The Planning Disconnect: Building an Integrated Marketing Strategy

Written by: Patrick Kilgore on 5/2/17 1:44 PM

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In theory, a marketing department is one entity, with each part working for the good of the whole. In practice, the different parts of the marketing team are often largely disconnected from one another and focused on their own work and goals – whether or not they line up with those of their team.

The bigger a company’s marketing department gets, the more that kind of disconnect becomes the norm. Enterprise marketing organizations often get used to that disconnect as a part of life, even though it could be hurting your end results and the consistency of your customer experience.

The Research Is Clear

In fact, research makes a pretty clear point that the companies that don’t make integration a priority will lag behind those that do.  The value of having an integrated marketing strategy was one of the biggest takeaways of the 2016 State of Marketing report.

The report shows that:

  • Successful marketers are 3.2 times as likely to say they’ve integrated social media into their overall strategy.
  • They’re 3.4 times more likely to be integrating email marketing into their overall strategy.
  • And they’re 5 times as likely to be doing so for mobile marketing as well.
  • 95% of the companies that are combining all their marketing channels into one integrated marketing strategy say doing so is working.
  • 64% of high-performing marketing teams say they’ve successfully integrated their business systems to create a single view of the customer, in contrast to the 4% of underperforming teams that have done so.

Obviously, taking the time to bring your different marketing teams together to create and implement an integrated marketing strategy is worth it.

How to Create and Implement an Integrated Marketing Strategy

Knowing you should do it is one thing, figuring out how to make it happen is another entirely. The biggest (and potentially most difficult) step you need to take is one of mentality: everyone has to be on board with the importance of working together to enhance the end-to-end journey. If you can make the case to your different teams and departments, the most important step will be done.

  1. Start with the marketing department.

Start by bringing the whole marketing department together. That might not mean getting everyone into one room together (at many enterprise organizations that would be impossible), but work to get everyone on the same page by:

  • Developing shared goals. Have the marketing departments work together to establish high-level goals that everyone can play a role in working toward. Each department can then work to break those down into department-level programs and campaigns with the knowledge that their focus will still match up with the larger, organizational goals.
  • Use technology to stay connected. You need an effective way to tap into each other’s marketing plans and campaigns to make sure they all work together. Tech has an important role to play in that. It can link up your different campaigns, show you how the timelines relate, and help everyone keep their different work in sync.
  • Schedule regular meetings between department representatives. Make sure everyone maintains the connection you’ve developed by continuing to check in with regularity to discuss the progress that’s been made and any potential changes it might be worth making to the integrated strategy as you go.

This won’t all be easy, but once it’s done you’ll likely find that the results improve for all departments and you’ll provide a superior experience to your customers as well. Programs and marketing touches will feel more seamless—from top of funnel adtech to nurture programs and beyond.

  1. Move toward working with other departments.

Once you’ve pulled integration off within your marketing department, repeat the same steps to bring greater integration between marketing and other customer-facing departments. Sales and marketing have every reason to work together – when the two departments share knowledge, both teams are able to understand your prospects better and provide more carefully tailored approaches that satisfy their needs.

But don’t forget customer service. They know your customers better than anyone and your customers are some of your most important leads and marketing resources. Integrating your marketing strategy with both sales and customer service ensures everyone has more useful information about your customers and is actively working toward the same clear goals.

  1. Connect all your tech.

Sales and customer service tend to have their own go-to tech products that they use every day. To achieve successful integration with them, you want to make sure that all your products are compatible and can pull relevant information from each other into the different views you each see every day.

In some cases, tech orchestration works best if you use technology designed specifically to help connect different tools to one another. We actually covered this topic in a recent webinar; check it out if you want to learn more about using tech orchestration to bring your different departments together.

  1. Check in regularly.

How many projects have you been involved in that had great intentions in the beginning, but ultimately fell apart because you didn’t have a plan for maintaining them over time? Implementing an integrated marketing strategy in the long term takes more than good intentions on day one. You need to make point of including ongoing, living plans for checking in with the other teams and departments in your strategy so you’re all better able to stay on top of working together.

An integrated marketing strategy gives you a competitive advantage because you’ll know every piece of marketing your team creates is carefully designed to support every other piece of marketing you develop. Your customers will gain a unified experience of the company and will be more likely to follow one interaction with your company with another. And you’ll see the difference in your results. It takes some work, but it’s work worth doing.

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Topics: Marketing Planning, Hive9, B2B, marketing strategy