Over the last couple of posts, I looked at whether integrated marketing was dead and highlighted three key aspects that were consistent across them: multiple disciplines, combination of tactics and one strategy and message. And while that seems to make sense, there is still something missing in terms of how these aspects are applied that limit the effectiveness of integrated marketing. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
In my experience, product launches are when most companies tend to use integrated marketing. Most do a really good job of developing one strategy and message while integrating a lot of different tactics. However, when you consider the scope of a product launch, I’m not always sure all disciplines are on the same page nor are all the key ones included. But is this the reason that integrated marketing has not been effective for product launches?
I think it has more to do with the fact that when the launch is done, the team moves onto the next one and doesn’t continue to build momentum. I’ve seen more launches than I can count, which get amazing exposure and awareness for the company or product only to fizzle because you don’t hear from them again. I’m not saying they stop marketing but instead start a new campaign that’s not tied to the launch in terms of strategy or message.
Integrated marketing is also used for demand generation campaigns as it should be. For me, this should be the main application of integrated marketing but it’s not always done effectively, which clearly impacts the success of the campaigns. While one strategy is sometimes developed, the message is not always as consistent as it could be across the campaign or when looked at across several campaigns. And, rarely do demand generation campaigns cross multiple disciplines.
But for me, the biggest issue is that the number and combination of tactics vary widely in demand generation campaigns, and in some cases it’s only one or two deployed. As I’ve talked about previously, a demand generation campaign needs to be all encompassing and obviously use a number of tactics. But, what may doom them even more is that the tactics deployed are not the best to meet the goal because the tactic is the latest “shiny object” and not necessarily what makes sense for the audience.
So while the previous definitions of integrated marketing makes sense at a certain level, we definitely need to add the concept of ongoing and audience to multiple disciplines, combination of tactics and one strategy and message. Ongoing is pretty straightforward, and likely done by many as part of their plans, but you need to look at a broader horizon and not just do a launch and move on. Part of your integrated marketing plan needs to be an ongoing drumbeat which is even more important in B2B where the sales cycle can be long.
But more critical is the concept of audience being front and center in your integrated marketing plan. Don Peppers, talked about integrating the customers perspective in his LinkedIn post about what integrated marketing really means. This is crucial to me and I’m not saying it’s never done but likely not to the depth it needs to be done. And, it’s not just about defining your target audience, which is obviously important, but also looking at the buyer’s journey and understanding how many interactions and what kind they will want and need to make a buying decision.
By adding these two concepts (ongoing and audience/customer) to integrated marketing, has it changed enough to be successful? What else would you add? Or is integrated marketing beyond being able to be saved?