The Importance of Integrated Marketing Communications

If we had to pick the biggest, buzziest buzz phrase of the year, it would have to be integrated marketing. Some call it omnichannel marketing, some prefer multichannel attribution, but whichever way you look at it, it’s all about functioning from a single perspective. Putting all your eggs in one basket can have multiple benefits for your business; here’s why we’re loving integrated marketing, and you should be too.

What does ‘integrated marketing communications’ actually mean?

In a small business or start up enterprise, chances are there is one person who is responsible for the majority of marketing efforts. This means that the messages, language and images remain consistent across all channels. This is what we call integrated marketing.

As businesses grow, or in companies which are already larger, there may be several people involved in marketing work. There could be sales teams, online and offline marketing teams, external agencies and more. This can often mean that the marketing message becomes watered down, and consistency muddied by the sheer variety of entities involved.

Bringing things back together, to function as a whole rather than separate parts, is what integrated marketing is all about. Numerous studies have shown that this teamwork based approach can be highly beneficial for a variety of reasons, helping to eliminate confusion and build increased loyalty among the target audience.

Why is integrated marketing important now?

Marketing integration has always been beneficial, but it is becoming more important today than it ever has before. There’s a good reason for this, and it’s all about digital.

In the past, marketing channels were pretty much limited to direct marketing such as phone or post, as well as advertisements on TV, radio and in print. With only a handful of channels to occupy, it was easy for brands to maintain a clear, concise message across all touch points.

But, in the modern world, there are infinite possibilities for marketing to occur, and for it to become confused, messages muddied, and loyalties smashed. Indeed, many brands rely on external agencies to manage various parts of their activities, often with different specialists in place for different outlets. The proliferation of channels for marketing has made it more important today than ever before that we strive for integration, to ensure a clear message at every touch point.

The benefits of integration

Marketing integration is not hard to do, but it can require something of a shift in culture if you’ve become accustomed to a disparate way of working. To make integration work for you, you’re going to need to be committed, consistent and confident it will get results. To help with this, here are just a few of the many benefits you can expect to enjoy when you take a more integrated approach to your marketing efforts.

  • Better results: Traditional, disparate marketing will see businesses and their agencies planning separate campaigns for each marketing stream. Press releases, advertising, sales promotions and direct marketing will all have their own stomping ground, never the twain shall meet. With an integrated approach, however, all the components come together to work as one big, beautiful, shiny machine. The information from press releases is reinforced by articles and blog posts, advertising messages are bolstered by these outlets, and follow up using direct marketing further supports the communication, shepherding leads like moths to a light.
  • Increased efficiency: Being consistent in your messages will not only make the overall impact stronger and more effective, it could save you money too. Images can be created once, then used across a variety of channels. Copy can be perfected, then repurposed for different media. And rather than using a host of different agencies, each with different specialisms, you can opt instead to work with one provider who is an integrated marketing expert. This could save you money on agency fees, and will almost certainly cut the time cost compared to dealing with multiple providers.
  • Boosted brand awareness: Interacting with your customers in a consistent, focussed manner is beneficial for both your brand and the loyalty your audience feels towards you. Creating the same message across a variety of touch points serves to reinforce your messaging, helping the customer to feel comfortable and confident in who you are and what you stand for.
  • Repeated success: Do you think your customers hear you the first time? They don’t. In fact, according to experts, the average customer needs to hear the message seven times before it really gets through. Integrated marketing helps you to reiterate the same message in a variety of different ways, so the chance of having it heard and acted upon is increased.
  • Customer satisfaction: By integrating your campaign, you can be confident that customers will receive the same message, no matter where they encounter your brand. This means you can communicate with your customers to their preference, whether that’s by email, social media or otherwise, and be confident that they are receiving your key messages loud and clear.
  • Organisational benefits: Achieving consistency in communication is always going to be beneficial for any business. It helps teams work together, saves wasted time and effort, and helps to streamline processes so that everyone works better together. By adopting an integrated approach to marketing, you can ensure that teams all function well together, and that there is less risk of confusion between departments, agencies and individuals.

