A Sunday on La Grande Jatte – George Seurat’s definitive work – is a beautiful depiction of people relaxing and enjoying a Sunday afternoon at the park.

But take a closer look.

What you’ll see are countless dots and patches of pure color that when viewed alone have seemingly no bearing on the image at all. 

It’s when we take a step back and view the painting in its entirety that those small, distinct dots of color begin to form patterns and come together to create a scene of people enjoying their afternoon.

Integrated Marketing is much like Seurat’s use of pointillism in his work.

Each detail working together in support of the bigger picture.  Every dot of color has a purpose.  Every decision about color, every decision about placement is well-thought and planned.

 

Defining Integrated Marketing

 

Do a search online for Integrated Marketing and you’ll find a lot of different definitions. 

Some focus on communications.  Some on promotional tactics.  Some on customer-centric campaigns.  All support an idea of integrated marketing, but so far I have not found any that support the true meaning and spirit.

 

Integrated Marketing – truly integrated marketing – considers every aspect of your business. 

Every Aspect. 

 

Because on some level everything about your business affects the customer experience – from staffing and sales to brand development and advertising.

That might sound like a stretch for some.  But, consider this;

I worked with a company that wanted to improve its image with a local market. 

So we set forth in devising messaging strategies emphasizing “commitment to service” in order to help re-build trust among its current client base and solidify trust with prospects. 

The problem was their office culture didn’t really promote longevity and key client contacts did not stay with the company for long. 

Because the strategy of “commitment” was out-of-sync with the realities of the office culture, it wouldn’t matter how well-written the message was or how often and where it was delivered.  They were not set up internally to uphold the promise. 

 

The Integrated Marketing Plan

 

The Integrated Marketing Plan goes beyond ensuring consistent messaging across all platforms.

It takes a holistic approach across all business segments and marketing channels in order to create more impact and yield better results.

While consistency is important, creating an Integrated Marketing Plan requires the marketer to have a deep understanding of 1) the company 2) the audience and 3) current marketing platforms and tools in order to select the right mix of strategies, tactics, channels and activities that best support the plan objectives.

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Each detail should be well-thought and planned. 

Each tactic, channel, tool and activity selected should serve a specific purpose. 

Each channel needs to be understood individually. 

And each platform’s intrinsic strengths should be built upon and leveraged so they are working together in achieving the greatest impact.

Because like Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, it’s only when we can a step back and view the Integrated Marketing Plan in its entirety that the individual components have any true meaning.