Struggling To Integrate Your Marketing Strategy? You're Not Alone
One of the hottest areas for marketing and branding executives is integrating their growing online media efforts with their existing media channels. It's also one of their biggest challenges, as it involves not only mastering new technologies and tools, but also storming the traditional walls (silos) of separate departments, functionalities, and operations. The Integrated Marketing Survey 2013: A Progress Report on the Integration of Digital Marketing from IgnitionOne, a digital marketing technology firm, may help you understand where you are in the pack - and how to jump ahead of the competition.
The report has three main sections: Managing Marketing Channels, Managing Technology, and The Challenge to Integration. The following are excerpts from the Foreword, Executive Summary, and Conclusion.
Businesses tend to err on the side of caution, and this seems to especially be true for marketing departments. The current economic climate has encouraged brands to be more cautious about their marketing budgets and have put particular emphasis on marketers being able to prove efficiency and ROI.
Marketers see the data breadcrumbs that consumers scatter across the Internet, allowing potential customers to be pre-qualified based on their behavior. But with so much data to be interpreted (we process more than 120 different variables through our self-learning Engagement Scoring Engine), and so many choices to be made (from creative to media type to device), it isn't surprising how complicated things have become.
Enter Integrated Marketing. Since its inception by the American Association of Advertising Agencies in 1989, Integrated Marketing has been synonymous with marketing efficiency. In our experience, however, we are still seeing marketing departments split into silos and unable to integrate their digital marketing efforts.
What's stopping brands from having integrated digital marketing strategies? Are they seeing the benefits or is it all too complicated? We decided to go straight to the source and ask marketers what was really going on.
Many of the results are not that surprising. The respondents know the advantages of integrating digital marketing strategies, and many are working toward integration but find their resources and education lacking. Many are still wary of attribution and are yet to see the true benefits a customized attribution method can offer.
In the end, marketers want simplicity where there is now complexity. It has been a slow process, but we are moving toward convincing all marketers of the benefits of an integrated approach.
2) Executive Summary
The integration of marketing strategies has become increasingly inevitable. The rise of digital marketing has accelerated the process as marketers more often have the ability to accurately measure the impact of their marketing activity and how one channel affects another.
But what is the real situation inside brands' marketing departments today? Have they moved any closer toward an integrated digital marketing strategy, or are marketers only paying lip service to the concept?
- The industry is not there yet, but is working on it. Integrated digital marketing might not be an industry-wide standard yet, but brands are definitely starting to restructure how they manage their marketing channels and teams to better position them to deliver integrated digital marketing strategies:
- 49% manage all of their online media channels in-house;
- 96% are working closer with IT to achieve marketing goals; and
- 49% still have separate channel owners, but they communicate often and share goals.
- We still have some educating to do. The practicalities of integrating digital marketing are still daunting, requiring new technology systems and restructuring of resources to deliver a truly integrated strategy.
And we're not really taking advantage of the known benefits. For many marketers, the digital landscape has provided a complete and accurate picture of how their marketing strategy is working and how different marketing disciplines affect each other for the first time. But last-click attribution still remains popular, despite its widely recognized inefficiencies. More complex, multi-touch models are being used only by the minority:
- 24% say their teams are not set up to support an integrated digital marketing strategy;
- 58% use last-click as their attribution model, and only 18% of organizations use a sophisticated cross-channel attribution model;
- 24% don't track how one form of paid media affects another; and
- 38% say the technology to build an integrated digital marketing strategy is too complicated.
- Digital marketing is on the upswing and mobile and social channels are leading the way. An overwhelming majority of those surveyed are looking to increase their digital advertising budget allocation within the next 12 months, and 22% of those marketers are looking to increase the budget by 20% or more.
The biggest growth areas are mobile display and mobile search, followed by social ads, which is hardly surprising as audiences move toward tablets (sales increased 75% year-over-year according to TechCrunch). More than 70% of marketers are planning to invest in mobile advertising in the next 12 months. More findings:
- 46% of marketers are planning to increase budget allocation to digital advertising 11% to 20% in the next 12 months;
- 36% of marketers predict their organization will increase investment in mobile search in the next 12 months;
- 36% of marketers predict their organization will increase investment in mobile display in the next 12 months;
- 32% of marketers predict their organization will increase investment in social ads in the next 12 months; and
- 82% of organizations surveyed personalize the user experience for visitors to their site.
Marketers are beginning to grasp the importance of cross-channel attribution, have been adopting marketing automation as an important solution for conversions, and have been enhancing budget and time devoted to digital marketing. However, marketers lack urgency in implementing truly integrated digital marketing, as well as cross-channel attribution, which is affecting their budgeting decisions. We are approaching the day when marketers will have no alternative but to integrate their marketing to stay competitive, but in the meantime, those practicing integrated marketing are ahead of the curve and leading their respective industries.
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