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Become a "Trusted Friend" through Integrated Marketing

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As a child, I looked forward to the day when cars would fly, robots would clean my room, and computers would make our lives so easy that we would complain about the toil of a three-day work week. As an adult, I realize exactly how distorted that view of the future was. Overall, innovation has kept very few of the promises of my childhood. Instead, technology and innovation have made life more complex.

Just like actual friends, a brand that wants to become a “trusted friend” needs to incorporate an approach that is beyond the simple campaign, utilizing a variety of marketing channels to ensure customers invest in a relationship with the brand. In other words, long-term customer relationships can be attained only through integrated marketing.

Three Rules for Integrated Marketing:

1. Know what to say when

Integrated marketing is a term that has been around for a long time. For years marketers have been working to find the perfect mixture of media and messages to maximize their advertising return on investment and cash-in on the lifetime value of a customer. But true integrated marketing takes very careful planning. It requires a consistent message across online and offline customer touch points and coordination of many different marketing disciplines including broadcast, PR, interactive and print to provide maximum impact. Plus, it requires crafting a message that drives customers to the next level of brand engagement and makes them feel as if they are part of the brand. Much like real friendships, you rarely become “trusted” unless you know what to say and when to say it.

For years marketers have been working to find the perfect mixture of media and messages to maximize their advertising return on investment

2. First contact, second contact

Becoming a trusted friend does not happen overnight. It is a process based on a continuous stream of positive, shared encounters. For Pharma, this is a bit more challenging than with other industries due to the regulations around what can be said to consumers. However, with the innovation in interactive media over the last few years, there are many more opportunities to engage consumers in genuine conversations that can help build a trusted friendship without violating any regulations.

For example, Johnson & Johnson has built a reputation as a trusted brand for millions of consumers by creating a transparent and friendly relationship with its customers through leveraging traditional media for awareness, interactive media for engagement, and a mix of both for retention. For Johnson & Johnson, being a trusted brand has very little to do with conversations focused on specific products, but being that trusted brand has most definitely had an effect on product sales. In a very basic sense, being the trusted brand allows your company to feature your products as a solution to a problem that is recommended and endorsed by a trusted friend.

3. Friendship

Innovation has, obviously, been a double-edged sword for marketing. On one hand, it has given us a brilliant opportunity to engage consumers directly. While on the other hand, it has added many levels of complexity to our already challenging goal of connecting with customers. But in every case in which marketers have accepted the challenge and found innovative ways to engage consumers to build a trusted brand, they have achieved something greater. These marketers have become synonymous with quality and irreplaceable in the minds of their customers. In short, they have built a trusted friendship.

Innovation’s Not All Bad

Technology may not have brought about the flying car or the 3-day work week, but it has presented an opportunity for us to engage and help people on an unprecedented level. The days of trying to move the needle with one great campaign are over. It will take an excellent brand experience at every point of contact. Now I’m going to kick back while my Roomba vacuums. Thanks, technology. At least you kept one promise.

For more information about building an integrated marketing strategy, please contact your Intouch Solutions representative, or contact us at


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