What is Integrated Marketing?

action and performance analytics
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Updated September 18th, 2021

As a phrase and buzzword, integrated marketing isn’t new.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not as important as ever.

The growing number of touchpoints in the customer experience journey means that all marketing campaigns need to be integrated marketing campaigns.

But it has reached critical importance now due to compounding industry challenges, alongside advancements in marketing technology that have made it easier to break down organizational silos.

The proliferation of marketing channels has led to consumers being bombarded with messages and content — standing out in a sea of content requires strong strategy and consistent messaging across the user journey.

What is Integrated Marketing?

Integrated marketing is the process of delivering a consistent and relevant brand experience to your target audience across all marketing channels.

It is often used interchangeably with IMC (integrated marketing communications), 360-degree campaigns, and omnichannel marketing — although there’s some nuance between the terms.

Often, successful integrated marketing campaigns encompass channels and tactics such as:

  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Quora, Reddit, etc.)
  • Public Relations
  • Case studies
  • Digital media
  • Influencer marketing
  • Paid Search
  • SEO
  • Press releases
  • Direct marketing

Taking an integrated marketing approach to binding these different channels together maximizes a brand’s chances for success and recall.

More channels means greater brand awareness.

Which leads to increased share of mind.

Which ultimately leads to purchases.

Which results in brand loyalty.

The result? A consistent, customer-centric experience that delivers results for your brand.

Why is an Integrated Marketing Strategy Effective?

Let’s say a customer is interested in buying a new bike.

Unless they have a close pal who’s a cycle guru, they’re likely going to start by hitting up a search engine and entering a basic search. The research process has now begun.

Out of all the paths this future cyclist will encounter, the purchase cycle (sorry) is, by far, the most treacherous.

They’re going to come across all types of online properties like:

  • Company websites
  • Review sites
  • Social profiles
  • Blogs

And now that they’ve visited all of these pages, they’re going to see retargeted ads.

This is why it’s so important to have an integrated marketing strategy in place.

Whichever bicycle the customer chooses, it’s likely they’ll interact with that brand nearly a dozen times across several marketing channels before making a purchase.

So, not only does integrated marketing strategy lead to conversions, it also materializes ROI in three ways:

  1. Improves marketing-influenced revenue and boosts performance on KPIs.
  2. Builds equity with consistent, governed brand messaging across all touchpoints.
  3. Improves operational efficiency and team agility, reducing waste from duplication and lack of central visibility.

What are Some Integrated Marketing Statistics that Prove its Value?

If you need to build a business case for creating an integrated marketing team, here is some valuable research:

Change management is needed at marketing organizations.

  • Just 14% of organizations rate themselves as “advanced” in operations (SiriusDecisions “State of B2B Content Study”)
  • Almost half (45%) of marketers feel they lack the necessary talent, technology, and processes to master omnichannel brand marketing (CMO Council)
  • Only 1% of marketers believe they are delivering a consistent, personalized and contextually relevant experience across traditional and digital channels (CMO Council)
  • In a survey of 1,000 marketers worldwide by Rakuten Marketing, respondents estimated they waste an average of 26% of their budgets for marketing campaigns on ineffective channels and strategies

There’s a strong business case for improving cross-functional team collaboration.

Breaking down technology silos improves the customer experience.

  • Marketers who are classified as “integrators”—those who have united data and creativity—grow their revenues at twice the average rate of S&P 500 companies: at least 10 percent annually versus 5 percent (McKinsey)
  • “Leading marketers” (business leaders who significantly exceeded their top business goals in 2016) indicate that “support from the top and a clear data and analytics strategy” have been critical to their success (Econsultancy and Google study)

Integrated marketing drives better-performing campaigns.

What Does an Integrated Marketing Communications Team Look Like?

You need to build an integrated marketing team before your brand can deliver a truly integrated customer experience.

Many marketing teams are structured around specific channels, rather than having a more agile approach and emphasizing the holistic customer experience.

The rise of “digital marketing” fragmented not only the agency landscape but the marketing function.

Back in the day, we had a television and a newspaper, then we moved into the digital era which saw us split teams between digital and out-of-home channels. Mobile was separated out (at least briefly) at many organizations and paid social media responsibilities often rest with yet another team.

These modern (read: siloed) marketing teams are not set up for integrated marketing success. There are so many situations where internal teams inherently clash, including competition for budgets, attribution, ideas, and glory.

There’s a belief that a culture of healthy competition fosters creative ideas, but the “team of teams” model has repeatedly demonstrated that a culture of collaboration is more effective at producing creative results and also sets a team up for long-term success.

