If you want to learn more about integrated marketing communications, keep reading!

An affiliate marketer walks up to the Easter Bunny and says: “You’re just one bunny, how do you fill millions of Easter Baskets all over the world with candy?” The Easter Bunny replies: “It’s easy… I outsource. . . to parents!”

Okay. So if you a) got the above joke or b) thought it was funny, you are probably a marketing nerd and don’t need to read this post.

But, if you are like most people, you probably don’t know what integrated marketing communications are.

integrated marketing communications: Easter bunny edition

What is Integrated Marketing Communications?

Integrated marketing communications is, on an eggshell (it’s Easter time, after all, so bear with silly jokes and puns), a plan that combines traditional, offline marketing and communications with new media marketing and communications.

In plain language, it’s marketing your products and services online and offline.

Personally, I can’t think of a reason you would do anything else. In fact, while there are still people who favor traditional marketing techniques, I would bet that most solopreneurs and startuppers are erring on the side of marketing only, or mostly, via the internet.

#1 The Easter Bunny Doesn’t Put His Eggs All in One Basket

In fact, the Easter Bunny puts his eggs in baskets worldwide, online and off. This is true in both his role as a distributor and his role as a marketer. Do a search for the Easter bunny, and you’ll see he has a very strong web presence.

But you will also note if you pop into a stationary store or even your local supermarket that the Easter bunny has a very strong offline presence as well.

Action #1: Take an inventory of your marketing “eggs” and find out if they are all in one basket. If so, get ready to get those eggs moving!

#2 The Easter Bunny Knows His Audience

Okay, this one is a gimme — for the Easter Bunny at least. I mean, all he has to do is identify everyone on the planet under 12. So maybe his mistake was not to choose a more niche market.

Don’t worry, that’s his problem, not yours.

Your problem is knowing your own audience and figuring out where it hangs out — both online and off.

Action #2: Create a persona related to your product and service and start researching like crazy. You will have to, in order to have market penetration close to the Easter bunny’s.

#3 The Easter Bunny Delivers Consistently Excellent “Content”

Yes, that’s right. You can count on the Easter bunny to come back at the same time every year. Your marketing efforts should be equally consistent (although far more frequent).

Action #3: Develop a content strategy, complete with editorial calendars and promotion schedules. And the Easter bunny, unlike Santa Claus, doesn’t have a pack of elves to help him implement — so no excuses.

#4 The Easter Bunny Uses Word of Mouth Promotion

I’ve never seen any paid advertising from the Easter bunny. What does this mean for you? Well, you probably won’t be able to get away with zero-paid advertising. Still, this aspect of the Easter bunny’s integrated marketing communications mastery shows that, along with an excellent reputation, the Easter bunny knows how to use social proof (yes, I will repeat myself) both online and off.

Actions #4A and B: Start monitoring your reputation. At the very least, set up a Google alert to determine if your name or company name is coming up in searches. Then, have a procedure for routinely getting client testimonials — and other social proof — and sharing them online.

#5 The Easter Bunny (And Other Rabbits as Well) is All About Proliferation

According to the McKinsey Quarterly:

The scope of today’s marketing challenge is breathtaking, and proliferation is the reason. Recent advances in technology, information, communications, and distribution have created an explosion of new customer segments, sales and service channels, media, marketing approaches, products, and brands. But despite better customer information management and lower communications costs, marketing to consumers and businesses is becoming more complex and difficult every day. Marketers—even the most sophisticated—are struggling to keep up.

Because the Easter bunny is all about proliferation, he can handle all of this abundant variation with ease. In fact, rabbits, in general, are so, er, prolific that, according to Wikipedia, they are one of the few species that can get pregnant while already pregnant (please don’t try this at home, ladies…)!

Action #5: Because you are not as adapted to proliferation as the Easter bunny, you will need an integrated marketing communications plan. And besides: what better way to hop into Spring than with a well-thought-out integrated marketing communications plan?

Your Turn

Do you have an integrated marketing communications plan? Tell us about it in the comments.

Citations

Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/marketshare/2012/05/31/integrated-marketing-communications-then-now/

McKinsey Quarterly: http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Profiting_from_Proliferation_1810

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_marketing_communications

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