The integration imperative

By Claire Lamb, director at Skout PR,

Over the past 25 years the marketing industry and the tools it employs has profoundly changed. Marketing teams were previously tasked with deploying a few standalone activities – whether they were above or below the line – and most occurred in relative isolation, as marketers worked hard to retain a consistent look and feel across the mix.

Fast forward to today and effective marketers now take a more integrated approach; where strategy and measurement is applied equally to every tool and campaign – and content is developed and moulded to support every stage of the funnel.

There’s plenty of research that demonstrates the benefits of integrated marketing, but at Skout, we conducted our own survey of 100 senior UK marketing professionals to learn more about their experiences of integrated marketing campaigns, and the challenges and opportunities they present.

We found that, while over half of respondents understand the value of integrating online and offline channels, many don’t know how to do it effectively, or struggle to convey a consistent message across all outlets to achieve campaign objectives. While 42% of marketers agreed that using multiple channels is the most important aspect of campaign integration, 63% feel they are not taking advantage of the different channels available to them. In fact, 46% said integrating channels is the biggest obstacle to successfully delivering their marketing activities.

While marketers recognise the importance of integration, many lack confidence in creating content suitable for use across multiple channels. 40% of those surveyed said that they don’t reuse content because they feel it’s unsuitable for other formats, while 35% believe that the content has lost its value after its initial use.

Yet, almost a third of marketers blamed their lack of reusable content on ineffective campaign planning, admitting they don’t fully consider their objectives before developing content programmes.

So what’s the outcome from badly planned, single use content programmes, or worse, ones that don’t even answer objective challenges? It means that marketers are limiting the exposure of their content and brand, essentially leaving the door wide open for competitors to step in.

To overcome challenges around integrated marketing, it’s important to consider the channels you want to use to reach your audience ahead of the campaign scoping and development stages, as well as the skills and team members you need to make it happen. As marketing becomes more tightly integrated into more job roles, it’s important that more people in the business become involved in strategising so the resulting story has real value and resonance with its audience.

If the entire business buys-in to marketing strategy and takes collective ownership of campaign theme and messages, it’s likely to result in quality content that can be repurposed for every channel and stage of the funnel. This is key to making your ideas and budget work harder so you can truly reap the benefits of your investment.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

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