factor in marketing today is integration. Integration of traditional and on-line marketing
as well as various marketing tools in a single campaign. Integrated marketing gives your
campaign a life of its own.
Integrated marketing is the
coordination of several marketing tools that in many cases are already in place. They just
need to be integrated.
For example, a direct mail campaign
can go just so far. But, if during that campaign, your prospects read articles about you
in the newspaper, if they have been invited to a special event you are sponsoring, if they
hear you interviewed on a radio talk show, if they see your ads, if they read you will be
giving a talk somewhere -- that is when your direct mail campaign becomes an integrated
marketing campaign. Your efforts have breathed life into it.
If your TV spots are saying one thing,
and your designer came up with print ads that say something else, and your telemarketing
is off on a third tangent and your direct mail is doing its own thing -- that kind of
marketing is not integrated and it will not work.
To make these well-selected marketing
weapons operational, they all must be pulling in the same direction, saying virtually the
same thing, helping to clarify instead of confusing the customer. Everything in Integrated
Marketing is designed for maximum airtime -- and accuracy.
Integrated Marketing is
cost-efficient, focused, comprehensive, measurable and ROI oriented.
An integrated solution to a marketing
problem begins with close inspection of your company, your target audience and your
marketing environment. Your prospect's state of mind, lifestyle and media usage are the
best clues you have to which combination of tactics and marketing weaponry will bring
about maximum results. And every element of your mix should spring from and reinforce the
single strategic message behind the campaign. Divergent approaches baffle the prospect and
put a drag on the thrust of your campaign.
Until the 1990s, integrated marketing
was a happenstance thing, if it ever happened. Three things happened that changed that
1. Mass media fragmentation. Network
TV no longer reigned supreme.
2. The mass market disintegrated. The time was ripe for niche marketing, one-to-one
marketing and CRM.
3. The economy decimated marketing budgets. Direct marketing grew.
Twenty years ago, 75% of marketing
budgets went into advertising. Today, 50% goes into trade promotions, 25% to customer
promotions, and a bit less than 25% to advertising.
The year 2000 has seen the growth of
integrated marketing and leadership in marketing. The marketing leaders of the new
millenium bring talent and judgment to many marketing areas. These people are not scared
of marketing, are not intimidated by media, know how to do research, realize the abundance
of free marketing weapons, and believe fervently in operating from a plan. They are
fascinated with team work, project management, online marketing. They love the
accountability of integrated marketing, and are as intrigued with newsletters, customer
follow-up and CRM as they are with advertisement.
When they use advertisement, they
spend $1,000 to produce the spot, not $200,000. When they run it, the cost is $15 in prime
time, not $15,000.
Integrated marketing is the hallmark
of the present and future marketing. Great news for the new marketing leaders, but hardly
what traditional and award-lovers marketers living in the past want to hear.
maximize sales performance and customer loyalty by aligning all of the sales, marketing,
and customer service programs under a single vision.
The key: defining your
organizations unique selling proposition and mobilizing all of your key departments
to synergistically deliver it.
Integrated marketing is
hardly a new idea. Executives have been talking about its advantages for years, but few
took the trouble to practice it. Recent changes in the marketplace, however, mean that
companies that hope to survive must give integrated marketing more than lip service.
Todays customers have more,
better and faster access to information than ever. Bombarded by competing messages, they
can rapidly sift through the information overload to find what they need, and they are
better equipped than ever to distinguish false marketing claims from substantive ones.
Marketing integration provides companies with a competitive edge by focusing all of the
sales, marketing, and operations resources on promoting the same message throughout the
customer and prospect base and doing everything possible to make sure that sales and
marketing promises get consistently delivered.
Marketing integration not only
increases the chances that your organizations message will break through the
clutter, but also that your customers expectations will be consistently met.
Integrated strategies not only ensure that your message will have more impact, they can do
so with greater cost efficiency than can old-fashioned strategies.