There are many benefits to be had when you start to look at an integrated approach to marketing. To find out more about how this could work for you, or for help in getting started, why not get in touch with us today?

W: www.agencyinc.co.uk

How much does outdoor advertising cost?

When it comes to launching your marketing campaign, the first consideration is impact. The very next is whether you have the budget to get the required impact.

Whether you are an agency, marketer or small business owner, outdoor advertising (OOH) delivers value and results with one fell swoop. But how much does it cost to best utilise the world’s oldest advertising medium?

Cost-effective OOH ad booking

Whatever you call it – outdoor advertising, out-of-home or simply OOH, the principle is the same. OOH is the advertising you come across when outside of your home. As a result, it’s a fairly broad medium. Think roadside billboards, bus shelters, shopping centres and more.

If you’re looking to add outdoor to your marketing campaign, the size, location and length of ad play are some of the things that will affect what you pay.

The easiest and most cost-effective way to purchase OOH space is through an online booking service like Bubble Outdoor. With over 80,000 National ad spaces in every size and place you can think of – Bubble has you covered. But when it comes to choosing where and what, we’ve put some ideas together to give you an idea about how to budget.

How much does OOH cost?

There are several factors that affect outdoor advertising costs, including location, size, length of play and whether you have your own design ready to go or need some help. Typically, a standard billboard costs £400-£500 for 2 weeks and smaller advertising panels like bus stop shelter advertisements cost £1800-£2220 for 2 weeks.

When we talk about standard billboards, we’re talking traditional paper and paste billboards. But digital is becoming increasingly popular. Largely due to its flexibility and the fact that DOOH can capture attention in a way that drives interaction from your target audience.

Not sure which format is right for you? Here’s a guide to the pros and cons of the different types of outdoor advertising. Meanwhile, below you’ll find a cost comparison of the lot to help you get started!

6 Sheets

6 sheets are one of the most popular sizes and can be found almost anywhere. When you learn what 6 sheets are – you’ll start seeing them everywhere. They are the most numerous size of outdoor advertising in the UK.

When it comes to local messaging, 6 sheets dominate in  the heart of towns and cities, making them the ideal choice.

You can book your own 6 sheet campaign from £234 per two weeks, including print and placement.

6 sheets like this one on a busy street are everywhere! They're also very cost-effective.

Bus Shelters

Did you know there are now over 4000 digital bus shelters across the UK? Just like with Rail and Underground OOH options, you get a captive audience, with panels sold more like online ads!

You can choose the number of plays on a group of screens, to target your audience at prime locations across the country.

Packages of 100,000 plays of your creative start at just £5,000.

Bus stop outdoor advertising is a great way to reach the commuter audience. Not only do you have the captive audience in the bus stop, but also the traffic going past as seen in this image.

Billboard

Billboards, or ‘big posters’ come in two sizes. Choose from 48 sheets (20ft x 10ft) and 96 sheets (40ft by 10ft) to give your brand the space it needs to sing.

These beauties are spread across the country and are ideal for making that big announcement. Most areas, from small towns to big cities will have the billboard space you need to make an impact.

Billboards mean the traditional vinyl poster version of this size. They can also come as backlights or digital in the same size for an extra ‘wow’ factor.

For the 48 sheet, you’re looking at paying from £484 per two weeks, including print and placement.

For the 96 sheets per two weeks, including print and placement, you’d pay from £884.

This clever billboard from KitKat is just one way you can use your space creatively in outdoor advertising.

Backlight Billboards

These premium billboards are lit from behind and printed on a single piece of vinyl. This gives a seamless display with the same mega sizes you can expect from a traditional billboard (48 sheets or 96 sheets). With backlight, you can also find some in portrait sizes, Mega 4’s and Mega 6’s.

If this is the campaign that really needs to make a splash – then this is what you need. Backlight billboards are big, bold, high quality and exactly where you need them – in front of your target audience.

To make the most of this premium format, the price comes down to size.

For 48 sheets you’d pay from £2000 per two weeks, including print and placement. 96 sheets are priced from £4500 per two weeks, including print and placement.

Then portrait Mega 4’s are priced from £2500 per two weeks, including print and placement, while portrait Mega 6’s are from £4000 per two weeks including print and placement.

