How to Create an Integrated Marketing Strategy

An integrated marketing strategy is a comprehensive approach that combines various marketing channels and tactics to deliver unified and cohesive messages to target audiences. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s also a synergistic approach that requires a thorough understanding of the wants, needs and intent of each target audience as they progress through the buyer’s journey.

It’s this understanding that allows us to develop content and messaging created to address those wants, needs and intent, and subsequently use a multi-channel activation strategy to increase reach and engagement while moving prospective buyers more quickly through the journey, ultimately increasing the efficiency of our available marketing resources.

Sounds simple, right? Well, to use a mixed metaphor, it’s not “rocket surgery.” But developing an integrated marketing plan does require a thoughtful approach and the experience to understand the right mix of strategies, channels and tactics and how they all work together.

With that said, here is a high-level approach on how to create an integrated marketing strategy to guide your brand’s next marketing plan.


Define success.

Developing an integrated marketing strategy without defining success is like taking a road trip, using a pair of dice to determine where you’ll go and which roads you’ll take. And while some may consider that an exciting way to take a vacation, most of us don’t have unlimited vacation time and a money tree to allow us to stay on the road until we feel satisfied about what we’ve seen. So, before we set out, we pick a destination and plan the route that will get us there and back on time and within our available budget.

Likewise, businesses don’t have unlimited time and money to fund their marketing initiatives. Therefore, it’s critical to identify the objectives that will be supported by our efforts. This is the key piece of information that allows us to identify and pursue the strategies and tactics necessary for success.


Before we decide on marketing strategies and tactics, there might be a need to update our market intelligence. If so, we conduct research as needed related to competitors; the larger product category (available features, functionality and capabilities, and where they fit into each audience’s set of priorities); market conditions (economic impacts on the category, growth opportunities, etc.); and target audiences with a focus on the buying process, especially potential marketing touch points and key evaluation criteria.   

Strategy Development

Establish the unique identity of the brand.

Before we develop our content strategy, and especially before we begin generating the promotional messages that will drive traffic to that content, we need a brand strategy that articulates the unique identity of our brand. This is essential to our ability to consistently deliver content to our target audiences in a unified and cohesive manner.  

This exercise often begins by asking the questions, “What does our brand stand for?” and “What principles guide our actions and decisions?” The answers to these questions help define the brand’s personality traits, tone of voice and visual identity that we use to clearly articulate the brand’s value proposition across all content.

Define the buyer’s journey.

As previously stated, an integrated marketing strategy is a synergistic approach that requires a thorough understanding of the buyer’s journey. Hopefully, the information needed in this step was previously obtained through the research performed during discovery. 

Assuming so, this exercise is relatively simple, in that it requires documentation of the information gathered during research, including marketing objective and audience intent for each phase of the journey; potential marketing touchpoints derived from research questions related to media usage and preferences; and the key evaluation criteria buyers will use during the consideration phase of the journey. 

Identify content topics.

Using all available market intelligence, it’s time to flesh out the buyer’s journey matrix. This starts with outlining content topics that support the audience intent identified for each phase of the journey.

  • Awareness: Topics chosen to position the company as a category thought leader, as well as generate interest and demand for the brand and potentially for the product category itself.   
  • Discovery: Topics chosen to align with category research used to define the consideration set that will be included in an active evaluation.
  • Consideration: Topics focused on the evaluation criteria that will be used in the active evaluation, with alternatives for any applicable differences for each target audience.

As an additional way to further integrate your marketing strategies with a relatively small incremental effort, make sure to follow SEO best practices for content strategy, including keyword and topic selection and content development, as well as on-page and off-page optimization. Doing so could provide an incremental boost to the reach of your content and marketing efficiencies, overall.

Decide on activation strategies.

Although we need content and promotional messaging delivered before we can implement our activation strategies, we can actually decide on channels and tactics as soon as the content strategy has been completed (and associated production budgets have been approved).

Even if only a single piece of content is budgeted for production, we’ll use an integrated approach to maximize impact, promoting the content through all available paid earned and owned channels. This typically requires some level of adjustment to the creative assets, but the benefits gained through cross-channel promotion far exceed the incremental effort to adjust the promotional assets for a few additional channels (especially organic channels, such as social media, SEO and, in some cases, even PR).

Engage marketing technology for support and amplification.

When talking about cross-channel promotion of content, email is the main channel that immediately comes to mind. This could simply mean supporting a brand’s thought leadership position through the promotion of content via email newsletters. Or, it could entail a more complex nurturing campaign, requiring the identification and setup of triggers and automation to deliver a cadence of emails that usher a prospect through the consideration phase more quickly.

The key takeaway here is that the enablement of some marketing channels requires the use of marketing technology. So, make sure to factor in out-of-pocket expenses (typically SaaS subscriptions), as well as implementation time and possible consulting fees for implementation and integrations with other systems.

Proving the Value of an Integrated Marketing Strategy

There are many benefits to using an integrated marketing strategy, including an enhanced customer experience, that lead to improved brand recognition, audience engagement, brand equity and trust. 

But let’s be honest. It can be difficult to quantify and measure improvements for these types of metrics. Luckily, the ultimate benefit of an integrated marketing strategy is improved ROI. This means we can establish a metric like cost per sales-qualified lead as our primary KPI, establish a benchmark based on historical data, implement our new approach to integrated marketing and optimize our campaigns with the goal of continually improving on the established benchmark.

At Motion, we develop successful integrated marketing strategies every day for our clients. Reach out to take the next step and get started on yours today.

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