Integrated Marketing for Bigger Brands: 3 Keys for Success

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.

A 5 Step Strategy to Drive Your Content Currency

It all starts with a goal. Whether you seek to generate demand or brand awareness, grow your social networks or something else, an integrated content marketing strategy will be the key driver that will allow you to reach your desired state.

For many of us navigating the digital marketing landscape, developing compelling content takes time and money. Since these are resources many companies don’t have the luxury to afford, a sound strategy is worth its weight in gold.


  1. Determine your brand message.
    • Identify buyer personas and their business problems
    • Link company solutions to buyer problems
  1. Map out the buyer journey, ensuring a clear path to your goal.
    • Message -> content -> channel -> goal.
  1. Create and curate content. Create or repurpose compelling content assets that communicate the message in a variety of mediums, including:
    • White papers, datasheets
    • Flyers, brochures
    • Blog posts
    • Banner ads
    • Infographics
    • Videos
    • Slideshows
    • Email templates, newsletters, etc.
  1. Determine your channels and promotion timeline. Use an editorial calendar to assign team roles, responsibilities, and manage the promotion schedule.
    • Search (ppc/organic)
    • Email (automate and schedule)
    • Social (influencer marketing)
    • Events (hosted, third-party, webinars)
  1. Execute and report: Evaluate campaign performance, improve and repeat.
    • Engagement metrics
      • Search (cost per click, bounce rate, etc.)
      • Email (open rate, clicks, forwards, etc.)
      • Social (Likes, shares, mentions, etc.)
      • Events (Registrants, attendees, feedback, etc.)

Executed well, your content currency will be valued higher than your competitors and you’ll see a positive return on your marketing investment.

Questions, thoughts, or something I missed? Feel free to reach out.

The Channel Marketing Data Gap: Control Freaks Beware

The #1 question I ask people working in the channel: How are you able to let go of the control and let your partners determine your success?

For me, transitioning from a direct-to-channel marketing role has been an eye-opening experience. Where I was once crunching demand generation metrics and cost-per-MQL, I am now running adoption reports on partner enablement programs and new deal registrations. My once cut and dry monthly business reviews have been replaced by…something else. Yes, there is still a big shiny number involved (how many new partner deals were registered last month), but there are also many leading indicators that influence that number that we just don’t have access to.

Jim Lenskold sums it up nicely: “Reporting ROI is probably one of the bigger challenges because it’s more complex within the channel. There are multiple parties involved and each has different relationships with end buyers. The challenge is really about access to data because the partners have a good portion of the data in terms of whether they are generating leads or whether they’re managing the leads generated by the OEM.”


To someone who loves control, this is an unsettling realization. In a direct marketing role (where you do the marketing yourself) you would have access to your CRM, marketing automation platform, social monitoring tool and web analytics platform to easily collect the data relevant to determine your return or potential return on investment. In a channel marketing role (where you’re giving your partners the go-to-market tools on your behalf) you rely on them telling you, assuming they’re even collecting the data in the first place.

So how often does this happen? Think about it. If you have 20 partners in your program’s top tier and each partner is working with 20 other vendors, how likely is it you’ll have time to sit down with them for a marketing heart-to-heart? QBRs on the sales side happen all the time. How many deals were registered and opportunities won? Were they channel initiated or channel associated? But let’s look at the marketing side. When was the last time someone went to a partner and asked them how many hits they are seeing on the vendor showcase of the partner’s website? Or how many clicks they’re seeing on co-branded email campaigns? How many times has a vendor asked what they can be doing better to help drive those key demand generation metrics?

I’ve been told over and over (and over) again in my new channel marketing role that I don’t work in demand generation anymore. I work in partner enablement and demand generation doesn’t live here. I beg to differ:

CEO’s want sales.
Sales are influenced from demand.
Demand influences marketing plans.
Marketing plans influence partner enablement plans.

How do we know how to enable our partners if we aren’t looking at the right demand generation metrics from the partner’s perspective? How do we even know the partner is collecting the right ones and that they really understand the buyer’s journey for our product?

This is what I’m referring to as the Channel Marketing Data Gap. It’s big and real. We can run all the warm and fuzzy reports on increasing rates of partner program adoption but if we aren’t asking the partner what metrics they’re seeing from their demand generation efforts and what investments would help improve them, the reports have little value. At the end of the day, if we want to see success in our partner programs, we need to establish a feedback loop with the partner supported by shared data that will help us determine how to best determine the joint-marketing investments that will achieve the highest return.

