Regardless of the industry — consumer packaging, technology or now, associations, I come from the integrated marketing strategy school of thought.  There may be a few definitions out there, but I always use this one:

Integrated Marketing is an approach to brand communications where you create a seamless experience for the member with a similar tone and style that reinforces your association’s core message/value proposition. The goal is to make all aspects of marketing communication work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation.

So, why should associations adopt an integrated marketing strategy?

  1. Consistency of brand and message: Many associations have distinct departments – membership, meetings, education, certification, publications, etc. that too often work in isolation.  Without an overall integrated strategy, how can the association ensure a consistent brand, clear messaging, and an audience experience that resonates regardless of the touch point?
  2. Cost effectiveness: I have yet to work with an association with an unlimited marketing budget. I’ve conducted so many communications audits that result in better integration and often the elimination of print pieces, mailings, e-marketing campaigns and even entire websites.
  3. Data-based decisions: We can learn so much from the abundance of analytics and adapt our marketing strategies in real time.  At Bostrom, we use data — and so many other tools — in our agile approach to association management.  An agile, integrated marketing strategy supported by data helps marketing and communications professionals demonstrate the ROI of their marketing spend to leadership.

If your organization is not pursuing an agile, integrated marketing strategy, it’s time to re-think your approach.