2020: The Year of Integrated Advertising
Companies in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace are always looking for an edge. In the past, that edge might have involved a change in the production process, an adjustment in pricing strategy, or some logistical innovation. Nowadays, integrated advertising is often the fuel that a company needs to feed the fire of success.
Integrated advertising has been defined as a marketing strategy that stresses the importance of a consistent, seamless, multi-dimensional brand experience for the consumer. This means that each branding effort — across television, radio, print, Internet, and in-person — is presented in a similar style that reinforces the brand’s ultimate message.
In some cases, integrated advertising may involve a renewed commitment to digital fulfillment solutions that meet customer needs (such as Walmart’s new subscription service). In other situations, it may require a complete change in perspective on the part of company leaders.
Whatever the case may be, integrated advertising will be a game-changer for the rest of 2020. The following information will discuss why this is the case, and why companies should seriously consider shifting toward this marketing strategy.
Why is Integrated Advertising a Game-Changer for 2020?
Many brands have been gradually making the shift to integrated marketing over the past several years. Of course, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has only served to accelerate this trend — and the pivot towards integrated marketing shows no signs of slowing down. This only makes sense as consumers are in the midst of a “sea change” in regard to their own shopping behaviors. For instance, one survey found that 61% of consumers have discovered new ways to shop during the lockdown, and almost half of all consumers are engaging in significantly more online shopping than they were pre-COVID.
With the changes in consumer demands and expectations that we have already seen in 2020, it comes as no surprise that companies are scrambling to jump on the integrated marketing train and hopefully outpace their competition. CEOs and business owners do not want to become the brand that gets left behind.
As a result, many brands have refocused their approach toward integrated marketing, and have taken steps to change their perspective. In fact, this fundamental shift in mindset may be the single most important thing that a company can do to improve its customer service experience, not just in the moment, but for the long term.
A report from TEKsystems indicates that 72% of organizations are focused on improving their customer experience through digital transformation efforts. This and many other statistics provide evidence that integrated advertising is not only becoming a game-changer in today’s marketing world — it already is one.
Which Brands are Using an Integrated Advertising Approach?
Some of the major U.S. based retailers are investing heavily in an integrated advertising approach. The following list provides a small sample of all the brands that are committing themselves to provide a consistent customer experience across various channels:
- Disney. The entertainment giant’s mobile-responsive website, unified messaging, and a wide variety of potential touchpoints offers customers an exceptionally consistent and seamless experience, whether they are subscribing to the Disney+ streaming service or planning a trip to one of the company’s theme parks.
- Starbucks. The Starbucks rewards app is well integrated with all other customer touchpoints within the company. Customers can easily reload the app with money, make purchases from the app, and use their accumulated rewards with maximum convenience.
- Timberland. Timberland’s brick and mortar stores offer customers a unique, yet seamless experience around product information. Customers are provided with a tablet that, in conjunction with near-field communication technology, allows them to tap against products and signage and instantly receive specific details related to their item of interest.
How Does Integrated Advertising Affect the Buyer’s Journey?
Today’s typical buyer’s journey may involve the consumer interacting with the business across several channels before finally committing to a purchase. For instance, a consumer may see an item advertised on social media that interests him or her. Then the consumer may visit the company’s website to find out more about the product in question. Finally, the consumer may visit a physical store and make the purchase.
Consistency is key throughout the entirety of the buyer’s journey. One study found that 71% of consumers want a consistent experience across all channels, but only 29% actually feel like they get it.
Obviously, customers value simplicity and consistency in their shopping experience. Brands that can deliver these attributes to their customers will almost certainly foster brand loyalty among their target users. After all, customers appreciate companies that minimize the level of effort required to shop and maximize each user’s convenience and personalization.
Integrated Advertising in 2020 and Beyond
It goes with saying that 2020 has been a year of drastic and accelerated change. Nevertheless, many brands have changed with the times, and continue to adapt their marketing and operational strategies to meet the needs of their customers.
Integrated advertising has played a major role in these adaptations. Brands that are willing to innovate and invest in a simple and consistent experience across all marketing channels will no doubt see integrated advertising continue to drive profitability. Customers will become loyal advocates of the brand and will provide a continued source of revenue for the company. In addition, the organization’s reputation will be enhanced as it earns rave reviews because of the streamlined buyer’s journey that it allows.
In short, integrated advertising will continue to be a game-changer in 2020, and in the years to come.