Integrated marketing organizations prioritize personalization and the customer experience above internal competition and one-way, one-size-fits-all customer communication. Building an integrated marketing organization requires building a culture of collaboration.

ADEPT Framework

Welcome developed the ADEPT framework for building an integrated marketing organization, and it can help you identify gaps in your teams and strategies.

The five capabilities of ADEPT (alignment, design, execution, process, and technology) were developed from third-party analyst insights, over a decade of fieldwork with customers, and our in-house team of marketing experts.

  • Alignment: Internal alignment is essential to success because integrated marketing requires breaking down silos and increased cross-functional collaboration. This goes beyond executive sponsorship; you need active participation with change management, budgetary support, and governance.
  • Design: Examine your planning model. Are teams collaborating to prioritize key themes across different marketing disciplines? Is there a shared calendar view of all activities that tie into key campaigns? And is there a documented marketing taxonomy and a shared language?
  • Execution: The execution element looks at the rigor of following through on your plan, processes, and guidelines. Is your team delivering on time and at scale? Is there an adherence to best practices relating to tagging assets appropriately to metadata and taxonomy, auditing for relevancy and redundancies? Agile marketing methodologies often come into play here.
  • Process: The process element delves into the workflows that guide your marketing execution, specifically how sophisticated and complete these workflows are and whether they are documented. Do your workflows take into account different asset types and approvals as well as compliance and localization?
  • Technology: The criteria for technology relate to whether your brand has adopted a secure and flexible planning technology solution for long-term collaboration that includes automation intelligence. Is there a clear line of sight across content ideation, pitching, planning, production, publishing, distribution, optimization, and measurement? Ultimately, technology should help accelerate execution, build on desired team behaviors such as collaboration and integrated planning, and aid in measuring integrated marketing outcomes. This also includes flexible reporting on campaign, content, and operational performance.

Your organization may have some or all of the five ADEPT capabilities. The important thing is to document and prioritize your gap areas while understanding this is not a linear model. You may have alignment and technology in place but slip in execution and design, or vice versa. You can begin to benchmark your organization with Welcome’s Integrated Marketing Maturity Assessment.

What are the Warning Signs that a Marketing Organization is not Integrated?

There are some pretty clear signs that your organization is failing to use integrated marketing best practices:

  • No clear integrated campaign framework
  • Duplication of efforts leading to content waste
  • Role confusion leading to a lack of accountability
  • Business goals are not aligned with your marketing investments
  • Your technology setup is not supporting collaborative efforts
  • No central place to store or access content
  • The marketing end-to-end process is not visible
  • Delays in deployment and publishing
  • Fragmented or disjointed customer journey

As a byproduct of competing priorities and pressure to be first to market, most enterprises suffer from one or more of these symptoms. Even teams proactively trying to solve these issues often have difficulty getting traction because of deeply ingrained organizational silos.

How Do I Build an Integrated Marketing Tech Stack?

Your martech stack is as unique as the products you’re selling or the services you’re offering.

Choosing which software and apps to incorporate into your stack takes a lot of time and patience, and will likely require a bit of trial and error.

We recommend using the “cry once” model.

When you see what the pricing model of that software is going to do to your marketing budget, you’re going to cry.

But you’ll only cry once because the software is going to solve all your other problems.

As opposed to crying multiple times when you still purchase expensive software, but realize over the course of several weeks/months that it was the wrong move.

Evaluation

When evaluating where to begin, the best place to start is with stakeholder surveys and mapping your tech stacks across silos and teams. You can then begin to bucket your martech stack into functional categories.

The primary goal of building an integrated tech stack is centralized visibility into customer data and experience. Here are some common martech categories for organizations looking to build out integrated teams and measure integrated marketing outcomes:

  1. Lead management or multichannel marketing: e.g., Oracle Eloqua, Pardot, and HubSpot.
  2. Marketing analytics: e.g., Google Analytics, and Coremetrics.
  3. CRM systems: e.g., Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and SugarCRM.
  4. Sales enablement: e.g., Brainshark, Highspot, and Seismic.
  5. SEO or content intelligence tools: e.g., BrightEdge, BuzzSumo, SEMRush, and seoClarity.
  6. Social media publishing: e.g., Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sis-o-mos.

If building a martech stack seems daunting, that’s because it is.

Which is why marketers find it substantially easier to use Welcome to handle all the heavy lifting of martech integrations.

Instead of figuring out how to weave all these solutions together, Welcome brings all your martech systems together with an all-in-one platform that integrates with all of your most important software to create a seamless workspace for all marketing teams.

Additional integrated marketing resources:

Done reading and ready to try Welcome?

Welcome’s marketing orchestration software is free for up to 5 users, so grab 4 of your closest marketing buds and see what we’re all about.