As more and more digital marketing channels such as Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest and digital platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter, grow in popularity with consumers, marketers now more than ever need to be integrating their communication efforts.
Traditionally, definitions of integrated marketing have focused on integrated marketing communications (IMC), but these are no longer fit for purpose, since they imply an old media mindset of campaigns with broadcast and push communications that are one-way and not interactive. Digital media and the web have brought us the opportunity to share via social media (including UGC, user generated content) and create immersive experiences on websites and in mobile apps. We can also personalise across ads, website and email through techniques like re-targeting and website personalisation. Chaffey (2019)
So, in today’s context, if you have successfully integrated your marketing, it means that you have created a unified and seamless experience for your customers to interact with your brand across all your chosen channels. Those that have achieved this will know that integrating all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and social media and getting them all to work together as a unified force, is not an easy task. Consistency of messaging across all channels is the goal.
To add to this, there is also a new dimension to integrated marketing. We can no longer just look at channels but also need to consider integration across different devices.
If it’s so complex, why integrate?
Content is the new common currency of every market and consumer touchpoint. If there is one thing we know, creating content is time consuming and expensive. Integrated marketing provides brands with the opportunity to increase operational efficiency and to drive superior performance through collaboration. “The business case for integrated marketing is the shift from becoming a competitive player to a profit powerhouse.” (Forbes, 2018). As a further testament to the power of integrated marketing, research conducted by Gartner has found that Integrated campaigns across 4+ channels outperform single or dual-channel campaigns by 300 percent. Thus, it can be said that amplifying a consistent message drives value.
Why then are more companies not integrating their marketing?
According to an article by Forbes (2019), the fight is real! In their article they address why more marketing organisations haven’t adopted an integrated approach? Their answer… The enemy to integration lies within our own organisation which is internal competition stemming from once-functional divisions within, and between teams needing to handle multi-channel challenges. Forbes does offer a solution to this problem; there needs to be a shift from a culture of competition to that of collaboration. “With decreased competition comes increased collaboration, and with increased collaboration comes increased organizational integration and customer-centricity.”
Forbes also offers the following six milestones for building an integrated marketing organisation
- Secure executive sponsorship and cross-functional buy-in.
- Assemble a cross-functional team tasked with integrating the organization.
- Conduct a SWOT analysis, specifically to identify hidden silos and other barriers to collaboration.
- Proceed with collaborative planning that’s guided by a unifying big idea.
- Implement holistic workflows.
- Support your efforts with integrated technology stack.
If your organisation is struggling or delaying the implementation of an Integrated Marketing Strategy, you are out of time. “2019 is a critical year for marketing organisations to adopt an integrated approach, and early adoption brings first market advantage.”
For more information, read the full article here.