In a world where printed brochures, ads and other marketing materials are now just a small component of a company’s marketing strategy, rather than a main player like years ago, integrated marketing approaches are more important than ever.

When I entered college four short years ago, I noticed the converging industries and was genuinely interested in the changing landscape. Two years later, I listened to a speaker discuss the many benefits of an integrated agency which included a cohesive approach to a campaign and effortless communication between multiple departments. The integrated approach is something that must be learned. Universities, businesses and clients have made changes and have benefitted from integration.

  • In College: Many of the colleges I visited four years ago were in the midst of creating an integrated communications program. In recent years, integration efforts have occurred at my school, which include merging the advertising and public relations tracks into one strategic communications study. This allows students to receive a broader, all-encompassing education.My advice to college students? Dabble in a bit of everything outside of the classroom, too. Try writing for a school newspaper or magazine, joining organizations or at least sitting in on a few meetings. You’ll learn a lot and be more well-rounded – something employers are looking for these days!
  • The Agency Adaption: Firms that were once niche agencies are now choosing to broaden their focuses, in order to be able to better serve clients and take a more integrated approach.The advent of social media also opened the doors to two-way conversation. Companies can now use social media to interact with customers and outsource information quickly. Check out Mashable’s Four Tips for Authentic Online Engagement.

    I believe social media communication, when used correctly, is a great way for companies to further integrate their marketing efforts. Businesses that use social media can utilize these platforms to converse with their customers in true two-way communication fashion and respond quickly to current events. One of my all-time favorite social media efforts is the famous, “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet by Oreo during the Super Bowl’s black out. Talk about a fast and creative response! Social media is a great way for companies to interact and add personality to their brand.

  • What This Means for the Client: With integrated communications, companies no longer have to look to multiple agencies to implement a multifaceted marketing campaign. Businesses can ultimately outsource their marketing needs to one agency (like AKHIA) that can create a cohesive strategy. Interested in what other companies are saying? Check out this Forbes article about integrated communications.

One thing I love about the communications field is that it is never stagnant. Integrated communications is a necessity, and if businesses don’t catch on now, they will be light years behind those that do.

What are some of the most successful integrated marketing campaigns you have seen?

Do you have tips to mastering integrated communications?