According to a global survey of marketing decision-makers recently conducted by Forrester research, 97% of responders indicated they had seen an improvement in revenue that could be attributed to marketing activities.
40% of these same respondents indicated that improvement was greater than 15% in some specific areas:
The Forrester study respondents held a number of common beliefs about the value of an integrated marketing strategy.
Here is a summary of some of the observations:
Many of you may not find the results of this survey all that surprising. So why is it that something so seemingly obvious is so difficult?
Organizational structure is quite often a significant problem. Most companies are structured by function, and as a result these functions can act as silos. Silos can serve as barriers to collaboration, cooperation and communication. Most of the time employee incentives are designed to reward behavior within a specific proficiency. I am not suggesting this is wrong, just pointing out that it can contribute to unwanted territorial behavior.
Marketing plans that lack an integrated strategy tend to deploy the same message across all channels, or worse, different messages and offers for each channel. Both approaches contribute to an inconsistent customer experience. Add to the mix poor communication between groups, and you have the recipe for an inconsistent customer experience.
Inadequate technology hinders an integrated solution because relevant information about customers and their behavior is the cornerstone of any sound integrated marketing strategy. 64% of mature multi-channel survey respondents indicated they try to exploit technology. I talk about the necessity of customer profile here in regards to Starbucks and marketing.
If I were one of the 6 executives who said their companies needed to rethink how they service their customers here is what I would do:
Create a plan. In order to be successful, an integrated approach requires a well thought-out strategy. This strategy requires a thorough understanding of the target consumer. For example:
Who are they?
How do they buy?
How do they use media? What type of media?
How do they use your product or service?
Develop a customer touch point map that identifies all points of contact. This should include service as well as sales. Use the map to create a better understanding to the customer’s buying journey.
Establish an environment that creates alignment. Communicate internally, especially to any staff that interacts directly with the customer. Actively solicit feedback and input from these stakeholders. Ensure every effort is made to motivate them to “buy in” to delivering the optimum customer experience at all touch points.
Encourage collaboration. If appropriate, form cross functional teams to facilitate the open exchange of information and problems. Use this opportunity to keep the organization focused on addressing consumer needs.
Provide the right tools. Facilitate cooperation between marketing, IT and customer service. Integrated marketing is most effective when the organization is connected internally and armed with relevant information to allow employees access to pertinent information that will allow them to provide the right product or service, an appropriate response to a question, or capture feedback, all at the right time.
Integrated marketing requires discipline, direction and leadership that will ensure the proper environment where customer centric values can flourish.
What are other ways to ensure integrated marketing success?