In todays world, mass-marketing
is giving way to micro-marketing, by which organizations strive to identify and focus on
the people most likely to buy. The one-product-fits all concept now fits fewer and fewer.
Even niche marketing is giving way to one-to-one marketing: tailoring a product or service
to the needs of a single customer.
Under the traditional organization
structure, the sales and marketing message gets fragmented across myriad strategies and
tactics. Marketing often develops messages that the salespeople fail to sell or which
contain service promises that operations or customer service fail to deliver. At big
organizations, even marketing messages become fragmented across medium, meaning that
advertising, promotion, and other marketing tactics fail to leverage each other or, even
worse, work at cross-purposes. The results: declining brand loyalty and excessive
mobilizes all of a companys marketing and sales strategies under a single vision and
strategy implemented in concert by all of the organizations relevant departments.
In the traditional model, a company is
made up of discrete departments dedicated to a specific discipline, such as sales,
marketing, market research, corporate communications, customer service, advertising,
promotion, public relations, trade shows, events, information technology, manufacturing,
Often, they seem to operate in their
own little worlds, with the result that management "silos" emerge by which
different departments operate with different agendas and often not in concert.
In the integrated
marketing model, a company becomes a cohesive unit with a single overall goal based on
maximizing awareness among the target audience and making sure that the marketing promises
get consistently distributed across all sales and marketing media, and that they get
consistently delivered at the point of sale.
Rather than operating in
silos, departments work in concert to make sure that each of their activities work toward
the common goal.
OBSTACLES TO INTEGRATED MARKETING
There are several reasons
that people resist the shift to integrated marketing:
Turf. People are possessive of
their domains. Salespeople, especially, do not want to share information that they have
worked hard to acquire and that they believe they own. They do not want to reveal their
"confidential" plans for success; they want others to be surprised by the plans
and impressed by, perhaps even envious of, the results.
Ego. This ties in with turf
issues. If everyone shares, people become equal. It becomes difficult to tell who has the
"better" information, the smarter suggestions, or the greater success.
Budget. In the traditional
company, budgets are allocated by department, according to both need and results. If
departments work toward common goals, the thinking goes, management might not consider
some departments more important or more successful than others. Thus they would not
deserve larger budgets; they might even see their budgets cut.
These are the three components of resistance to change. First, inertia makes people want
to keep doing what they have always done; it is just easier. Second, people often are
disenchanted with leaders constantly experimenting with a new management flavor of the
month. Third, people resist change because they fear the unfamiliar.
Marketers today talk
about the importance of "building relationships," the need for "customer
relationship management." They understand that good relationships are the key to
developing loyal, long-term customers. But it is only through integrated marketing that
the contemporary company can take the actions required to build those relationships.
Customers have more options, and
they are more demanding.
They have access to more products, more sources of information, and more ways to buy,
notably, online. That means that marketers have more competition than ever. Today's
customers also know that they do not have to "settle." If you do not offer what
they want, someone else will. And if no one does, customers might just decide to go
without rather than accept something that does not please them.
The marketplace is changing.
Traditional companies developed products or services, set sales goals, and devised plans
for creating demand. In The New Marketing Paradigm: Integrated Marketing Communications,
authors Don E. Schultz, Stanley I. Tannenbaum, and Robert F. Lauterborn label the traditional
approach "inside-out" marketing, because the marketing plan originates
inside the organization. In contrast, "outside-in" planning originates with
customers and their needs.
Playing by the new rules. Can
you accept the results of your research? Managers must be willing to use the data they
collect and analyze. They must be constitutionally capable of changing their thinking from
"This is what we want to sell; how will we market it?" to "This is what the
customer wants; how will we provide it?" That change can be especially difficult if
customers reject a product or service in which much time and money have been invested, or
one that has an influential champion at the company.
