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Econsultancy’s report on marketing integration won’t be published until Integrated Marketing Week in June, but we wanted to preview some of the top line findings from our survey of over 1,000 marketers and agency pros. 

In this post, we look at the building blocks of integration and its number one enemy, human nature (and what to do about it.)

What exactly is integrated marketing? Broadly it’s the effort to have channels work together within common campaigns and programs, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The Integrated Marketing Survey, conducted in partnership with Target Marketing, asked practitioners to define and rank the elements of integration, the fundamental skills it requires and the challenges it presents.

We’ll look at all of these over the next few posts leading up to #IMW13 (follow that hashtag for info on integrated marketing and the event), but first up are the basic components of marketing integration, and the key factor in why many companies aren’t successful in implementing them. 

The elements of integrated marketing

When we deploy an integrated marketing campaign, we want to achieve better results through coordination. That means having some or all of the following gears turn in unison;

Brand experience 

Brand means a lot of different things and includes some of the other parts of this list. For example, one can argue that there’s nothing more integral to a company’s brand today than customer experience. But we’ve separated these threads to look at each in more detail.

In this context, brand experience means the visual brand and how well companies use images, colors and logos to portray who they are in a complimentary way across channels and experiences.

Messaging/promotions

One of the most nuanced parts of an integrated campaign is messaging/promotions. That’s because it’s not as simple as using the same copy and offers.

On the contrary, different channels, devices and audiences often demand unique treatment… all within a complimentary context.

User experience 

The sum total of what it’s like to read, view, interact or shop. What elements should be common across channels and what should be unique? How far do you go with time and money limitations?

If only 7% of your traffic is mobile, but you know that it might be a very important audience, how do you invest for the future?

Timing 

Fielding integrated marketing campaigns that include offline elements with long lead times can be like planning D-Day. Even multichannel campaigns which are online-only can be complex as the agencies and various vendors come into play.

Also, timing doesn’t always mean that everything happens at once; it’s not uncommon for campaigns to have a gradual roll out across channels.

Data 

Unified data means having technologies and processes that speak the same language. It’s a goal that’s been a thorn in the side of marketing, especially as digital has expanded the channels that produce data and the silos that hold it.

But it’s also the central promise of digital marketing technology, and fortunately the tools for unification are becoming more effective and more economical as they move to the SAAS, cloud-based model.

There are many reasons for unifying data and benefits to doing so, but one of the most important within the context of an integrated campaign is that current customers are known and cherished and sold to very differently from new prospects.

Attribution 

We all know the statistics, the models and the conventional wisdom… the customer journey is complex and marketers need to understand how the panoply of channels contribute to the end result. It’s not easy, and the complexity rises with every channel that’s added. But in the end, we’re not just learning what works, we’re learning about our customers and how they use those channels.

These are the components of successful integrated marketing. Campaigns that do some or all of these things well are likely to be powerful and make more money than campaigns that exist in the vacuum of a single channel. 

The bad news

As we examined the data around making integrated campaigns a reality, one correlation stood out; companies with political barriers were far more likely to be failing. The chart below compares organizations that marketers describing as having “internal political barriers” and those that don’t. 

 

The differences are stark. With the exception of “coordinated timing” there’s a enormous delta between the two groups; organizations with political silos are two to three times more likely to describe themselves as failing in a given area.

The good news

A silver lining from the study is that conducting integrated marketing does correlate with improved relationships between channel teams. 62% of agency respondents (who are typically quite critical of client side orgs) agree that political issues are abated by practicing integrated marketing.

What’s more difficult to determine is what’s the chicken or egg in this scenario. Anyone with big company experience knows that simple repetition isn’t enough to work bad processes out of a system. But this statistic does underscore the value in pushing ahead, of setting the goal of integration and doing whatever it takes to make it happen.

Changing internal company dynamics can be the most challenging task leaders take on, and there are whole books and companies devoted to nothing else. But if there’s a simple truth, it’s that everything eventually comes down to incentive, because that’s where human nature and business reality meet.

If you are paid or recognized for something that’s not in line with integrated marketing, you’re not going to be a big help. In fact, you might even work against it (your brain will come up with a good reason why, don’t worry).

Organizations that want to integrate across channels, bring down silos or focus on the customer have to start by making working together to a common goal the basis of their compensation/incentive models.

Next week, we’ll look at the role of technology in integrated marketing. To get the entire Integrated Marketing Study, join Econsultancy and the DMA at Integrated Marketing Week, June 10-13 in New York.

Stefan Tornquist

Published 16 May, 2013 by Stefan Tornquist @ Econsultancy

Follow Stefan Tornquist for the "Stat of the Day" tweet or connect on LinkedIn. Stefan is Vice President, Research (US) for Econsultancy. .

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Comments (8)

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Pickett

"Organizations that want to integrate across channels, bring down silos or focus on the customer have to start by making working together to a common goal"
Would love to see some case studies/real world examples of how this might actually look.

almost 3 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

hi, Stefan, this is really interesting stuff - thanks for the research & the analysis.

One slight oddity:

Your main finding is that organisations with political issues are bad at integration (ie. bad politics correlates with bad integration). The secondary finding is "conducting integrated marketing does correlate with improved relationships between channel teams" - ie. 'good integration correlates with good politics'. Aren't those the same?

dan

almost 3 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

Thinking about it, it would be interesting to add the "how's your internal politics?" question to a few more surveys.

I wonder whether this naturally correlates with negativity. It would also be interesting to see if responses from the same organisation agree on whether the politics is toxic/not. (ie. how much of this is people who perceive bad politics & are generally pessimistic, how much genuine toxicity)

almost 3 years ago

Stefan Tornquist

Stefan Tornquist, Vice President, Research (US) at EconsultancyStaff

@dan - Thanks for your comments and I suspect that any confusion lies with my explanation rather than your analysis.

The agencies are talking about the effect of running integrated campaigns...that they actually have a positive effect on how teams work together. That's not quite the same as good politics=good integration, though that's true as well.

Stepping back, there are twin goals - integration itself and then the organizational shift toward lowered boundaries that would have a positive impact on all sorts of activities. The latter has an impact on running integrated campaigns, while simply running integrated campaigns won't restructure the organization, though it might grease the gears.

And you're right - questions about human dynamics are worth asking. Marketing has been in such a flurry of technical invention and innovation for the last 15 years that we can lose site of the people and personalities that actually make things work (or make sure they don't ; )

Pretty sure that adds to the confusion. My work here is done.

Stefan

almost 3 years ago

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Digital Master

Nice find! I have been looking for statistics like this. I would like to see though how many of these data were derived from mobile users, if anything at all.

almost 3 years ago

David Sealey

David Sealey, Head of Digital Consulting at CACIEnterprise

Was there a correlation between integrated marketing and overall organisation marketing ROI?

I appreciate that we'll have to wait for the full results but it seems to me that there is a key difference is between what a marketer or agency perceives vs what the top and bottom line says.

My hypothesis is that organisations achieving integrated channel marketing communications should have a greater marketing ROI than those who don't.

Also any chance that you'll be sharing the raw data to allow others to analyse it and draw conclusions?

David

almost 3 years ago

Stefan Tornquist

Stefan Tornquist, Vice President, Research (US) at EconsultancyStaff

@David - we will be talking about ROI and other benefits, but the study is ultimately limited to self-reported data. We've taken a few angles at those perceptions to try and minimize bias.

For a variety of reasons, Econsultancy does not release data sets at this time.

Thanks for your inquiry, Stefan

almost 3 years ago

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