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The Real Joke About Marketing: Lack Of Integration

Yesterday I made a joke. It was April Fool's Day and in my April 1st blog post I decided to announce that I would only focus on the "right now" and devote my blog to talking about Twitter. Some people got the joke, while others loved the idea of another blog about Twitter. My point from the beginning of that post was entirely truthful – there is indeed something amiss in the world of marketing. And it cannot be solved by focusing just on what's happening right now, or by focusing on any one tool.

There is a plague facing the marketing world today, and it has to do with lack of integration. Strategy, advertising, PR, direct, interactive, social media, search, and many other marketing functions are all separated by departments or outsourced to a combination of agencies. In each case, internal or external political battles over budget and responsibilities ensue, and the end result is usually a marketing impasse at the expense of effectiveness. Not only does the right hand of a marketing group often not know what the left hand is doing – most of the time they end up arm wrestling.

The mission of this blog will always be to share useful marketing lessons and stories that go beyond just one tool, channel or category. The real power of marketing comes through integration, and the tragedy is how easy that is to forget. So the next time you hear someone suggest a Twitter strategy without talking about anything else around it, don't accept it. Seek more integration and demand it from the people you work with. Here are some tips on how to do it:

  1. Think in terms of hubs and extensions instead of single channels for a marketing effort.
  2. Respect the fact that marketing tactics you may not understand can actually work as well.
  3. Make integration someone's job to manage and ensure that it happens.
  4. Stop thinking of media consumption as an "either-or situation" – most people use multiple types
  5. Have consumers settle disagreements – ask them what is more important and focus there.

Now I can officially put the "twinfluential marketing blog" to rest.

10 thoughts on “The Real Joke About Marketing: Lack Of Integration”

  1. it’s all about business because business is marketing, no marketing = no business, its everything you do. cuts across all functions of the business with no exceptions.

  2. I would add

    6. Provide resources, like a bloggers pack, social media press release, whatever, so others can help spread the story for you whilst keeping it integrated.
    7. Measure, measure the cost of integration vs the overall return.
    8. Selling online is a dance with your customer, you need to tease them, take them to the dance floor, then dance. Integrating your approach helps speak to them in the language they understand (whether that be facebook, twitter, blogging, video) then they are more likely to dance.
    9. By applying an integrated approach you are inserting your story into a larger group of people with the same message. (Think frame of reference in the longer term).

    Integration is where the real return is online, consistently popping up in the frame of reference of your consumers is what is going to help pull your brand out of the muck.

  3. glad to see yesterdays was indeed an april fools like i thought… couldn’t agree with this entry more, except for one small point. sure you should “Respect the fact that marketing tactics you may not understand can actually work as well” but should you accept that there are marketing tactics you don’t understand or should you go out and learn about them?

  4. I’m glad most marketing is fractured. It gives guys like me , that create integrated and holistic campaigns an edge. Of course it’s hard to be a generalist, often passed over by marketers who specialize in one channel or tactic while generalist struggle to stay on top of multiple marketing channels.

  5. One of the things commonly lacking in most marketing departments is an overall marketing strategy. There’s the endless pursuit of marketing tactics – which is what I think your April Fool’s day post illustrated BEAUTIFULLY!

    So I smile when I read ” So the next time you hear someone suggest a Twitter strategy without talking about anything else around it, don’t accept it.”

    Twitter is a TACTIC not a STRATEGY. How can you have a “Twitter strategy” unless of course, you’re Twitter?

    Which of course, explains why I LOVE this:

    “Stop thinking of media consumption as an “either-or situation” – most people use multiple types.”

    People are not single faceted. They use Twitter – AND read blogs – and – GASP – they watch television as well. OMG! Those multi-tasking little critters!!! I’ll bet one or two reads the newspaper and listens to the radio as well.

    When you stop focusing on tactics and start focusing on a strategy – these “integration” problems tend to take care of themselves.

  6. “It’s the message stupid” to riff on an old political saying. You still need something interesting to say, whether it’s 140 characters, a blog post or whatever. Regrettably, just as owning Photoshop doesn’t make you a graphic designer, using Twitter doesn’t make you intersting. Dang!

  7. The integration concern is not new. It apparently used to be called “the whole egg” idea decades ago. David Aaker has a very good recent book about this very subject, which I reviewed recently Spanning Silos.

    Drucker said, with justice, that marketing and innovation are the only two fundamental functions of a corporation. Integration is not the biggest problem IMO… it is a matter of execution inefficiency that may matter less or more depending on the situation. The bigger problem in marketing is that it focuses entirely on messaging and influence, rather than its full-blown role of research/positioning/entry sequencing/intelligence.

  8. I agree, Michael. Twitter isn’t for sharing with the world the fact that you went to the bathroom or that you won’t be shaving today. No one cares except for maybe your mother and it’s disrespectful to your followers. Usually, I stop following someone as soon as I see that they aren’t contributing anything worthwhile.

  9. Integration is exactly why I like working for an SME. With only a handful of people working in marketing and sales it means that there are no silos and so a lack of integration become less of an issue.

    It also means that everyone gets experiences in all aspects of marketing and sales and this makes the work very wide ranging and interesting.


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