Marketing in the Round: Develop an Integrated Marketing Campaign in the Digital Era
Integration was not only good for the business, it was good for the communication disciplines as they worked together to produce results that both built brands and generated sales.
Then the tech bubble burst, and the 9/11 tragedy enveloped the United States, with everyone watching to discover how its horror would touch every corner of the world. The stock market tanked, and everyone retreated to their respective silos to protect their budgets, their jobs, and their turf.
All the companies that worked so hard to break down the communication silos to integrate best business practices lost focus. Budgets were once again allocated by discipline and not by campaign. Professionals were hired based on their discipline skill and not their ability to work with other disciplines. And multiple agencies were hired for one company.
Since all of this happened, the digital and social media revolutions have ensued, seeping into every aspect of business, making the picture even more complex. No longer are companies thinking just about paid (advertising) and earned (public relations) media. They now have to consider the Web and social media and their effects in how we communicate.
Companies and agencies alike have struggled to integrate traditional and social media and to measure results beyond increased awareness and positive sentiment.
People see a mosaic of media throughout their day. Customer brand impressions about products, causes, and services are formed through diverse experiences, media types, and peer conversations.
Rarely is one media moment, positive or negative, strong enough to form a full impression. Before the Web, research showed a person needed to see a message seven times before a purchase decision is made. Today a person needs to see a message upwards of 20 times. Some of those messages can, and should, be delivered by trusted sources, including friends and family, and online friends.
But this isn’t a social media or digital revolution book. While companies are quickly adapting social into their marketing programs, it still represents less than 5 percent2 of their total budget.
You know you need more, but you likely are uncertain about how to divvy up resources between the traditional and the new. The answer is an art, not a science, and it is a result of an interpretive understanding of diverse media, of stakeholders’ use of media, and of effective planning.
To develop the art, you have to break down the silos; give up the budget fights, turf wars, control, and holding onto knowledge for perceived power.
The only way to succeed in the future—to best serve your customers, to become an investment in the company’s growth—is to market in the round.
Integration and the Marketing Round
According to Wikipedia, integration in the communication disciplines is defined as “the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues, functions, and sources within a company into a seamless program that maximizes the [effect] on consumers and other end-users at a minimal cost. This management concept is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation.”
Imagine your organizational structure as a wheel instead of a typical hierarchy. Think of marketing as the hub. The spokes are made up of public relations, advertising, Web, email, social media, corporate communication, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, content, and direct mail. They circle simultaneously.
As the hub, your job is to ensure the following goals are achieved:
- All departments work together, and no single spoke moves into the more comfortable spot of its own silo.
- The days of one-off campaigns disappear forever. No more email campaign one month, a direct mail campaign the following month, a big product release complete with publicity the following month, so on. Your efforts are around either a series or one annual campaign, completely integrating all disciplines.
- Integration is not the same message on every platform, but you’re using all communication disciplines appropriately, with the correct messages for each.
- Sales, customer service, engineering/product development, operations, legal, and human resources interact with the marketing round for critical company initiatives.
- Information flows in and out of every discipline in a measured but easy and effective way. Processes are streamlined or removed to ensure that intramarketing and company-wide communications flow naturally.
- You find the fastest path to the end result, with the least expenditure of time and resources.
Are you already doing some of this? Perhaps you’re integrating marketing and communication around a webinar series or a trade show. Maybe you’re using Chatter inside Salesforce or creating an internal communication instant messaging system with Yammer. It may be that you regularly time your advertising and direct marketing launch to coincide with a major PR announcement. Or you’ve created an internal blog where all disciplines share information with one another.
Or is your organization so siloed that all you can do every day is protect your own turf by focusing solely on your job and not on what the other disciplines are doing?
Marketing in the round means the silos must disappear. Forever. All the disciplines must work together, no matter what turf wars or comfort boxes your organization holds dear. Sales, customer service, legal, and human resources need to advise and provide input to the marketing round as the situation demands. Those wars and boxes mean that even though you may be doing a good job of integrating marketing, public relations, and email, the other disciplines are being left out.