Integrated Marketing as a Strategic Priority

Word on the street’s Twitter has a new advertising product that enables marketers to promote Tweets to individual email addresses and Twitter IDs stored in their own CRM databases. Advertisers can even get more granular and target users who are loyalty program members or email subscribers in addition to cookie-based targeting of users who’ve hit your website.

This is just one example of the ever increasing need for integrated marketing strategies that tie together cross-channel data, facilitate cross-channel marketing and content delivery, provide a single-view of the customer, support accurate customer journey analysis and enable real-time analytics and personalization.

When data from mobile apps, social listening tools, in-store BLE (Bluetooth Light Engergy) sensors, personalization engines, Web analytics, marketing campaigns and email marketing don’t mesh, it’s harder to truly understand customer behavior and marketing performance. This can result in poorer decisions, poorer customer experience and lower sales.

Companies whose web analytics data is managed through a single platform, for example, report higher confidence in and understanding of their data than those with disparate data sources.

Integrated marketing aids:

  • Understanding of the customer journey, incorporating as much context as possible across interaction touchpoints
  • Development of personas and customer segments and their strategies
  • Real time personalization and delivery of content
  • Warehousing of data and exporting to new applications
  • A seamless experience across devices

It’s easier said than done, and research by Adobe and Econsultancy found only 12% of companies and 9% of agencies take an integrated approach to marketing – though the majority do have some degree of integration (for example, A/B testing tools integrated with personalization tools and web analytics).

As with many digital business initiatives, the main roadblocks to achieving marketing integration are people (organizational structure and culture) and technology.

Organisational culture and structure

It’s not surprising that the top critical success factor is a customer-centric culture. If your organization is not radically concerned about the customer experience, you’re less likely to invest in the required technologies or restructure the company in support of an integrated marketing strategy. Senior-level buy-in is easier to get when the culture believes in the vision.

Many organizations have siloed marketing teams and campaigns, which presents a challenge, even with the right technologies on board.

Data and people

Lack of data is rarely a problem, lack of insights is. Tools can crunch and spit data – and even connect data, crunch and spit with appropriate integrated marketing tools, but it comes down to the right analysis and application of data, which requires – talent. Integrated marketing fails without great analysts, but great analysts can underperform when disparate data is hard to work with.

Technology

It’s common for an organization’s marketing technology to be a collection of point solutions. While these solutions can be added and swapped in and swapped out as best-of-breed changes, they require extensive integration, and are not always well integrated, though increased use of APIs has made integration easier, as does Multichannel Campaign Management software.

Integrated marketing as a strategic priority

Despite the challenges, many organizations report plans to integrate at least some of their marketing tools within the next 18 months.

The most cited reason for prioritizing integrated marketing is to improve customer experience. While this is a critical part of online business, the authors remind us “it’s an enabler of revenue, not the end goal. To this point, companies who clearly understand their digital ROI are more than 40% more likely to make integrated marketing a high priority.

Channels in Concert: Trends in Integrated Marketing (December, 2013) is available from Econsultancy.


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