The Benefits of Integration
Let’s start with a little math...
Without Marketing integration
1+1+1+1+1+1 = 6
With Marketing Integration
1+4+1+6+1+5 = 18
Consider the first equation defining a typical marketing communication effort. The sum is a predetermined result with little excitement and even less of a stunning impact and most likely a low or no ROI. Six single steps equal an expected result of 6.
Consider the second equation as defining a typical marketing communication effort where the sum is highly impacted by the change of the equation components. Now, the six steps total three times the "end" number — not by adding three times the steps, or using three times the effort, but by careful integration of the media, messaging, content, and context used in the marketing equation.
What is Marketing Integration?
Without delving into the many definitions that are out there, I use the following:
“Integration is a process or approach developed to provide clarity, consistency, and increased impact with defined objectives, clear goals including relevance, (customer/prospect centric), integration, interaction and measurement, through a well-planned and coordinated use of different targeted media and promotional tools that are included to support each other and develop dialogue and enhance brand/consumer/prospect engagement.”
Source (in part): American Association of Advertising Agencies
From a sales and new business perspective, integration will make your sales growth or your new business effort succeed and be profitable while clearly defining who and what you are. If you question the need for defining what you do and who you are, check out my first two articles in this series: (www.piworld.com/post/are-you-relevant and www.piworld.com/post/make-firm-relevant-thad-kubis).
The components of Integration.
Integration can be viewed as a very complex, hard to install and even more difficult process to maintain. Yes, all those negatives may be in effect if you follow the old rules. The new rules that define the components of integration are clearly simpler. They:
- Support The IX Mutant Print for Profit Muses;
- Are measurable components; and
- Provide a strong foundation for additional new business development.
The new rules of engagement are based on the concepts of Relevance, Interaction, Integration, Establishing Dialogue, Developing Engagement, as well as the metrics to measure the results — the ROI.
Often when I am hired to work with print providers to redefine their business or assist them in developing a new business effort, I will review all their promotional material, social media, websites, sales tools, and promotional media. In eight out of 10 cases, the inconsistency of message is enormous; in the two cases in which the messaging is integrated, it is normally not integrated across all media.
The sales team and integration
A second discovery when I am hired is the lack of intelligence of integrated marketing support for the sales team. Yes, they have a sales team that are on board and the sales team is supportive of the goals of the enterprise, but when I “visit” clients or potential new business sites with the sales team, the degree of integration goes south very fast.
A contributing factor to the descent is the lack of integrated marketing support and integrated sales training. YAY for integrated sales training! Your clients, in building their brand, spend zillions of dollars on messaging, not only to the consumer or targeted audience (verticals) but also to their internal and external sales and support teams. The old adage goes “Brand internally first,” but we should revise it to “Integrate internally first.”
Print, printing and printing services are by nature an integrated process!
No matter which of the three print-based functions you are incorporated within — (1) Inform or Communicate, (2) Product Logistics and/or (3) Market, Promote and Sell — each, all are integrated not only within each other’s needs but within the needs of the clients — your customer and the end user.
How do you integrate? – Patience and Planning.
Most print providers will not be able to integrate without the assistance of an outside consultative, marketing integrating expert or other source. Why? My experience shows that print providers do not have the time or the dedication to maintain the process beyond the first 60 to 90 days. Things happen, business needs overwhelm the messaging, integration needs arise, problems pop up, and the level of interest declines when there are no immediate profitable positive results!
The Sales Cycle – 24/7/365.
My experience in supporting printers tells me that, with a new client, the new business sales cycle is long, about nine to 14 months in dedicated time and support. An integrated marketing program needs to be longer, covering the three stages of the effort — the strategic, the operational, and the tactical. These stages need to be defined by the targeted market, be considerate of the trends that will or have impacted that vertical, and, yes, must be fully integrated.
What to do? – Time to Start Your Engines.
That’s a tough question. First you — the Owner, President, CEO, CFO or Sales Manager — need to commit to the process of integration and assign a budget to make this happen. You will also need to find the correct external partner (such as me) to become your proxy and, as the commercial states, “Get ’er done.” And, finally, you need to commit to the process, realizing that it will not be a three-month effort. This means committing to the process strategically, operationally, and tactically for the estimated nine to 14 months needed and integrating the process into your sales process.
Summary – Plan the Future.
There are short cuts to developing new business. You know that. There are no short cuts to becoming fully integrated. You already followed an integration process to make your business stronger — prepress, press, and post press. You must now provide the same commitment to integrate your production and sales capabilities marketing, with your marketing/communications and business outreach. Integration of your sales and marketing will assist you in achieving your new business goals — expand existing business, gain new business and increase your profits. This commitment to universal, complete integration will also assist you in building the internal support (pre-selling, the buying in) needed for any business to survive.
Once your management, sales and production teams begin to see this commitment they will provide added, sometimes unexpected support to the process, a true win, win and win!
Thad Kubis is an unconventional storyteller, offering a confused marketplace a series of proven, valid, integrated marketing/communication solutions. He designs B2B or B2C experiential stories founded on Omni-Channel applications, featuring demographic/target audience relevance, integration, interaction, and performance analytics and program metrics.