Integrated Marketing Plan / by Thomas Berry

by Thomas Berry

TL;DR - Instead of building your online presence with one step in mind at a time, consider the full system that you want to build. This will allow you to make sure all 5 steps (SEO, SEM, SMM, CRM, Loyalty) work together cohesively.

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Digital marketing in the digital age is more complicated than ever! There are many reasons why it’s complicated: there are too many similar services and companies, it’s hard to differentiate your business in a digital landscape from every other business that offers the same services or goods, and each service is extremely complicated to use to get your business identity online.  Even if you study day and night to learn how to “do it right” (as if there is a real right and wrong way to do digital marketing that anyone could say is definitive), you still have to try to master so many different components. If you want social media marketing you can try to be an ace at Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat and every other of the dozens of actual social networks. If you want to be on search engines you can get away with just using Google AdWords but even that has hundreds of changes a year and you are just choosing to not market to your Yahoo and Bing customers which is approximately 25% of the market. If you want to get your website to rank better you have the option of using an agency or learning web development yourself or many other in between and sometimes shady option that are out there. So “complicated” is an understatement.

Integrated Marketing Plan | RelyOn

This is one of the main reasons why marketing agencies exist. What I’d like to teach you about is the baseline that every business owner needs to understand: integrated marketing. As a small to medium business owner you don’t need to really know all the cogs of the system, you will need to get someone to handle each skill set needed, but what you should know is your integrated roadmap that you’d want to follow. This can also be referred to as the customer journey or your end-to-end acquisition funnel for business growth. This is normally 3-5 components. First there is the technical implementation to get your digital presence to work for you (normally called Search Engine Optimization or SEO). Next, there is the marketing that you do to drive traffic to your website and build hype about your brand (normally called Search Engine Marketing or SEM). Concurrently most businesses will do some form of Social Media Marketing (which I’m going to coin as SMM since I couldn’t find a 3 letter acronym for it). Afterwards your business needs to process all that traffic and leads into an organized Customer Relationship System (CRM) that will help you to convert that traffic to sales for your business. Finally, there would have to be a system or systems that will allow you engage with your customers to build loyalty and trust in your brand.

This closed loop system is a process that would allow a business owner to build their content, find their customers, and keep them so that they can make a positive ROI on their business. Most business owners focus on each separately and that is the struggle that leads to stress for all of us. None of those components can or should be done individually. If you don’t take into account the brand while you develop the site or what your going to do with the traffic when you set up the marketing, you are wasting money and time. The message I want to convey, if nothing else is that a business owner needs to understand the entire roadmap that they are going to take and plan out what they will need in each step. Who to hire? What tools and software or hardware will be required? What happens if it all works? What happens if it all fails? What does the end solution say about your business? Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone with this. Amazing things can happen.

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
- Albert Einstein

So where do you start? With a fully integrated marketing agency of course! This means that you find an agency that can help with all these needs. Some parts they might be able to just consult and direct you on where to go. Others might be able to help you with the end-to-end scope of what you need. You’ll always find that each agency is better at one part than at another unless they are a very large agency so that they have specialized departments for each step in the process. But, that’s fine! They might be the best at CRM development and just OK at Social Media Marketing. If they can lay the groundwork for an integrated social presence then afterwards you can get another agency that is better at social to take that portion over. The fact that you have it integrated and worked with an agency that was able to do that even if they don’t know the ins and outs of creating Snapchat stories and Facebook milestones is perfectly fine! Remember, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

If this article was interesting as a starting place for you as a business owner or agency learning the market, please subscribe so that you can see the follow up article that talk about how to handle each one of the 5 steps. Thank you!