3 Reasons: Why an Integrated Marketing Plan is so Relevant to Small Businesses.
What is an Integrated Marketing Plan:
An integrated marketing plan, as opposed to a traditional marketing plan, is a strategic plan in which:
A. All available communication channels are taken into consideration.
B. Only those channels which are likely to be the most cost-effective for the specific company are chosen.
C. The plan integrates the activities in the different channels so they would support each other. For example, December happy new year newsletter would announce the February event. During the February event, a competition will be announced directing participants to the Twitter account. And so on. (More about what is an integrated marketing plan).
So why would a small business, particularly be interested in an integrated marketing plan?
1. Small businesses have smaller marketing budgets.
Big companies may be able to run off in all directions, investing their marketing budget in many communication channels, big or small; TV ads, billboards, Facebook ads, events and what not. They can afford trial and error, trusting that some of those channels will work for them.
Small businesses, on the other hand, often don't have that privilege. When working with a tiny marketing budget, it is crucial to carefully consider all the communication channels available and only after assessing which channel will work best in effectively reaching the company's target market, the relevant channel or channels will be chosen.
2. Niche Target Market - Niche Communication Channels
Big corporations often target a big market (wide range of age groups, wide locality or even an international market and so on), therefore traditional media channels such as TV or radio ads, Airport billboards and alike can work for big corporations.
Smaller companies often target a more niche market. For example, a target market for a small company could be very local, focusing on a specific city, or it might be that the target market is interested in a very specific service (for example a prenatal yoga class). It will therefore be feasible and more efficient to reach this niche market in less traditional communication channels. For example, a local baker might want to have a local tasting event hosted in their bakery, inviting the neighbors. This may sound like a very minor activity, but for the bakery this could eventually generate future repetitive customers (providing that the cookies were tasty of course!). An event like is much more relevant to the baker than a TV ad or a billboard (both in terms of its cost and how well will it do in targeting the right people).
An integrated marketing plan will place more emphasis on researching for the right marketing channels and will take into consideration those niche channels too.
3. Small Businesses will find it easier to Integrate
Of course it makes sense to integrate different marketing activities. Why not mention your coming event in your e-newsletter? Why not add a link to your new blog on your event flyer? Anyone could tell an integration would work best.
However In big companies, integration is harder to achieve. Large corporations' marketing departments are divided into sub departments such as the digital marketing department, the events department, direct marketing department and so on. To achieve an integrated marketing plan, those different departments are required to be working together in correlation. In reality it is very hard to manage such a collaboration.
The advantage of a small business is that it is easier to operate. It is common that one person is in charge of all the different marketing activities, therefore an integration is much easier.
We offer Integrated Marketing Plan building for small companies. Check out our services page.