You’ve probably heard marketing thought leaders wax lyrical about how integration is critical to marketing success. In this modern age, where consumers are demanding more convenience, creating seamless brand experiences through integration has become a survival tactic – not just something to look into but something you should have been doing in 2010.
Nevertheless, it’s never too late to start something great! Let’s take a brief look at what integration actually means in general terms, a few definitions of marketing integration from through leaders across the globe, and how digital marketing integration might just be the recipe for success businesses have been looking for.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines integration as:
“The act or process of uniting different things.”
While the above is technically accurate, it does not speak to the real purpose of integration. It’s not just about bringing things together. It’s more about unifying different parts of a fragmented yet whole system, where different parts work together to achieve more than what is possible on their own. Integration is about bringing things together for a purpose; not merely to have them all in one place.
The Integrated Marketing Community defines integrated marketing communications (IMC) as:
“Integrated Marketing is an approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with the brand/enterprise; it attempts to meld all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and social media, through their respective mix of tactics, methods, channels, media, and activities, so that all work together as a unified force.”
Before the rise of digital marketing, brands were limited to traditional marketing and advertising channels. In most cases, the advertising department was separate from the PR department, which was different from the customer services department.
Then came the internet, and suddenly publics had the capacity to consume advertising, marketing, public relations, and customer services content – in one place and in an almost instantaneous fashion. This gave rise to a real need for brands to integrate their public-facing activities – so that departments knew what other departments were doing, creating a unified brand message.