NEW YORK: Brands must ensure "integration" strategies go beyond simply achieving consistency across channels and focus on delivering timely and useful information to shoppers, a paper from Warc argues.

What we know about integrating media suggests that integrated campaigns traditionally employed multiple forms of media to reinforce one another, an approach thought to enhance effectiveness.

Digital and social media – and the swathe of accompanying data – have, however, revolutionised what the notion of integration means to marketers, as well as the potential it holds for them.

The Warc paper notes, "Successful marketers understand that smart, integrated marketing communications are insight-driven programs that not only align multiple channels, but also offer connections to customers that are timely and useful."

An example of how this transformation can work in practice concerns the path to purchase, where there are now ways to segment shoppers with extreme precision depending on their current needs and interests.

Kellogg's, the cereal manufacturer, offers one illustration of this trend in action, with an initiative based around dividing the purchase journey into three phases: "before store", "in store" and "after store".

"In this context, 'integration' becomes a much bigger idea than aligning the messaging across a certain number of communications channels," the paper says.

"It is also becoming more common to find media other than TV taking the lead – as with the rise of 'mobile-first' strategies."

Given that consumers are utilising a growing range of devices and channels, marketers must imbue brands with the ability to resonate everywhere from a store to a TV screen to a social network.

"All marketing efforts need to encourage a positive consumer experience that, in turn, will enable the brand to build (and maintain) a consistent message across all devices that may deliver that message," the paper says.

"New models of integration will reflect the way consumers access different media, and the role different devices play at different times."

Case studies from Pepsi and Purex offer examples of just how this can be achieved. 

Data sourced from Warc