Today’s post is from Emily Griebel, an Integration Architect at McKee Wallwork & Company. Emily leads our Integration Architecture practice and is responsible for ensuring our clients’ marketing plans are seamlessly interwoven. If you’re interested in an audit of your marketing plan, you can reach her at EGriebel@mwcmail.com, or @MWCemily on Twitter.
What is a true integrated marketing plan?
“Integration” and “integrated marketing” are two popular (read: over-used) buzzwords in the marketing world these days. Agencies boast to prospects about how integrated and comprehensive their scope of services is (despite the fact that most of the time it leaves much to be desired). Client companies too often seek in vain for one agency that can serve all of their needs – brand strategy, advertising, digital, social, mobile, promotional, PR, etc. Through it all, the magic “integration” word gets tossed around like a rag doll in a clothes dryer.
But what does integrated marketing really mean? What does an integrated plan look like? How does it act? What are the requirements for a truly integrated program?
Every agency and every client company may answer these questions differently, because there is no one right answer; or said differently, there is no single answer that applies to every brand. That said, at McKee Wallwork & Company, we judge the success of an integrated campaign based on four criteria:
1. Objective – are all of your marketing communications serving the same business goal?
2. Breadth – are you reaching your target audience through each stage of the buying life cycle across multiple channels?
3. Connections – are your marketing tactics aligned and working together well?
4. Theme – do each of your messages demonstrate one central idea?
If you answered “no” to any of the above, then your marketing plans are probably not well-integrated. If, however, you answered “yes” to all four, then you are well on your way. You’ve found a way to hash through the marketing jungle and seed a program that, nourished properly, will produce an abundant crop.
In our experience, we’ve found that creating a seamlessly interwoven marketing plan that ensures unified encounters for your target across all media is very difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. It requires hard work, patience and discipline to create an integrated plan that is:
- Focused on meeting one, central business objective
- Cognizant of the stages and places at which your target may experience your brand
- Aware that every customer takes a unique journey with your brand and each leg of the journey must guide her to the correct destination
- Solely focused on bringing one idea to life
Every day we help our clients develop and maintain solid brand strategies and marketing plans that are truly integrated – meaning that their efforts are long-term, organized, purposeful, strategic, measurable and adaptable. It’s not easy, but when we nail the challenge it’s very rewarding–for them and us.