According to the U.S. Census Bureau, America will become “minority white” in 2045. If one were to include the LGBTQ, mixed marriages, and other minority communities, this integration of races and groups will occur even sooner. So why shouldn’t integration be any different when it comes to marketing?
Diversity in population has also been occurring in the marketplace. Between channels, products and markets, it’s become more and more challenging to target and connect with customers. Many silos still stand in companies while other marketers are trying to cope with smaller budgets.
The signs of benefits of integrated marketing are here. Companies that are able to incorporate four or more digital channels will outpace companies employing only one or two-channels by 300% according to global research firm Gartner. A competitor, Kantar Millward Brown, reported that integrated operations outpace those that aren’t by 31%.
What’s equally critical for companies weighing the decision to integrate is that integration can also transform the marketing department into a profit center, as opposed to the cost center that it currently is at many companies. Companies employing integrated marketing also experience improved efficiency and performance.
Two of the keys in moving toward integrated marketing and breaking down the internal silos are collaboration and shared ownership. The first step is obvious. A company’s leadership needs to commit to the change and let its decision be known to all employees and departments.
Next is a SWOT analysis of the company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This must be done by representatives from every department that will be a part of the new plan.
An audit of what’s currently being used for marketing tech would also be helpful. Can data gathered for content, event, and customer relationship stewardship, measurement, and automation be integrated? If not, what would make this viable so it can be readily shared with people and departments that need to be engaged?
A think tank bringing together all the stakeholders and using the results from the SWOT analysis should then be held. The key takeaways would be an action plan, timelines, and major priorities.
Next up would be a brand review by all departments engaged in this effort. That would be followed by collectively deciding how the collected information will be shared.
Areas that need to be investigated and considered include campaign themes, brand values, customer stages, content pillars, and the markets. Collaboration between departments then needs to start in planning a coordinated marketing campaign and in setting measurable goals.
As a company’s teams and departments move forward together with their data collection, analysis and marketing, establishing program benchmarks will be extremely helpful. It can help teams move from the question of how long it’s taking to generate data to how long it should take.
Other questions that should be addressed are the number of functions being duplicated or repeated and any barriers encountered.
As teams and departments learn how to better collaborate and work together, operational efficiency will improve. But keep in mind that as more departments jump aboard, the onboarding process may stall progress momentarily before regaining momentum and working toward the common goal.