Integrated Marketing: A Marketer’s Primary Concern

According to a study done by the Association of National Advertisers, “achieving effective IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications) campaigns is a marketer’s primary concern.”

Bob Liodice, President of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), goes on to say, “Although 74% of firms we've surveyed say they are using IMC approaches for most or all of their brands, only 25% rated the quality of their IMC programs "excellent" or "very good" -- underscoring the need to identify best practices and address the barriers that can impede IMC efforts.”

The ANA and Mr. Liodice label the barriers to IMC as:

1. Strategic Consistency

“An IMC campaign should start with a compelling consumer insight that can be translated into a strong, differentiated marketing strategy. This leads to the development of a creative "brand idea" that drives each discipline's tactics.”

Simply put, this means that the message must be consistent across all customer touch points.

2. Common Measurement Process

“Although organizations have become more skilled in crunching numbers, there is no single, consistent set of metrics that transcends discipline-centric measurements.”

This is true for now; all metrics, whether they’re email open rates or website sale conversions, are being gathered by separate sets of systems. What we do at Loop is manually gather the data of the campaigns and organize it in a dashboard format for the client to see. Soon, metric companies will start to design applications that organize all marketing data into one integrated dashboard, but for the time being, we have to make do with manual gathering.

3. Functional Silos

“For too long, marketing functions have been vertically organized by media type. This “silo” approach is mirrored on the agency side, with rewards based on discipline-specific P&L models.”

What Bob is saying is that marketing spending has traditionally been arranged by the type of media to be purchased. Instead of taking an overall look at what the message is meant to say to all customers, we design the message based on the type of media in the budget. For example, if we need to talk about four product features, a TV or email message can mention them all; conversely, you can only fit so much onto an outdoor sign, so the message is altered in exchange for the type of media purchased.

4. Professional Skills

“Achieving strategic integration requires a top-to-bottom reinvention of the marketing organization. This transformation must be led by "renaissance marketers" -- a new breed of holistic professionals who are system thinkers, customer-centric believers, innovators, and dreamers.”

I think top-to-bottom reinvention can be a little drastic, but I do agree with an organizational change in marketing philosophy. In order for a company to truly achieve an integrated message, the company and all its directors must view the message from the customer’s perspective, and then tailor the distribution of the message based on an overall view of all customer touch-points.