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Importance of Integrated Communications

“I need help with marketing, can you please put this post on social media?”. How many times as marketers do we get asked that? Contrary to what many people might think, there’s far more to marketing than just social media, despite the digital age we live in. Enter integrated communications.

Of course social media is an important tool, but it’s only a small part of it. One thing that’s been clearly reinforced whilst studying for my CIM qualification with Cambridge Marketing College is the upmost importance of integrated communications. Every successful campaign starts with a thorough and well considered plan, the setting of aims and objectives, and how success will be measured. With so many useful planning frameworks out there, be that MCFP or SOSTAC for example, marketers have an array of models they can follow to ensure their desired messages reach their target audiences. Understanding the audience is critical to determine which methods of communication will be most suitable.

Applying the theory

Whilst interning with Ecoteer, I’ve had the opportunity to the apply this theory I’ve been learning to my current role as a conservation marketer. Ecoteer provides conservation and sustainable tourism volunteering and internship opportunities in Malaysia, so it’s my job to advertise these opportunities to potential new customers.

Particularly when completing my assignment, which has revolved around considering a new target segment, I’ve been encouraged to deeply think about Ecoteer’s current audience and which communications will be best to use and when. As a result I’ve constructed and implemented a new integrated communications plan to advertise our internship opportunities for the upcoming year. By considering the persona of our target audience I’ve been able to select the most appropriate methods to communicate our messages.

In this case, our audience is environmentally conscious students or recent graduates aged 20-25 who are looking to start a career or gain skills in conservation. With 1 billion active monthly users and 34% of users aged between 18-34, YouTube is an essential communication platform for our target segment and therefore a no brainer to maximise this to our potential. Therefore we launched a series of skills videos on YouTube demonstrating to our audience the types of skills they would learn whilst volunteering and interning with us. Short clips were posted on our social media channels directing to the full video on YouTube along with a teaser video in our monthly email newsletter. This increased traffic to our YouTube channel and in turn showed our audience our value propositions. This is incorporated in to a wider integrated communications plan with further ways to enhance our messages specifically with this audience in mind. I am therefore hoping to see an increased number of applicants of a high quality over the coming months compared to previous years.

Take away lessons

If my studies have taught me anything so far, it’s this strategic vision and the importance to plan ahead in marketing. Sure there are times when things happen live or on an ad hoc basis, but the more you can prepare ahead for things, the greater the chance of success.

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