Integrated marketing requires that businesses align their marketing processes in a way that continuously improves the customer experience. Understanding the how your processes feed into each other as part of an overall plan is a crucial first step. Successfully integrating these processes along with establishing KPIs ties together the goals of each department into a single unified strategy to enable supporting larger goals.
Creating Order Out of Chaos
The growing complexity in marketing makes it crucial that companies document, define and automate their marketing processes. In order to be effective, processes within the following categories, which overlap to some extent, must be defined and integrated:
- The executional process is often referred to as campaign management. This is the communication arm of marketing, and often deals with both outbound and inbound marketing as well as analyzing leads and customer value.
- The operations of a marketing department include budgeting and resource allocation. Processes include marketing performance measurement, campaign planning, strategic planning, marketing systems and data capture.
- Analytical processes are used to create predictive models and to analyze the data gathered to measure the results of a marketing program.
While implementing a marketing automation solution can more than double the output that a marketing team can produce, one must do her homework before implementation. The success of marketing automation implementation does not primarily depend on the selected software, and it is not only about automation. Cross-functional coordination must be formalized by integrating the processes above and setting KPIs that focus teams on achieving corporate goals.
Process Alignment to Create True Integrated Marketing
Integrated marketing aligns campaign management, marketing operations and analytical processes to create a closed-loop around the customer. Closed-loop processes should focus on improving the customer experience in ways that will increase satisfaction (thus loyalty), drive revenue for the company and reduce marketing costs. Once you align your processes to create a closed-loop around your customer, you can realize true integrated marketing by following a few simple steps:
- Conceptualize. Set objectives and brainstorm ideas, keeping an overall focus so that everything aligns. Analytical and operational factors carry more weight at this point, while executional processes focus on understanding the target segment and the needs of the customer.
- Create a plan. Use analytics to understand your audience and competition and to optimize your marketing campaigns. Ensure that you address all three process categories in mind as you plan.
- Budget. Create a budget and allocate it among the various marketing programs that have been prioritized. There is no hard and fast rule for setting your marketing budget, which should be set on a based on a number of factors. I have seen budgets in as little as 1% to as much as 35% of projected revenue.
- Campaign creation. Define and create the marketing campaigns that you have prioritized based on improving customer satisfaction.
- Test the waters. Test messaging, target segments and creative and make changes as needed. Always test, even if you think something is a no brainer. Human behavior is difficult to predict. I have been surprised many times by test results of both “horrible” and “great” ideas.
- Launch full programs. Put your marketing strategies into full gear.
- Analysis. Measure the success of the various parts of your campaign and analyze the results.
- Closure. Use the information from your results to develop the next marketing strategy.
Integrated marketing is powerful and effective. Each time a customer or prospect views your message and interacts with your company, it is reinforced in their minds, building greater awareness and trust over time. It is also a better and more efficient use of your marketing resources.