Why Integrated Marketing Doesn't Work (and How to Fix It)

Debra Ellis President, Wilson & Ellis Consulting

Posted on October 18th 2013

Why Integrated Marketing Doesn't Work (and How to Fix It)

Are management issues keeping your integrated marketing campaigns from working?

Integrated marketing campaigns begin with internal operations

Today’s multichannel marketplace requires marketing campaigns that cross channels and platforms with ease. The messages that attract prospects and engage customers need to be targeted and consistent. Ideally, they move people from observation to active engagement in the buying process. The need for integrated marketing is established. Why is it almost impossible to find examples of companies doing it well?

Integrated marketing campaigns are starting in the wrong place.

The best marketing fails without processes, systems, and service to support it. Marketing teams try to connect the dots between advertising, email, direct mail, social, mobile, and every other channel or platform with the company’s presence. Herding cats is easier because every touchpoint has unique characteristics that have to be accommodated to work.

Designing a successful integrated marketing campaign requires in-depth knowledge of how everything works. Marketers tend to be department and channel specialists. Marketing integration requires general practitioners that are channel agnostic and seek interdepartmental cooperation. One person doesn’t have to know it all. A team approach works well if it includes members that have the required knowledge and the willingness to cooperate with each other.

Customer experience determines relationship quality and drives long-term success. Experiences begin with marketing and end with consumption. Every component has to revolve around the customer. A good experience encourages people to come back for more. Marketing has to start with consumption and work backwards to create successful integrated campaigns. This requires participation from customer service, product development (or merchandising), IT, and public relations. Simply put, marketing teams need to include representation from other departments. Integrated marketing begins with departmental integration.

Speaking of herding cats…

If the idea of interdepartmental meetings makes you cringe, rest assured that you are not alone. Most companies have an established pattern of departmental sibling rivalry. Before the marketplace expanded into a multitude of channels, in-fighting slowed growth. Now, it derails both growth and profitability. Everyone in the company has to work together to create better customer experiences at lower costs. Internal “us against them” attitudes have to become “our company against the world” challenges.

Before planning the next integrated marketing campaign, seek some interdepartmental cooperation. Advance planning will help keep your meetings productive. Here are some do’s and don’ts to get you started:

Do start at the top. The executive team has to lead by example. If the leaders of the company are adversaries, how can anyone expect the employees to work together?

Don’t let past issues interfere with current objectives. Instead of rehashing old issues, create an environment where people work together to resolve them. Pointing fingers don’t solve problems.

Do mend fences. Be the first to reach across the aisle and offer peace. When someone starts, it is easier for others to follow.

Don’t let hurts or slights fester. Changing behavior isn’t easy. When people fall back into old patterns, address it immediately. Lingering issues spoil future opportunities.

Do focus on the future. Keep everyone looking at where the company is going instead of wallowing in the past. If necessary, bring in outside help to get over unresolved issues.

Don’t forget to celebrate. Small wins lead to bigger ones. Celebrate when things start falling into place and people will work harder to make it happen more often.


Debra Ellis

President, Wilson & Ellis Consulting

Debra Ellis is a business consultant, author, and speaker. She specializes in showing companies how to improve customer acquisition and retention using integrated marketing and service strategies. Her latest marketing guide, 31 Ways to Supercharge Your Email Marketing, is a practical resource for marketers seeking better results with minimal investment. Her engineering background provides statistical insight to finding actionable data that can be used to grow companies and reduce costs.

She is recognized as an expert in marketing from direct mail to social media, customer behavior, and strategic planning. Her expertise is often tapped by media sources including: The New York Times, CNN/Money.com’s Small Business Makeovers, Target Marketing, Multichannel Merchant, and MarketingProfs.

Her marketing guides include 31 Ways to Supercharge Your Email Marketing, Social Media 4 Direct Marketers, and Marketing to the Customer Lifecycle.

Debra loves the art and science of multichannel marketing. She is a student and teacher of the methods that transform shoppers into buyers and buyers into lifelong customers. In 1995, she founded Wilson & Ellis Consulting, a boutique firm specializing in creating strategies that make channels and departments work together to optimize the customer experience. Since then, she has worked with over a hundred distinguished clients such as Costco, Edmund Scientifics, Jacuzzi, Ross-Simons Jewelry, and The Body Shop.

Prior to founding her firm, Debra was instrumental in the record growth of Ballard Designs, Inc. while serving as Chief Operating Officer. Today, she uses her experience and expertise to show executives how to successfully navigate marketing channels and integrate activities to profitably grow their business. Her practical approach maximizes the return on investment.

She can be reached via email at dellis@wilsonellisconsulting.com. She blogs at http://multichannelmagic.com/blog

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Integrated Marketing