YouTube used a backlit billboard to really make an impact along a busy commuter road.

Large Digital Billboards

When it comes to digital OOH, the billboard is the biggest and best. It’s up to you to choose which size and shape best suits your goals. Your options include Portrait Digital Super 6’s, Landscape Digital 48’s and Digital 96’s.

Digital billboards are fantastic if you want a reactive campaign that you can integrate into live data feeds. You can use this mega-space to display changeable things like the weather, traffic updates or countdowns to sales periods.

The best thing about digital, is you can buy flexibly to suit your target audiences ideal time, like specific mornings, afternoons or evenings, a day, a week or longer.

They’re also extremely affordable, priced from just £80 per day.

Digital billboards in prominent places like this one in a heavy traffic area benefit from showing up to date traffic information.

Image:https://cached.imagescaler.hbpl.co.uk/resize/scaleHeight/560/cached.offlinehbpl.hbpl.co.uk/galleries/OMC/VirginTrains.jpg

Small Digital

The smaller sibling of the digital billboard, you’ll find this size everywhere. With all digital options, you have the unique ability to choose flexible display periods.

Available in golf clubs, malls, post offices, petrol stations and many other places, these premium displays are sometimes called D6’s, and they’re ideal for targeting local audiences.

Even better – these screens are extremely affordable, available from just £100 per two weeks.

Land Rover strategically used a line up of small digital billboards in a busy foot traffic area to promote their products.

Phone Boxes

There are over 20,000 phone box locations across the UK. These traditional gems can be found almost anywhere – whether you’re heading for the seaside or shivering on the high street.

Phone Boxes are great for long-term branding opportunities, as they’re low cost with big impact.

You can book phone box advertising from £143 per two weeks, including print and placement.

Phone boxes are everywhere and are an ideal way to capture attention no matter your location. This great long-term branding opportunity is very cost-effective.

Malls and shopping centres

Anyone who has spent any time in malls or shopping centres knows that most shoppers are there with buying in mind and  time on their hands.

If you want to communicate a clear message with a large number of consumers in the mood to buy – this is the place to do it!

You can pick classic printed posters or state-of-the-art digital screens, use mall furniture, Adlifts or banners to get your message across.

Advertising in retail heaven is priced from £234 per 2 weeks, including print and placement.

Whether digital or printed, shopping centres are a great place to promote your retail offerings, especially if you have a brick and mortar location near by like this mobile phone advertisement.

Buses

What better than the moving messenger board of towns and cities – buses! These big beauties are perfect for branding and area targeting. Although not ideal for location-based or directional campaigns, since you can’t buy buses on individual routes.

What is great about buses, is all the different sizes and spaces you can purchase. From smaller posters on the rear to wraps that cover the whole thing. It’s hard to be missed on bus OOH.

Because there’s so much variation with sizes and bus routes, it’s hard to give an average price for this service (or pinpoint them on the map!) Contact the expert Bubble team for more info

Taxis

The London taxi has made its way across most major cities now. You can use taxis to reach your ideal audience in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Peterborough, Reading and Sheffield.

Taxis give you great coverage, and there are so many ways to use them to suit your campaign. You can do a full wrap, supersides or digital taxi top – whatever suits!

Because taxi offerings are so varied, it’s hard to narrow down a price for you here. Best to speak to the Bubble team directly if taxi OOH is the one for you.

There's nothing like a classic black London cab for a moving billboard that gains attention.

Underground

The underground is a brilliant way to reach a captive audience on their daily commute. You can choose underground and metro stations in London, Newcastle or Glasgow – as the rapid transit network extends to other cities outside London.

Whether you’re booking a single site or rolling out an area-wide campaign, advertising on the underground gives you that all-important brand recall. We’re creatures of habit after all!

Because underground advertising can be anything you want it to be, it’s hard to give you an average price here. Jutst contact Bubble– we’re happy to help plan something to suit you.

The underground provides so many hyperlocal opportunities to use outdoor advertising to promote your brand.

Rail

As the urban areas get more and more busy (and expensive), even those who are cashed up are heading into the country and commuting. Rail is now the way a significant part of the country get to work, especially in London and the South of the country.