I’m Back! Back in the Marketing Groove.

Six months ago I decided to quit my job. I’d been heading the marketing department for a quality training firm for over six years with no career advancement other than a title change I had given myself two years ago (Hello, Director! What’s next? VP? Queen of Marketing? Sure.). It was getting old and I was getting complacent– a situation that wasn’t fair to myself or the company I worked for.

I just wanted to feel alive again in my work. To feel like I could still learn and challenge myself to become a better person.

What could come next for a gal that felt like she had done and seen it all? Because that’s really what complacency is, isn’t it? Thinking you know it all. Sitting on the metaphorical couch eating bon-bons, nothing new to gain, getting fat off an easy situation.

We need challenges in our lives to stay engaged. To grow and learn. Last year, I had to run a marathon. The year before, I had to have a house. The year before was a baby. Before that, money. And travel, and toys and places and brands and the list goes on. An entire bucket list of things that I had to accomplish to continue feeling like I was in the groove and doing it.

Was it easy? No. I was poor and starting out just like everyone else. I lost my savings in the real estate market just like everyone else. The difference was that made me work harder. I wanted a better life so I worked multiple jobs, then got my MBA. I charged the tuition on my credit card. I didn’t complain, I got up and made it happen. Nothing was handed to me or I wouldn’t have wanted it in the first place. It’s the challenges that make life so rewarding.

This year my challenge was to feel excited about my career again. A fresh start, something new in the world of marketing. I took a horizontal leap into a new industry vertical- Data Storage. A multi-billion dollar industry I knew nothing about. As if that wasn’t enough, I took a leap into a new field of marketing as well- Channels. If someone asked me a year ago what Channel Marketing was I would have said it had something to do with Facebook or Twitter. Now I feel like I could write a book on reseller enablement programs, market development funds, SPIFFs, co-branding and content syndication.

This year has been a humbling experience for me. All of a sudden, what felt like the entire world of marketing knowledge only proved to be a fraction of the whole picture. The old knowledge is still there, but I’m applying it to a different industry in a different way with a different goal. And it hasn’t been easy. There are days I feel like quitting. But what keeps me going is that I chose this. I needed this to become a better person and feel alive again.

I hope to know it all one day before I die. But I’m not there yet and still have a lot to learn. In the meantime, I can confidently say I’m back in the groove, scared shitless and alive (with a old Kiss tune lodged in my head).

3 Steps to Building a Marketing Plan

Looking to develop a marketing plan? I was working on this slide deck for another project and thought I’d share it in case anyone else might find it useful.

A simple, 3-step process to building a marketing plan that meets your organizational goals & objectives:









The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Marketers

Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits is renowned by strategic management educators and advisors as the bible for success- in business, relationships and life in general. If you’ve ever attended business school you’re likely to have studied the book at great length.

I recently stumbled across some of my old MBA coursework and was interested to find a nice summary of Covey’s habits I’d written for a Changing Environments of Business project. Reading through each habit, it struck me how applicable they are to my career in the field of marketing, so much so that I decided to put together a list of Covey’s seven habits with my interpretation of each.

So without avail, here is my interpretation of Covey’s habits, which I’ve dubbed “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Marketers:”


#1 – Be proactive

Covey’s Explanation: We are responsible for our own lives and decisions. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.

The Marketing Explanation: Working in the field of marketing requires you to be flexible and adaptive to constant change. As I’ve blogged before, we as marketers need to proactively keep pace with new tools and features to help automate our processes.


#2 – Begin with the end in mind

Covey’s Explanation:

All things are created twice: first in our minds, then brought into physical existence. The purpose behind beginning with the end in mind is to develop a mission, which will help one focus on what they want to be and do.

The Marketing Explanation: Before we begin new projects, we need to ask ourselves “what is the goal?” So many times I’ve seen people get caught up on new tools, media and channels and forget to ask themselves why they need them in the first place. Are you trying to achieve more leads? Increased brand awareness? Understanding the goal will help you determine your strategy, the course of action and what your next steps are.


#3 – Put things first

Covey’s Explanation: Personal management honors integrity and our ability to make and keep commitments to ourselves.  In order for us to control our impulses and moods with respect to our values, we must be able to say “yes” to some things, and “no” to others.

