel’s intrinsic strengths to achieve a greater impact together than each channel could achieve individually.

Understanding Each Medium Can Sharpen Your Plan

To achieve the most effective outcomes, it is important for senior living communities to understand each medium’s (or channel’s) strengths and limitations, including their popularity, use rates, and conversion rate among your target audiences. This information can then be used to create an evidence-based multichannel strategy that not only speaks with a consistent voice, but is also more effective and cost efficient.

Why Marketing Integration Is So Important Today

Continuing advances in communications technology have expanded the number and variety of communications channels and changed how consumers and businesses interact. Mobile technology and the growth of social media outlets are prime examples. The sheer number of useful media options today requires that your overall plan is managed closely to assure that the end product is coherent and focused on the same goal(s).

Components of Integrated Marketing Communications

Today, senior living providers including independent living, CCRCs, assisted living and memory care communities commonly use the following marketing channels that can be fully integrated:

  • Advertising – Broadcast, print, Internet advertising, outdoor advertising, online classified ads, media ads

  • Direct Marketing – Direct mail, emails, telemarketing

  • Sales – Materials such as sell sheets, brochures, presentations

  • Online/Internet marketing – Email marketing, mobile marketing, user-preference coding or “Remarketing

  • Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, Pinterest, Instagram

  • Content Marketing – News releases, blogs, newsletters

  • Public Relations – Community outreach, public events, grand openings, press conferences

  • Special Promotions – Limited-time offers, contests, rebates, special events

When these diverse marketing communications options are properly coordinated in a comprehensive strategy that addresses message consistency and sequencing, you can create an effective campaign that delivers an overall impact that is greater than that provided by each medium individually.

In our next article in the series, we will review ways of creating a consistent message across all marketing channels while adjusting the context of the message to fit the particular channel.

Award-Winning Expertise Is Available to Help Your Community Grow

If you are a senior living community considering the need for assistance in increasing sales and building your brand, we encourage you to take advantage of our exceptional capabilities and experience in strategic market growth, census enhancement and customer engagement techniques. We are an industry leader that operates exclusively in the unique senior living marketplace and has the specialized expertise, extensive experience and award-winning results to enable you to succeed. As 2014 recipients of 10 Generations Awards for marketing excellence and the prestigious LTC LINK Supplier Award, SageAge Strategies invites you to contact us today at 570-601-1720 for more information about our suite of strategic services that will help your community grow.

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