Integrated messages can be sent
only by an integrated company. This is a major consideration. Integrating a
company could require structural changes, perhaps scrambling the organization chart. At
the very least, it means establishing cross-functional teams in which every department is
represented. Strategic planning thus becomes an enterprise-wide effort, and information
and responsibilities are shared.
For example, if research reveals that
customers want a change in payment terms or new financing options, it is obvious that
accounting is not the only department that needs to know; salespeople and customer service
need to be in the loop as well. If warranty terms change, tech support and customer
service need to know. When a new product is being promoted, the marketing department
should update the sales force, customer service, and others who deal with the public,
including the person who answers the phones. In addition to a description of the product's
features and benefits, this information should include a consistent promotional message.
STEPS TO SUCCESS
precisely. The way to do that, of course, is to conduct research. The traditional
methods are still effective: focus groups, mall intercepts, polling by phone, and mail
And now you can add the Internet to
that list. Asking visitors to your Web site to fill out a registration form in order to
access information is a quick and easy way to obtain detailed data on enormous numbers of
people. You can also use software that tracks visitors as they move through the Web site,
building a personal profile. And you can conduct surveys via e-mail. Combine information
from the Internet with data you gather from other sources, run it all through a computer
program that can analyze and manipulate the data, and you will know more about customers
and prospects than you could have imagined just a few years ago.
Give the sales force a central
role. Salespeople are a key source of information about customers and prospects.
Whether on the phones or in the field, they are the ones making direct contact and
gathering vital data. At the same time, new technologies enable salespeople to do their
jobs better. With cell phones, palmtop computers, and personal computers linked to the
home office, salespeople can gather information quickly, transmit it to the office, and
get rapid replies for the customer. The company gets up-to-the minute feedback, and the
customer receives personalized service. It is important for inside salespeople and field
salespeople to share account information, and it is always a good idea to include customer
service and other functions in the loop. Potential problem: Independent reps and
distributors, and sometimes company salespeople as well, can be reluctant to share their
information. Only in a truly integrated enterprise will they be willing to do so.
Integrate outside agencies with the
company and with each other. Probably the easiest way to achieve this is to use a
single agency to handle all elements of a particular campaign, everything from advertising
and sales promotion to direct mail and event promotion. But if that is not possible,
individual agencies must communicate with each other, either directly or through an
in-house liaison person. There is no way they can produce consistent, compatible messages
unless they have the same information about target audiences and strategic goals.
Foster teamwork. Marketing
integration requires close coordination between departments. A company based on integrated
marketing would never let the advertising department work in a vacuum: every department
that is involved with delivering a marketing promise has to be involved with its
formation. This means cross-functional meetings to develop strategy as well as camaraderie
and understanding between departments.
Be consistent, not conflicting, in
Consistency creates awareness, reinforces the message, and helps build your brand. But
conflicting messages are a quick way to confuse, and possibly lose, a customer.
Institute regular cross-functional
marketing not only involves all department heads in overall strategy development, but also
requires consistent interdepartmental communication to ensure that each group is doing its
part according to the plan or to identify unexpected problems.
Provide training. For employees
in one department to work in concert with others, they have to have a broad understanding
of all of the organizations functions and activities. On-site training, as well as
online training, can help heighten awareness among employees about how their own actions
and programs can affect the overall strategy and the other people involved with its
Monitor results across medium.
Market research should look not only at the overall impact of any one campaign on the
target audience, but also the role that each strategy played in achieving the results.
Research should determine not only whether the message was consistently delivered but also
whether the implied or explicit marketing promises were consistently executed at the point
of sale. Changes in tactics have to be based on results, not organizational turf battles.
Rethink compensation. Since
integrated marketing focuses on delivering results across the organization, incentive
programs require a link to achieving the organizational result, not simply the individual
or department goal. Look for strategies that place emphasis on overall results and
learning and thinking out-of-the-box... "The only sustainable competitive advantage a
company can have is the ability to learn faster than its competition."
Remy M. Mauduit
Books on Marketing
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