The Marketing Explanation: Analytics… you can get caught up in them for days. Learning how to interpret the data you’re collecting is paramount to determining where your priorities are as a marketer. Where’s your highest ROI? PPC? Email? Covey’s #3 habit of personal management allows us to practice identifying our activities with the highest return and take the needed steps to prioritize around them.


#4 – Think win-win

Covey’s Explanation:  Seek a mutual benefit in social interactions. Character is the foundation, relationships are the focus.

The Marketing Explanation: Life is all about partnerships. What’s in it for me? What’s in it for you? How can we both use our strengths to accomplish our goals? Covey’s #4 habit reminds us of the importance of authenticity in our social relationships and how to build equity within them, so that when we need a favor in return, it is given without question. In short, be real about it. It is an etiquette we need to abide by which is especially true for Twitter and other networks largely used for influencer marketing.


#5 – Seek to understand to be understood

Covey’s Explanation: We should first take the time to deeply understand the problems presented to us. When we understand each other, our differences are no longer roadblocks to communication and progress. We open the door to creative solutions and alternatives.

The Marketing Explanation: Great marketing is all about great listening. We listen first, talk later. Having a deep understanding of our customer and clients can help us to better frame our solutions around their goals and create products that better meet the needs of the end user.


#6 – The importance of creative cooperation

Covey’s Explanation: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The Marketing Explanation: I think this one goes without saying: collective knowledge reigns supreme in the world of marketing. With all the constant changes in technology, we need to rely on our groups, forums, communities for advice and support. My organization recently held a Sales Kickoff and gathered 50+ of the best marketing genius in the tech world and I was grateful to have the opportunity to learn from each one of them. Having recently come from a “mom and pop” shop, it was great to have the right people to bounce ideas back and forth with and engage in friendly dialogue while brainstorming new marketing strategies.


#7 – Take a proactive approach to self-renewal

Covey’s Explanation: Take time to proactively renew the four dimensions of your nature – physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional so that you can work more quickly and effortlessly.

The Marketing Explanation: This habit may have come last for Covey, but always comes first in my daily regime. It’s important to not get burnt out on your work. Whether it is through pamper or play, we need to allow ourselves the time to detox, pause and reflect on where our days have taken us, and always remember the larger picture in meeting our goals as marketers, spouses, parents and people we’ve become.


The world isn’t perfect and people are certainly not either, but in my experience, keeping these habits in mind (whether I knew it at the time or not) has helped me to become the person and professional I am today. And while I still have a lot of work to get where I want to be, I truly believe this is a great blueprint to lead me there.

Continuous Learning for Social Media Marketers: Have you watered your social lawn lately?

When I hear the word “continuing education,” I usually think of a doctor, teacher or lawyer. Someone with a license to practice a profession who needs to maintain a level of CEUs to keep abreast of what’s changed in their profession. And there’s a whole market of training firms and event planners that cater to these individuals with cookie-cutter training programs and test prep courses.

In the field of social media marketing, however, I feel like the rules for staying on the pulse of things are different. Actually, on that point, there really aren’t any rules… despite new social platforms and automation tools sprouting up like weeds in a flowerbed. And it’s not hard to see why:

Needless to say, we’re all officially addicted to our devices and online marketing will be here awhile. But how are we as professionals keeping on top of it all?

Yes, we have conferences. And workshops. And webinars. And plenty of social media “universities” that claim to certify you as an expert. But what happens a month later when Facebook launches a new algorithm, or Linkedin limits their group sharing features, or all your nifty Twitter follower tools get banned? It doesn’t bear much clout if you can’t walk the walk anymore. So who’s going to keep us on our feet?

If you’ve got it set up correctly, Twitter can provide an amazing stream of group consciousness, as well as Google News. The trick is following the right topics and influencers. Also, sites such as SocialMediaToday, Mashable, Forbes and HuffingtonPost are a great place to start. Have a question, Google it. Want to get more involved? Join a group or forum. The issue lies not with the amount of content, but how to find the right sources.

Remember, change is the only constant.

While it may feel like more of the “same old,” I have a word of caution: Don’t underestimate the speed of change in our industry. While the strategy is the same the technology is fickle… tools and platforms are continually evolving. We all want to have the greenest grass, the best online footprint, a stellar portfolio and project success stories. And the first step in doing that is knowing the latest tricks of the trade. This is not an annual or semi-annual professional development initiative, it’s daily regimen that demands us to watch, listen and learn from the people who are making these changes happen. Find out what other marketers are doing and how you can apply it, and remember: