Integrated Marketing – Defying the Laws of Mathematics

One plus one equals two. That’s what we all learn in school. But, my old calculus teacher, Mr. Saunders, would be dismayed to find that the same doesn’t hold true in the world of marketing. When a company subscribes to a carefully thought-out integrated marketing plan, they soon find that one plus one actually equals three (or if the campaign’s really good, even more). Although I don’t have a blackboard and chalk, I will attempt to explain this formula.

Integrated marketing is when your creative approach, branding assets, and messaging are consistently pushed out through all the various marketing platforms available to your campaign. From flyers to television spots, magazine ads to digital banners, integrated marketing makes sure that potential customers hear and see the same messaging over and over, creating deeper impressions and greater residual top-of-mind awareness.

Relative to our arithmetic problem, when integrated marketing is employed, the overall effect is greater than the sum of its parts. In other words, simple tracking data or analytics doesn’t give you the whole story when it comes to integrated marketing results. Although you can measure the number of pay-per-click conversions a client has received, or you can measure web hits, or calls to a tracking number, what you cannot account for is the dissemination of information brought about by deep branding efforts, or what I call “water cooler talk.”

“Water cooler talk” is a broad term for anybody who’s been exposed to a business’s marketing efforts, and then talks about it, recommends it, or references that business to somebody else. For instance, if you need repair work done on your car, your friend may recommend the place he heard about on the radio with the killer jingle that indicates they will “beat anybody’s price,” the same place that had a coupon in the mail that said “We’ll beat anybody’s price,” and the same place with the billboard on the highway that says “We’ll beat anybody’s price.” Because your friend has been exposed to the same name and message consistently, it will be top-of-mind and he will most likely tell you about it because he knows, “they will beat any price.” If that same friend was exposed to a radio ad with a jingle that says, “beat anybody’s price,” and then a coupon mailer that says, “Voted best repair shop in the city,” and then a billboard that says, “We fix you up fast,” no simple connection will be drawn in your friend’s mind to create recollection when the time is right. As far as your friend’s brain is concerned, he was exposed to ads for three different businesses with three different messages, and now he’s lucky if he can remember who will “beat anybody’s price,” and rather than steer you wrong, he will just keep his mouth shut.

I experienced this mathematical results phenomenon when marketing for a private specialty medical practice. After setting up a campaign across radio, television, and the web, we were dismayed to find that the special tracking number we had spent so much time acquiring, setting up, and monitoring was basically worthless. People were being exposed to our messaging consistently across the multiple platforms, but rather than call the number we set-up when they needed specific medical attention, they recalled the doctor’s name (consistently branded throughout the ads) and simply went to Google before calling a generic number found online. We found that family members, recalling the doctor’s name from top-of-mind awareness, would recommend the doctor to their loved ones. We even had one other doctor call the office and say he had seen and heard the campaign and was referring patients to our client. In the end, our tracking number was a bust and the campaign would appear to have failed if judgment was based solely on analytics, but the campaign increased the doctor’s new patient load by almost 30%!

I know my old calculus teacher would frown at our mathematical formula of “one plus one equals three,” but I have yet to hear a client complain about such creative addition, and they’re the ones giving me my report card now.

Glint Advertising & Design specializes in building integrated campaigns that accomplish brand goals and get phenomenal results. To find out how an integrated campaign can benefit your business, give us a call at (817) 616-0320 or send us an e-mail at digital@glintadv.com.