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Integrated Marketing Isn’t Always Marketing

Creating brand messages is not just about creating great content, it’s about creating great audiences.

Marketing communications (advertising, PR, social media) is only the tail end of marketing. Marketing includes product, price and place, which all come well before promotion. That means integrated marketing communications – often incorrectly referred to simply as “integrated marketing” – is not an independent type of marketing, it’s only a latter-stage facet of marketing.
Why is that distinction important to brand content creators?
Because it’s not uncommon for content creators to launch into integrated marketing attempts without considering the development of an overall integrated marketing strategy.

You can’t communicate what you don’t know

If brand content writers don’t completely understand why a company has added certain features to its product, chosen the distribution channels it has, priced the product at its current selling level and targeted a specific demographic, it’s difficult to create content that helps manage a brand.
Brand content teams must include at least one marketing “geek” who understands the product’s USD, marketplace conditions, competitors, price sensitivity, demand elasticity and distribution rationale and can keep an eye on brand content writers and distributors to make sure the company creates content that properly manages the brand.
Understanding the first three Ps allows brand content creators to craft messages that effectively communicate the brand (not just the content) to buyers. It’s not enough to know a product has a certain feature; brand content writers must know why the company added that feature. It’s not enough to know why the product is low- or high-priced; brand content writers must know what would happen (in terms of branding and positioning) if the company raised or lowered its price.

Creating content vs. creating audiences

Creating brand messages is not just about creating great content, it’s about creating great audiences – and getting those audiences to act in a specific way. If you don’t do both, by definition, your content doesn’t work.
How tuned into your first three Ps are your brand content writers and distributors? Can they tell you why you’ve targeted customers by specific ages and genders? Can they tell you how you differ from your competitors? Do they know why you sell through brick-and-mortar locations or online?
Successful IMC requires integrating your messaging channels using the first three Ps.

Don’t shoehorn employees

This post on how to properly staff brand content positions explains the dangers of hiring a person who is expert at knowing how to tweet without knowing what to tweet. You can’t be successful with integrated marketing communications without a clear knowledge of the general integrated marketing strategies they serve. IMC and IM are two different animals.
Make sure your content creators and distributors work together to manage your brand content efforts by pairing a “Three Ps” expert with your “Fourth P” writers using a good content/writer assignment form to maximize your opportunity to create killer brand content.

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