Since the wealthy commuter audience peaks at open and close of business, your ad will get all the target audience attention on the way to and from work. Potentially leaving a bored office worker time to Google on office hours?

For special events you can take over the whole station, or keep it subtle with local ads promoting small businesses. There’s something for everyone. For something to suit you – get in touch with Bubble’s planning service directly for a custom solution.

Outdoor advertising either in railway stations or along station platforms, as seen in this image, is a great way to get commuter attention.

What you can expect from your OOH campaign

OOH advertising offers a range of formats and targeted locations to capture the attention of your ideal audience.

As digital allows more and more customisation of the locale, savvy marketers can use mobile, wireless, and digital OOH technologies to offer creative and innovative ways to interact and transact with consumers.

When it comes to brand awareness, and targeted, relevant advertising based on where your target market lives, works and plays – OOH is highly targeted.

Any extra costs?

The design of your outdoor advertising is everything. No matter how strategic you’ve been with the location of your ad – your creative should never be forgotten. If your ad isn’t communicating effectively, it’s not working as hard for you as it should be.

The cost of a billboard design should be factored into the budget for your OOH campaign. Crafting a message that connects in format, location and language is the key to effective OOH. It’s worth hiring a designer with extensive experience in creating billboard ads. This can cost from £150-£800.

Bubble offers a design service for £100 +VAT when you book advertising space through our website. Or if you’ve already nailed that high-impact creative – just upload it as a PDF when you place your order.

Higher-quality promotional products vs lower-cost alternatives

You probably know about the many benefits of using promotional products for your brand image, perception, awareness and promotion. They help convert prospects into customers and promote your brand; and also encourage customer loyalty.

Promotional products often serve as a business card and even formal representation. So, when selecting promotional products, at least one of the questions you should ask should be – How would I like our brand to be perceived?

Our thanks to the British Promotional Merchandise Association for information used in this article.

Quality and price.

Promotional products vary in terms of functionality, quality and price. However, not all promotional products are equally effective.

Generally, the cheaper and lower quality the products used, the more difficult it can be to make the branding elements when applied to the product look good!

What goes wrong?

When promotional products don’t perform, it’s very often down to them being poor quality. Here at Purple Promotions we focus on high-quality, but come across a lot of poor-quality products from other suppliers and think these are the top three issues:

  1. The visual quality of the branding imprint or print is noticeably poor.
  2. The colours don’t match those of the brand.
  3. The product is flimsy, obviously cheap and tacky and the expectation is that it will probably break after a short while.

Top Tip.

Where you need to work to a budget – and who doesn’t, our top tip is, where possible, to buy fewer high-quality products than a higher quantity of poor-quality products.

No need to sacrifice quality for cost.

Clearly, you need your promotional products to convert well, to deliver a fair return on investment and oil the wheels of doing business with your customers. Consider the statistics from a recent study conducted by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI).

  • 52% did business with an advertiser after receiving a promotional product.
  • 55% kept their promotional products for over a year. (The products were probably high-quality).
  • 1% reported that their impression of an advertiser was more favourable after receiving a promotional product.

These statistics show that you should carefully select the products you use to promote your business – from the higher-quality end of what’s available, because it’s unlikely that success can be achieved with cheap, low-quality promotional products.

 

 

How the right food photography brings your food to life

Taste, this has to be the first thing to be concerned about when it comes to food. However, what happens when you are trying to sell food, or tempt people to your restaurant, and you have to rely on look?

 

This is where food photography comes into its own. Food photography, as the name suggests, is when you take photos of food that you have to serve. Whilst this may be obvious, what you may not know is why it is so important.

 

 As professionals in a variety of photography approaches, we understand what it takes to take the very best photo and the importance of these images. So, with this in mind, we have put together our guide to the importance of getting food photography right. 

 

 

It is a chance to showcase what you can do

 

 When you are a chef of any type, showing off your food is part and parcel of the job. What better way to show off what you can create in your kitchen then by taking photographs of it? Of course, it won’t show the flavours and taste, but it will give a visual impression of what you can do. 

