The evidence is that successful Integrated Marketing overturns several very well-established marketing and communication assumptions, and constitutes a fresh, even revolutionary vision and an enhanced challenge for both marketing leaders and other senior executives, including the CEO.
Integrated Marketing provides systematic disciplines for a perennial vision of marketing. For example, the Uneeda launch in 1899 is a brilliant example of integrated marketing. Senior executive we interviewed provide consistent ambitions and share common difficulties.The ANA (American Association of National Advertisers) reported in June 2008 in The Advertiser that Integrated Marketing remains the nation's leading challenge. Wikipedia describes Integrated Marketing (IM) as "a management strategy and meta-discipline focused on the organisation-wide optimisation of unique value for stakeholders" (accessed Sept 8 2009).
However, in our work on Integrated Marketing we have pulled together many existing elements of best and emerging best practice for the first time. Indeed no formal discipline of ‘Integrated Marketing' has until recently existed in the academic or practitioner worlds, with the term often incorrectly applied to communications integration alone.
Marketing has evolved into a series of relatively independent tools with different planning and evaluation criteria. Integrated Marketing not only overcomes the fragmentation of the recognised marketing disciplines but it also draws on other disciplines such as lean management, knowledge management and organisation development. It is a natural progression of the effects of developing concepts of marketing planning such as IMC, 360 degree branding, relationship marketing and CRM on organisation change.
Integrated Marketing is a creative, human and business discipline that reduces or eliminates these divisions to ensure the brand is appropriately present and effectively communicating at all the important times in a customer's life in a way that provides value, creates sustainable profits and benefits shareholders and employees.
On this site you can read case studies, papers and view presentations that highlight the principles. Ask if you need special advice or briefing.
From fragmentation to wholeness
The need for Integrated Marketing derives from the enormously fragmented world of the modern large organisation and stakeholder experience, well documented by many business professionals and everyday experience.
By contrast, Integrated Marketing is an holistic discipline using the fractal concept of wholeness, where the whole is present in each part, as in DNA, to develop congruent, sustainable and high-value brand experience for all stakeholders.
In the case of Integrated Marketing, the starting point is core identity, and this is then articulated as strategy through the business model, products, brand, vision, cultural values and business evaluation (amongst others). It is also communicated in creative ways through marcoms and service/touch points.
We have developed planning and change tools to facilitate this. They include better ways of researching and implementing core identity using Stellar®, of planning, managing and evaluating communications - our Open Planning universal communications methodology - and of assessing your performance and improving it.
Our experience is that this is good for the brand and shareholders, for people engaged in the business and also for customers. Fragmentation is painful and costly. Any significant steps towards integration makes everything work better.
Integrated Marketing is therefore fundamentally positive and healthy for business: it is positive in attitude, and it is positive in its results. In this respect, it accords perfectly with the culture of marketing at its best.
Proven model of successful implementation - performance increases of 10%-25%
Our research amongst 200 UK senior marketers identified four sets of statistically robust operational competencies that drive customer experience and integrated marketing performance (competencies model), with six operational factors constituting 50% or customer experience (the BECAUSE factor). The four key competencies are:
- Living the Brand involves employee participation and an aligned value stream, as well as and culture-brand congruence.
- Customer knowledge management involves capturing distribution of information about customers.
- Marketing organisation concerns skills, structures and processes within the marketing function.
- Communications optimisation involves deeper understanding of customer groups, managing customers on a lifetime basis and a universal communication and planning framework.
Our research showed that most brands consider the there is significant opportunity for them to improve in their performance, with 80% or more rating their brands performance and scores equivalent to mediocre or worse in each category. The benefits of such an approach lead to more business at less cost because they create:
- Distinctive brand value - avoiding the commodity trap to establish a ‘category of one'
- Better brand recognition and image enhancement
- Increased customer and employee loyalty, with consequent financial effects
- Very significant general business and marketing cost-efficiencies deriving from better strategic information, improved processes and infrastructure, and reduced operational costs relative to effects
- Enhanced selection of media and disciplines (i.e. channels) with additional cost-efficiencies in contact cost and reach as well as increased communication effectiveness
- Media-multiplier effects, which leads to enhancements in communication power through synergies between communication channels when they work in harmony
- Enhanced management of customers over time and across contact points
- Enhanced employee commitment and alignment, with consequences for organisational performance and customer/donor experience
Radical new communication planning methods
The commonly practised use of different communication objectives and therefore evaluation criteria to the communication methods and media used arises systemically from a divisive approach to planning and evaluation. This is expensive and sub-optimal.
Much of the widely-publicised difficulty on planning and evaluating across media disappears when a unified approach is adopted. Our new recommended methods in Open Planning also enhance creative opportunities for all of the disciplines and their agencies.
Major brands like IBM, NSPCC, Vodafone, Mars, MindShare and others have successfully applied these techniques.