Tips for developing an integrated communications strategy

Keys to building a sustainable brand

In an increasingly complex and competitive healthcare environment, companies seeking to keep the upper hand will need to adjust their traditional methods of communications. Instead of treating marketing and PR as separate functions, they need an integrated communications strategy that looks at each tactic from a public relations, marketing and digital media perspective and identifies how it can be leveraged across channels for maximum impact. Taking this approach enables companies to convey more consistent messaging, better integrate marketing and PR tactics, and measure their overall success. 

Build a strong messaging foundation. Brand is the core personality or identity of a company. A solid brand must deliver clear messages, conveying the company’s core values, capabilities and services in a way that is credible, differentiated and engaging. Taking time to conduct a competitive analysis as well as a strategic messaging platform will ensure that the marketing strategy effectively addresses a company’s strengths and weaknesses while delivering insight into the market’s buying motivation and setting a benchmark for future measurement and analysis.

The next step in establishing effective integrated messaging is to identify measurable goals that span both marketing and PR departments. Synching up goals and objectives will enhance the overall effectiveness of the message, eliminate duplicate efforts and set a tone for collaboration at the outset of a campaign. 

Smarter tactics work harder. Taking an integrated approach to communications keeps you more in control of the content and ensures consistency across various channels. When launching an integrated campaign, it’s not so much about choosing which tactic is more effective but deciding how multiple tactics can work together for even greater results.

Integrating corporate content, such as press releases, articles and blog posts, across multiple outlets, like Twitter, emails and speakers bureaus, leads to consistent and powerful messaging regardless of how prospects first came to know your brand. Moreover, it fosters stronger connections with prospective customers and promotes a deeper understanding of the market’s needs and the daily challenges they face.

Let the data do the driving. A recent survey conducted by Vocus, Inc., found that 48 percent of marketing and PR professionals cite sales and return on investment as the two most important factors they look at to determine the results (i.e., success) of an integrated communications campaign. While there are many different ways to measure the effectiveness of a campaign, almost all marketers agree that it’s important to decide how success will be evaluated before program execution. Doing so will help to prevent any misunderstandings among team members and streamline the evaluation process.

In addition to establishing measurable metrics everyone agrees on at the outset of a campaign, it’s important to analyze and measure the campaign after it has run its course. Marketers can help address this issue by setting aside funds in the campaign budget for final review and evaluation. With a greater emphasis on measurement, integrated strategies show promise as a way to maximize marketing dollars and show a demonstrable return on investment.

For additional information on developing consistent messaging and greater control over your brand image, download our full white paper, “Building a sustainable brand through integrated communications.”

Exceed clients' expectations with integrated campaigns

Innovative healthcare companies need a new way to reach their audiences. The traditional siloed approach to PR and marketing misses opportunities to develop and sustain relationships with consumers. Brands need to deliver a consistent, effective and personalized experience in order to bring potential customers into contact with their products and services. To effectively compete, they need an integrated approach—one that looks at each tactic from a marketing, PR and digital media perspective, and identifies how it can be leveraged online and offline. At Dodge, our strategic approach and tools are unmatched in the industry for elevating brands, demonstrating thought leadership, generating demand and enabling clients to nurture prospects. We invite you to take a look at the case studies below that show the value of an integrated communications strategy.

Integrated campaign merges company solutions. When long-time client Medical Present Value (MPV) was acquired by Experian, a leading global information services company, Dodge was tasked with helping Experian build a marketing presence for its new healthcare division, and creating a cohesive brand and product offering merging the two organizations’ solutions.

Dodge worked closely with Experian’s corporate marketing department to identify a theme for the launch, determine a product structure that was intuitive and straightforward, and develop a comprehensive messaging document, website and sales collateral. The company experienced impressive results at the three conferences where it officially launched the new brand, with more than 50 pre-scheduled product demonstrations and a significant number of respondents flowing through the sales cycle.

For more information, view the full case study.

Increasing exposure and extending brand development. Looking to further develop its brand, and establish a niche market for hospital enterprise and department-specific workflow, FormFast turned to Dodge Communications to increase exposure through an integrated marketing campaign. Dodge executed an eye-catching, comprehensive multimedia “Simplify” campaign to highlight the many benefits of streamlining processes. The campaign included online and print advertising, splash and landing pages for the client’s website, tradeshow collateral and eblasts to generate awareness and drive booth traffic.

Dodge’s coordinated strategy proved very successful. The email campaign was highly engaging and garnered an impressive average CTR of .23%. Complementary thematic updates to the website were also effective. Over the course of four months, the number of unique visitors to the FormFast website grew, many coming by way of the targeted online and print advertising.

For more information, view the full case study.

