Member Advice: Integrated marketing and business - it's all connected
Family Business Place Ambassador, Tabitha Fox, explains why family businesses should be thinking about their marketing differently.
There's a big difference between marketing and integrated marketing. Without wanting to put ourselves out of a job, anyone can do marketing, it might not be good marketing, but they can do it. Setting up some social media accounts and bashing out a post every now and then isn't difficult, but we'd also argue that it isn't effective either. To borrow (and moderately corrupt) M&S's wonderful strapline, "this isn't just any marketing strategy, this is an integrated marketing strategy".
It seems pertinent to use M&S as an example in this article because they have what can only be described as a winning integrated marketing strategy. In 2019, with clothing sales falling off a precipice, Marks & Spencer decided to increase their market share in grocery sales. To do that, they needed to persuade families to start shopping with them whilst still maintaining a feeling of quality and prestige on the high street. So, alongside rebranding and advertising through traditional marketing means, the company started thinking outside the box. They made their aisles wider (so people would use trollies), introduced giant, oinking Percy Pigs to their stores, teamed up with online grocery chain Ocado, and reduced their prices on their essentials. The result? At the end of 2021, M&S was listed as the fastest-growing food retailer in the supermarket sector, with a year-on-year growth of 10.7%! Integrated marketing works, and it will work for any sized business.
Business and marketing strategies should always go hand in hand. To effectively market your company, you must know where you plan to take it and identify the best way of getting there. Once you know where you want to go, you need to identify your target audience. For M&S, this was families; their existing audience was undoubtedly older people and retirees (everyone knows someone whose nan shopped in Marks & Spencer food halls). Their plan wouldn't have worked if they had just focused on their existing customer base.
Target audience identified; the next step is to consider what the marketing will look like and, more importantly, where your target audience will see it. M&S decided to focus on Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok. Yes, that's right, 'it's not just any Tik Tok page…', it's a page full of giant Percy Pigs dancing alongside staff from various stores (Romford excelled themselves with an M&S Christmas rap, and the Percy Pig boardroom video has had 679k views to date).
The important thing to remember about any integrated marketing strategy is that all the components complement each other and that, together, they create a well-rounded marketing package. Traditional marketing and newer digital platforms can work alongside each other to help you reach a marketing win. But it all needs to be meticulously planned and tested against your business strategy. Although, yes, that may sound daunting, that's why there are integrated marketing specialists like Not Another Marketing Agency who can help, advise on, and implement it for you.