So I’m thinking I may need to see a doctor or someone in the medical profession for it is becoming quite apparent that I am addicted to integrated marketing communications or at the very least I am obsessively compulsive over it.
I say that with tongue planted firmly in cheek, well maybe not firmly for I am a huge propone
nt of integrated marketing communications and am still astounded as to the number of C-level folks and marketers in general who still don’t either “get it” and/or “practice it.” Just a few weeks ago I wrote of the The Eleven Letter Word That Continues To Elude All CMOs And Marketers with the eleven-letter word being, of course, integration.
So in my continuing quest all things integrated marketing communication’s, I first decided to go back to the future, if you will, to see what folks were saying about this subject then versus what folks are saying now.
From just three years ago, John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing put it quite bluntly re: the advantage of using integrated marketing communications: “I absolutely believe the real integration opportunity, and way [for] most small business owners to blow their competition out of the water, is the intentional blending of online and offline tools and tactics around a single marketing strategy.”
Now how could any business owner not want to run out an integrate a campaign after reading
A few years prior in 2007, David Eldridge in writing for Direct Marketing News, compared integration to a fantasy land, which is really how many marketers still look at it today: “Integration is not a dreamland of endless possibilities with revolutionary marketing results at the end of a rainbow. It’s an ongoing process made up of many discrete but valuable steps, each contributing to the greater cause.”And finally, talk about going back to the future, take a look at what was written in The Journal of Marketing Communications way back in 1999: “The need to strive for greater integration is considered inevitable by many, although the means by which such integration may be achieved is uncertain.”
Inevitable by many indeed yet so many, far too many, have yet to figure out the means to achieve it.
Ok, so that’s what folks were saying about integrated marketing communications.
What are they saying now?
I decided to reach out to some folks from both large brands/companies to some on the smaller scale and judging by what I saw, there is hope indeed for us believers in a true integrated marketing communications society. (ok, perhaps that was a bit melodramatic)
My first stop was with Denny Post, SVP and CMO of Red Robin who told me that “we align on our on-line marketing closely with offline, especially when we’re on air using traditional media.” She also told me they “take an integrated approach for all major promotions and on-line for targeted offers.”
I also reached out to Dwight Griesman, the Chief Marketing Officer at Forrester for this thoughts on marketing integration, and he was not a loss for words nor advice for brands, businesses and companies when it comes to integrated marketing communications. In fact at one point during my interview with him he asked the most obvious of questions: “Why wouldn’t we want to reach audiences who spend time in the offline and online world, in each dimension?”
Some words of wisdom from Dwight:
- “Online has a proven ability to amplify the message, reach and impact of our marketing aka traditional word of mouth marketing on steroids, and then some. Integrating your messages, benefits, branding etc makes tremendous sense. If the concept is good enough to take to market, then it should be good enough to be executed in an integrated manner.”
- “We have learned that it is not about bricks or clicks, but bricks and clicks, and that there is real and valuable crossover across retail channels. Why would those same dynamics not generally apply in other areas as well.”
- “The most important element remains that customers want and expect a consistent experience across all of their touch points with companies and products.”
Dwight’s last comment is one I echoed not long ago in an article entitled What Schoolhouse Rock And Integration Have In Common which spoke to the desire among consumers wanting to see the same basic message be it via an offline medium or online or mobile/tablet.
In the aforementioned article I provided some proof of this via surveys conducted by MyBuys and e-tailing group, a provider of of cross-channel personalisation for retailers. They conducted two separate surveys which showed, in all its glory that A) consumers want integration and B) retailers are not giving it to them. Pay close attention to the boxes marked “Consistency” and the big difference between what consumers want (ideal) and what they are getting (current) in the chart below.
So, that’s what some folks from larger brands/companies think about marketing integration today. But what about the smaller guys, the businesses and companies that compete just as much for their piece of the market share puzzle as the big boys do?
Well one such “smaller company” that is using the integration of offline with online to its advantage is BirthdayPak. Based just outside of Philly, every month they direct mail out thousands of “paks” to women which include a birthday greeting plus as many as eight gift cards to local businesses. And according to CEO Michael Marchesani, the integrating of offline and online is essential and it all comes down to one word: trust and “the proof of that trust,” says Marchesani is in “how many people actually open our mail, then go to their computers to research who we are and what we’re about, then make the decision to further engage with us by sharing critical information, but more importantly, give us permission into their closely guarded email in box.”
In other words, there is a consistent message, tone, look and feel across the offline and online worlds.
Then there’s the case of a law firm who uses their own version of integrated marketing. Richard J. Quadrino, founding partner of Quadrino Schwartz in New York, told me of the different ways his law firm capitalises on marketing integration in promoting their firm.
“One unique way is using traditional offline marketing opportunities – such as the giving of presentations and lectures to live audiences – to enhance our online marketing efforts,” he says. “After delivering the lectures, we publish the event on our websites in the form of a news story, making sure that the words and phrases in the story are pleasing to Google’s web search crawlers and enhance our search engine results and rankings.”
Quite the unique use of integration if I do say so myself.
Ok, so I’ve made an appointment to see if I am indeed addicted to integrated marketing communications – will keep you up to date on that front.
But, in the meantime, I want to hear from you.
Are you in marketing or advertising and if so do you use an integrated marketing approach?
What brands/companies, if any, do you know who “get it” when it comes to marketing integration?
Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review, Steve Olenski is a freelance writer/blogger currently looking for full-time work. He has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and has over 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. He lives in Philly and can be reached via email,Twitter, LinkedIn or his website.
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