When’s the last time you heard someone say “Hey, let’s run a disjointed marketing campaign?” Not recently I hope. Most everyone in the company can understand the benefit of aligning marketing efforts across the enterprise. Purely integrated marketing campaigns can reach multiple channels, solutions and cross-functional goals. By leveraging shared strategies and resources as a unified system, organizations can better reach their marketing goals using less resources with fewer customer touch-points.
However, depending on your company size, integrated marketing is easier said than done. Working on my first integrated campaign for a larger brand, I learned quickly that a few “unwavering truths” exist in big companies versus smaller ones:
It takes more time than you think it will.
It costs more money than you think it will.
While large brands and enterprises have more resources and economies of scale to leverage, they also require more teamwork and alignment to execute well. Personal agendas and miscommunications can run rampant and threaten the success of even the best planned campaign. You may have originally been tasked to direct a simple integrated campaign, but it now feels like you’re orchestrating a cattle herd.
While the cause of misalignment among campaign teams can vary, one thing is certain after time: when deadlines slip and messages are misunderstood, operating in the old “marketing silo” begins to look really appealing again.
Fret not, though. Before you jump back into the marketing mind frame of “I can handle this campaign myself,” there are a few tips that can help steer your integrated efforts back on track:
Tip #1: There’s an “I” in Integrate
While there’s no “I” in Team, the letter is foundational to the word Integrate. I firmly believe that to truly integrate your marketing efforts and align a team to execute a campaign, there needs to be a strong leader to support it. Hint: Campaign Director: That’s you. So saddle up, be a leader, and take ownership.
Tip #2: Align Teams on Goals
“What’s in it for me?”
“How does this help me?”
“What does this have to do with my job?”
Sound familiar? Goal alignment is crucial to aligning teams on the benefits of your campaign. You can have the most solid campaign plan, but without the team to support it, you may as well toss your presentation to the birds. Understanding the needs and goals of your team and stakeholders before you begin planning helps you clearly convey the benefits and communicate how your campaign goals align with theirs. The ability to hit their pain points and speak their language helps foster support and rally your cause.
Tip #3: The Power of Cohesive Communication
“I didn’t know about this.”
“I wasn’t involved.”
“I don’t understand.”
Integrated campaigns are executed with solid teamwork and communication. Communication doesn’t happen naturally- it must be thoughtfully initiated, planned and inclusive of your campaign’s stakeholders. Remember, your teams are busy. While the integrated campaign may be your #1 priority, it may be the Creative Director’s #5 or #6. Each meeting you add to the calendar needs to be thoughtfully coordinated with the right team members, with an agenda that communicates why that person is critical in the meeting and their stake in forward progress.
While the definition of “integrated marketing” varies by company and 100% pure integrated marketing may never exist for yours, running a successful integrated campaign is definitely within your reach. Brands like Coca-cola, Apple and Dove have been doing it for years. It all comes down to alignment, communication and good leadership. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to rope a wild cat every now and then.