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How do you stay ahead in a competitive environment? Communication is the most crucial aspect of any marketing strategy, and in this digital age, we have the advantage of being able to easily adapt our message and how we communicate, however and whenever we choose. But the flipside of this range of choice is making sure the message is the same across channels, and in particular the trick is to ensure that all online communication is consistent with any offline collateral.
This is where integrated marketing comes in. No longer is it about who barks the loudest—instead, it is about who is most coherent across all touch points.
Think of your integrated marketing plan as a game of chess. Every piece you move affects the movement of other pieces and influences your chances of capturing the king. Likewise, each piece of communication and each approach work hand in hand, ideally resulting in the most effective, long-lasting strategy possible. But, one wrong move can ruin the whole game plan.
An integrated marketing strategy should provide a seamless experience for customers as they interact with your brand or product. Social media, PR, direct marketing, and advertising should convey a consistent message across all platforms. Doing so amplifies the message of each one, creating a positive feedback loop where messages are reinforced at different times and in different contexts.
In addition, this approach will allow you to spend wisely—no more wasted money on ads with no impact, or social media posts with no engagement.
Here are five points to consider.
1. Take aim and fire
What do you want to achieve? This is your first move. Setting a goal is a good way to remind yourself what you are working toward along the way. Whether you are looking to launch a product or brand, or to increase awareness, the entire campaign must lead to your ultimate target. Don’t stray.
2. Speak to your customers
Consider the potential difficulties. Assessing and understanding your audience is a complex task. In Japan, whether you are promoting something in English or Japanese, cultural influences and subtleties are important. But most of all, think carefully about the differences in the way people consume media, the platforms they use, the language that engages them in those contexts, and the content that interests them, then tailor your ads and posts to that without straying from your core message. Remember, consistency is the aim of the game here.
3. Research, research, research
This cannot be stressed enough. Platforms evolve and completely new ones appear, so keep on top of these trends in media. Understand their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and how your competition is using them—and this will give you a competitive edge. Then think about how this could affect the way your message is received, particularly across different channels.
4. Put on your creative hat
This is the fun part. Get the team together to brainstorm and remember that all ideas are valuable. Take the time to note things that inspire you to help form your output and develop the visual elements alongside your main message. Ask yourself: can I creatively leverage the unique features of each channel, all the while not deviating from my core message? Establishing a solid brand persona is crucial in order to interact with consumers while delivering messages at the right time, place, and with the most appropriate language.
Establishing a solid brand persona is key to interacting with consumers while delivering messages at the right time, place, and using the right language.
—Megumi Okazaki, Head of Project Management
5. Tailor communication
Is Twitter a social media platform that you need and is it the best way to respond to customers? Does your audience mostly use Instagram? How effective is video compared with the written word in meeting your goal? Once you have decided on your targets, identify the best way to share your content and package it to fit the format of different platforms.
Ultimately this unified marketing approach will increase brand loyalty, help cultivate consumer relationships, boost profits and increase sales. It’s time to dig your paws into the snow and establish yourself as the pack leader.
If you’re looking for some outside advice on how best to approach your messaging, platforms and content, email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.