Last week, I started a series of posts to explore whether the concept of integrated marketing is dead. In that post, I looked at Wikipedia, which defines integrated marketing communications as the “application of consistent brand messaging across both traditional and non-traditional marketing channels and using different promotional methods to reinforce each other.” At the time, I wondered if this definition was dated and the simple issue with integrated marketing was that it needed a new look.
Even within Wikipedia, there are several definitions with the most current one from the STIR blog: “True IMC is the development of marketing strategies and creative campaigns that weave together multiple marketing disciplines (paid advertising, earned media/PR, promotion, owned assets and social media) that are executed across a variety of media, and selected to suit the particular goals of the brand.”
But I wanted to keep digging and found two more definitions from industry thought leaders on this topic:
- John Jantsch, marketing consultant and best selling author Duct Tape Marketing, The Referral Engine and more, defines it as follows: “Integrated marketing is the combination of marketing tactics to help deliver one marketing strategy and more quickly build know, like and trust.”
- Don Peppers, Founding Partner at Peppers & Rogers Group and, with co-author Martha Rogers, Ph.D., has published nine books including The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time, wrote a post on LinkedIn about what integrated marketing really means and said, “Integrated marketing incorporates an individual customer’s own perspective into all customer-facing functions at a company, including marketing, sales, and service.”
I could go on (here’s one more from Lee Odden on the Top Rank Blog) but I think these three definitions alone clearly show that integrated marketing is not clearly defined, which may be why it’s done so differently (poorly?) in many organizations, but that it’s also top of mind as a key concept.
But while these definitions are different and show how the thinking on integrated marketing has progressed, there are three key aspects that are crucial if we are to redefine integrated marketing yet again:
- Multiple disciplines: from a marketing perspective this covers advertising to PR and social to content marketing but could even be broader and integrate sales and service disciplines with marketing too.
- Combination of tactics: this is clear in even the original definition but what’s key for me is that it’s multiple tactics across the disciplines above and the possible list of tactics continues to grow.
- One strategy and message: probably the most abused aspect of integrated marketing is the fact that there is not one clear strategy and message across all the tactics, which becomes even more difficult if we integrate multiple disciplines outside marketing.
So do these three attributes solve our problems with integrated marketing? I’m not so sure. What are your thoughts?
Peppers goes on to talk about how you also need to integrate your customer’s perspective. That’s a good point; the audience is missing from the other definitions although it’s implied. But how would your integrated marketing campaigns be different if you thought about it from your customer’s point of view?
Clearly more questions than answers as I continue to look at this topic. Will try to answer at least some of them in the next post.