It all started with a simple question: is integrated marketing dead?
While I thought a new framework for marketing would come our of this search, when I found out that 131 different kinds of marketing existed in 2010, I realized it was time to improve what was already somewhat working rather than create something different again. For integrated marketing to be more effective, that improvement involves expanding in three key areas. The new integrated marketing must be:
Integrated across different marketing tactics and media
This is what most people see as integrated marketing today: the combination of multiple tactics across different media and disciplines. This was clear in the original definitions I found for integrated marketing. However, as I pointed out when I started this series, it’s rarely done well across enough tactics and that list of tactics continue to grow. So most try the new thing rather than what makes the most sense for their audience.
More importantly though, the strategy and message across all the tactics, cannot change. While a simple, differentiated message is key to all your efforts, that message needs to be used consistently for integrated marketing to work. So it’s important to develop the right message for that audience but even more important to use it again and again throughout the campaign. But it doesn’t end with just a core message, the look, images and overall tone needs to be consistent throughout as well.
Integrated with the sales funnel
One of the big issues I find with integrated marketing today is that it doesn’t focus on the customer. Account-based marketing has the potential to fix this big issue, which is why I thought it might be the ideal replacement for integrated marketing. But ABM still needs to use integrated marketing for its campaigns and may be only applicable in some cases since you need to start with a small list of target accounts to be effective. However, the idea of picking your target accounts or market is key for the new integrated marketing.
Regardless of the size of your pool of prospects, marketing needs to integrate with sales so that it is focused on the customer and getting more of them. The sales funnel is the ideal intersection point between marketing and sales which is why I think that closely tying all your activities to the sales funnel just makes sense. As I’ve written about before, there are many different formats and stages for the funnel but what matters most is to pick one and make sure you are in sync with sales on it.
Integrated from launch to customer
One other weakness with integrated marketing is that it quite often used for one initiative. For example, a product launch is done in a very integrated fashion but then everyone moves on to the next project. The launch and all your initiatives really need to be part of a campaign that’s ongoing. You need to plan at the outset for marketing activities throughout the funnel so that your prospects continue to see and hear the consistent message you have developed.
This third integration may be the most critical of all for an effective program. You need to integrate all you activities from that initial launch to when the deal is closed with a customer and then repeat. Too often, each campaign or initiative looks, sounds and feels different so you aren’t leveraging any of the good work done before. And, if you don’t follow the prospect through their journey to becoming a customer then how do you ever expect the deal to close?
I believe strongly that integrated marketing, when done right, can be very effective. But what most see as integrated marketing needs to expand which is why combining these three concepts, into integrated3 marketing or the new integrated marketing, can make for an even more effective marketing campaign.
But it’s not just the concept that needs to expand but also how integrated marketing programs are implemented. I’ll look at an updated approach in the next post to bring even more clarity to what I’m talking about above. Plus, I’ll give you a framework for how to incorporate this into your plans.
Let me know your thoughts on this new approach and any questions you might have in the comments or on Twitter.