Positioning a regional leader onto the national scene. When MRO’s product offerings began to expand, it needed help identifying, defining and establishing the market into which they fit. The disclosure management company lacked significant name recognition, limiting its ability to secure larger customers beyond the Mid-Atlantic states. Fulfilling the new identity included a host of tactics, including the redevelopment of the company’s website and marketing materials, and the launch of a public relations campaign, which included article placements in national healthcare IT publications.

The results of the campaign were significant. Dodge transformed the company's image from a small, regional software vendor to that of a national player through a blend of marketing and public relations tactics. MRO now enjoys extensive media coverage that surpasses that of its market’s heaviest advertisers and has been able to install dozens of new major customer sites throughout the country.

For more information, view the full case study.

Earn credibility with a customized approach

Money can’t buy you love or credibility. And while the former is more a matter of luck (right place, right time), there are steps you can take to improve the latter. Through an effective use of integrated PR, marketing and digital services, marketers can strengthen their brand, build customer loyalty and drive demand.

It’s hard to establish credibility. Buyers often don’t trust sellers nor do they have enough background on your product or service to be able to know if you’re for real. These facts combined with a noisy marketplace where other companies are competing for mindshare make it a challenge to become a credible resource. Leveraging integrated communication strategies and tactics, however, can help develop brands more quickly and with more sustainability—and help build credibility.

Below are four tips for using integrated communications to become a credible, trusted resource:

Drive traffic to your website. More than 85 percent of B2B customers search the internet before making a purchase. Your main objective should be to get them to your website. Once a visitor lands on your website, you have control of the conversation and can present information they’re seeking for an effect that’s just as powerful as a face-to-face presentation.

Present relevant, compelling content. Build credibility by offering prospects content that is timely, relevant and engaging. No-spin content, such as white papers and case studies, educates the reader on industry pain points, rather than hyping a product or service, and makes the brand look more reliable.  

Capture opt-in registration information. This is the cornerstone of an email marketing strategy. Marketers need to constantly add fresh contacts to grow the database. By driving traffic to your website, offering relevant content and presenting easy forms that capture prospects’ information, you’ll build a significant database that’s essential to nurture relationships going forward.

Build on those relationships. Nurture the relationships so when your prospect is ready to buy, you’ve got street cred: they know you exist, they know your brand can solve their challenge and is the better solution among competitors, and they know you’re the industry leader. 

To learn more tips, watch our webinar Credibuilding: Establishing credibility with integrated communications.

Q&A – Leveraging multiple communications platforms to support corporate success

Todd Holbrook, manager of marketing communications at Altegra Health, discusses how integrated communications plays a role at his company and offers best practices in this realm. Altegra Health is a national provider of technology-enabled payment solutions providing health plans and providers with the data they need to manage member care and ensure appropriate reimbursement.

Dodge: What does integrated communications mean to your organization?

Holbrook: The ever-changing challenges of the healthcare industry are usually incredibly layered, and our solutions are equipped to meet them. To be fully integrated in our communications means to always address these challenges that our partners face while delivering them in a timely and appropriate fashion in a way most relevant to them.

Dodge: Can you describe how your organization currently leverages integrated communications?

Holbrook: As a business, we strive to take our leads, "warm" or not, and engage and nurture them. This is done by taking a timely message that would be important to them, and sending it through many appropriate channels. These include webinars, emails, news releases, social media and landing pages. We make sure to offer them valuable, meaningful content and resources through each message.

Dodge: How have you been able to work with your team and other departments to ensure success with integrated communications?

Holbrook: In order to achieve the desired marketing communication workflow, it takes looking at communications with a few set of eyes: sales, marketing and product development. Each department offers different viewpoints that must be assessed and strewn together in order to craft just the right message and just the right content. Our team has created a process for this. First, we assess the industry landscape with sales. Second, we compare it with the solutions and services we are capable of internally. Finally, relevant messages and best content are developed and delivered to contacts.

Dodge: Can you provide a specific example of how integrated communications has helped your organization stand out in the healthcare field?

Holbrook: To better integrate our message and position in the industry, we have developed an online content site, presented like a digital magazine and archive, where our prospects and clients can come to find information valuable for them and their healthcare organization. Aptly named "ENGAGE," we find this presentation of content to be extremely useful and straightforward. We believe it fits well in the modern age of marketing where "content is king" and creates opportunities for readers to access a wide variety of content relevant to them that is also measurable by our team.

Dodge: What advice would you provide other organizations interested in leveraging integrated communications?

Holbrook: We would say integrated communications begins with the needs of prospects and clients. The single-most important message any organization can send is that those needs can be met. The marketing scene is becoming increasingly transparent as it becomes increasingly digital. There is hardly room for anything else besides delivering valuable content that could be of any real use. The greater the communication between departments within an organization and the more efficient ability to message relevant content

Which corporate success(es) have you been able to achieve through the implementation of an integrated communications strategy?