 

 

 You can use them to promote particular dishes

 

 

 

Have you found that some dishes are not as popular as others? Or perhaps you have some bestsellers that you want to give an extra boost to? No matter what product is, by having a beautiful picture of it to use online, you can create more of a buzz about it and ensure that you secure some more sales.

 

 It is nice and easy to share on social media

 

 Social media is incredibly important when it comes to promoting a restaurant, catering or hospitality business. After all, word of mouth is key promotion and this is something that social media relies upon. When you take images of your food, and they look good, you can use them to share on social media. A good looking dish will then be shared elsewhere, and you will see that your reach will grow and grow, and hopefully your sales will increase too.

 

 All in all, food photography is important because it gives your audience a chance to visually taste your food. Of course, this doesn’t compare to grabbing a fork and digging in, but it definitely can help to draw people in to visit you.

 

 

 

Think that it is about time that your culinary creations are shown in the best light possible? If this is true for you, then why not get in touch with us? Whilst we may not be able to help you to cook the perfect dishes, we can make sure that they look good on your website, social media and menus too!

 

Website: www.digitalexposure.co.uk

 

 

 

Food Photography – Central London

 

Why your company should invest in a Freelance SEO Consultant

SEO is the digital marketing tactic of increasing a websites visibility within search engines. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, that is you make sure that your website is correctly optimised and targeted to drive high value organic traffic to your website from search engines.

If a website is correctly optimised to target valuable keywords and phrases important to your business it will rank more highly for them within search engines. The higher you rank, or the more keywords that you rank for will scoop you more or a greater share of the traffic generated by those terms.

There are many reasons why should you SEO your website. But we can summarise them into 4 broad categories.

Increased Traffic:

The process of SEO’ing your website’s main goal is to increase relevant traffic arriving at your site. If you are into your analytics you’ll probably already know that organic traffic arriving at your site is already the greatest stream of traffic finding your business online. As part of an SEO audit and in turn strategy a Freelance SEO Consultant or agency will identify these rich veins of traffic and focus the websites strengths on them. Another role of the SEO is to find new streams, targetable streams of traffic and in turn customers. Ultimately the end game of an SEO is to increase traffic arriving at the website.

Cost effectiveness:

SEO is so cost effective, once it gets going. Be aware that it does take a few months to really take off. We see SEO as the lumbering giant of the digital marketing strategy. Where social media delivers relatively low volumes of traffic or paid search (particularly in some sectors) can be very expensive, SEO generates volume. Lots of traffic! Highly relevant traffic and once you have achieved these levels of traffic it doesn’t turn off when you run out of budget. An effectively optimised website will deliver traffic 24/7 and is always available for your customers to find.

Site Usability:

Customer experience is a big factor in SEO. Google (via your Google Analytics data) is always assessing the experience of a websites visitor once they land on a particular website. Google only wants to deliver the best results, not only the best in terms of relevance but the best in terms of experience. If you do not have a mobile website, you will not rank in Google’s mobile search. From finding broken links to dead end pages, speeding up the site or creating mobile accelerated pages, part of the SEO process is to improve the usability of your website. Obviously this comes with other benefits too, your conversion rate will improve and your customers be happier. A good SEO consultant will make sure that your site is easy to use and improve metrics like conversion rate as well as rankings.

Greater ROI:

As we have already mentioned SEO delivers volume. A good SEO will also have made sure that your site is easier to use and improved metrics like conversion rate. So with more traffic arriving at your site and it easier for your customers to convert than ever before it is easy to see that ROI from this channel can be excellent. Additionally, SEO is one of the most accountable digital marketing tactics, every visitor, lead or sale can be tracked and attributed to its source. SEO is one of the most efficient means to deliver high value traffic and in turn sales or customers to your website.

If you are looking to improve the visibility of your website online and increase your organic web traffic you should contact an SEO consultant. SEO should be the foundation of your digital marketing activity. Site audits are usually free of charge and potential volumes and value forecastable. So why not get in contact with an SEO consultant and see what traffic they could generate for your business!

Article by Paul Lymer. Paul is a Freelance SEO Consultant and founder of Improve Marketing.