Digital + Traditional: The Integrated Marketing Plan

In a world that appears dominated by digital, traditional marketing is alive and well. In fact,  I’m often asked about best practices for creating an integrated marketing plan – one that includes both digital and traditional marketing initiatives.

Here are my tips:

To create an effective, integrated marketing plan, first determine your goals and work from there to the customer. Are you launching a new product? Breaking into a new market? Trying to increase sales of existing products? Each requires a different approach.

Some tools are better than others for things like immediate response, lead generation, and awareness. For example, a print campaign in a trade publication can be a good way to build brand awareness over time, but it’s unlikely to generate immediate sales.

Online marketing can support lead generation goals with content marketing that effectively positions your company as a leader in the industry. Things like PPC (pay per click) or social campaigns can be used to convert sales and create brand advocacy.

As a marketing, you should understand the tools available to you and how each will contribute to your overall objectives. Then build a plan that leverages these items and takes advantage of opportunities to achieve greater value by combining digital and traditional media: A print campaign can encourage online activity with QR codes or content downloads, a digital campaign can drive offline traffic to a store or event.

What are the primary differences between “old” and “new” marketing?

Traditional marketing tools like print advertising, trade shows and sponsorships can be both expensive and hard to measure.

Conversely, the advantage of digital marketing is that it provides a wealth of data on impressions, clicks and conversions. Digital programs can also be managed with a much more fluid budget, ramping activity up and down as needed.

The challenge of digital is to use the available data effectively. Be sure you are measuring the right metrics, not just the ones that are the easiest to get. Things like follow counts and website impressions may sound like good metrics, but what do they really tell you about the business impact of these efforts?

Measure your results in terms of engagement and revenue. Are you connecting with customers online? Are sales increasing? Is your referral base growing? Those are metrics that can serve as key indicators of business growth.

It All Adds Up

Something that is often overlooked by executives at companies of all sizes is the cumulative impact of an integrated plan that marries both traditional and digital marketing. An offline impression from an ad, radio spot or billboard can be an important part of a customer’s decision to click on a link in an email or on a PPC ad.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the “last click” is the one responsible for the conversion. While it may be difficult, if not impossible, to determine the exact series of impressions that leads to a sale, the best marketers know that these things actually work together to deliver better results than any single medium.

Take a holistic view of the results of your programs to calculate net ROI rather than breaking out individual tactics. (Use data on individual tactics to be sure they are performing as intended, but don’t place the entire weight of your campaign on a single tool.)

If necessary, adjust the marketing mix like you might tweak your favorite recipe: a little at a time.

  1. Pingback: Digital + Traditional: The Integrated Marketing Plan | Fresh Sprouts | Captainslacko's Pay Per Click
  2. Good one Joellyn, thanks!

    I shared this post on our Facebook page (it should be up tonight – I buffered it) at

    We’re very much on the bandwagon to get organizations to understand not only the purpose behind working towards an integrated marketing communications plan, but to measure the correct metrics for each tactic/discipline/channel. Mainly because, for people to understand our IMC performance measurement tool, they have to embrace it first!

    Thanks for helping to spread the word!

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