This EDIS publication, focusing on integrating communication elements into the marketing of your UF/IFAS Extension program, is the third of a five-part EDIS publications series on developing marketing campaigns for your local UF/IFAS Extension program. This series includes publications on campaign planning and audience analysis development, creative and media strategies, budgets, and evaluation. Click here to navigate the series.
Integrated marketing is the process of coordinating promotional tools to build and maintain brand awareness, identity, and preference. Sending different messages through different kinds of media increases the chances of successfully reaching and persuading the target audience. Integrated marketing uses many different types of marketing methods, such as public relations and sales promotion, to reach the target audience. One of the most important aspects of successful integrated marketing is maintaining a consistent theme throughout all of the messages that are being used.
Public relations is a marketing and management tool that deals with an organization's public issues. Public relations attempts to promote goodwill, promote a product or service, enhance internal communications, counteract negative publicity, lobby, and give advice and counsel. To achieve these goals, public relations uses news releases, feature stories, company newsletters, interviews and news conferences, sponsored events, and publicity to reach mass media and different audiences. Public relations sometimes is referred to as a way "to bank goodwill." The more good you do for a community, the more goodwill is "banked" so that people will remember the positive activities you do. Public relations is a valuable tool because it can reach a broad audience and is a cost-effective way to share messages.
Media relations is a component of public relations that focuses on earned media. Earned media refers to media sources controlled by individuals external to your organization (for example, news organization). When these gatekeepers decide to devote news coverage to your story or information, they lend their third-party credibility to your message. This can enhance audience interest and trust. Media relations establishes a relationship with your local news media. People often get their news through television and radio stations, newspapers, and local magazines. Additionally, these sources all have online delivery systems for their news stories. To develop an effective media relations strategy, here are some suggestions:
Set realistic goals. It is probably unrealistic to expect that every news release you send out will result in a front-page story. Instead, you may try getting a story placed on the community calendar on television or in a newspaper, rather than a front-page story.
On a regular basis, provide informational materials to reporters. Examples include news releases, public service announcements (PSAs), photographs, and letters to the editor. These information subsidies are helpful tools for reporters crafting stories.
Become a reputable and dependable expert source. Get to be recognized in your community as the expert on a particular topic of interest. If reporters trust you and know that you are an expert, you will be called on time after time for comments.
Get to know the reporters in your geographic region, and know the "beat" assignments of reporters. Who covers your "beat"? Depending on the story, it might be covered by an education reporter, a business reporter, or a science reporter. Contact the reporters personally, and follow-up with phone calls, e-mails, letters, and personal visits.
The most important thing to remember about media relations is that newspapers, local magazines, and broadcast media are in business to inform and serve their readers and viewers. The best way to get more media attention is to make your Extension programs newsworthy. Media outlets consider newsworthy stories to be those that are timely, unique, and impact local residents.
Social media are web-based information channels that allow people to create a public or semi-private profile, connect with other users and share user-generated content (Boyd and Ellison, 2007). While gatekeepers decide what stories will be covered in news media sources, social media allows individuals to bypass gatekeepers and formulate their own media channels through various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (Kim, 2016). Individuals create online communicates or "tribes" (Godin, 2008) within which they share information and resources. It's important for Extension to try to understand these virtual communities. Kim (2016) proposes a four-step process to guide social media efforts:
Listening to conversations and content that impacts your brand.
Strategic design of social media content to ignite conversations in a way that furthers your organizational goals.
Implementation and monitoring of conversations and content to make adjustments and engage in two-way dialogue.
Evaluation of the return on investment for any social media efforts.
Brand marketing uses clear, unified messages, coupled with a consistent product or service. People often choose brand name services or merchandise over less expensive equivalents because of the perception that these products and services are more consistent, meaning the consumer can expect the same results each time, and of higher quality. Brands are able to achieve this perception by approaching the correct target audience, making the audience see the product or service as being different or better, and capitalizing on success to further the promotion of the brand. Extension is a brand in its own right. UF/IFAS Extension provides information and expertise to assist the public in a variety of areas. Many of these services are provided at little or no charge. In Florida, UF/IFAS Extension often uses a statewide message—"Solutions for Your Life"—to make Extension recognizable as a unified brand, no matter in what county the office may reside. The concept—"real answers for real life"—is simple, but its message is clear through its delivery.
Sales promotion uses incentives to create a perception of greater brand value and to encourage consumers to purchase the organization's brand. Often the goal is to generate a trial purchase. If the consumers enjoy the first interaction, they are more likely to repeat the purchase and potentially make larger purchases. Types of sales promotions include coupons, contests, trade shows, sampling, and loyalty programs. An Extension program example could be a Master Gardeners exhibition that hopes to introduce UF/IFAS Extension to more people in the community. Members of the community can be invited to view the exhibits and encouraged to take some of the information that Extension provides for use at home. If they find the information helpful, they will be more likely to request this service and possibly other similar Extension programs in the future.
Quick Reference Guide
Integrated Marketing Basics
Promote a product or service
Enhance internal communications
Counteract negative publicity
Give advice and counsel
Methods of Public Relations
Interview and press conference
Set realistic goals
On a regular basis, provide informational materials to reporters
Become a reputable and dependable expert source
Get to know the reporters in your geographic region, and know their "beat" assignments of reporters
Newsworthiness of Story Ideas Based on...
Individuals connecting with other individuals
Individuals bypassing gatekeepers
Information sharing among tribes
Four-step process for social media
Implementation and monitoring
Outlets selling the goods
Clear, unified messages
Consistent product or service
Methods of Brand Marketing
Approach the correct target audience
Make audience see product as different or better
Capitalize on success to further promotion of the brand
Incentives create a perception of greater brand value
Encourage consumers to purchase the organization's brand
Methods in Sales Promotion
Applying the Concepts of Integrated Marketing
Think of an upcoming UF/IFAS Extension program you will be working on.
What public relations tools have you used in the past? Were they successful? Why or why not? What do you think might be successful in the future?
How effective have your media relations strategies been in the past in getting your local Extension program in news outlets? Why do you think they have or have not been successful? What might you do differently?
Do you believe you could create a marketable brand? What kind of brand could you generate for your programming? Could you tie it to the Solutions for Your Life campaign?
Have you ever used a sales promotion? If so, how well did it work? Do you think any of your current programming could benefit from a sales promotion?