Most technology marketing folks strive to plan and develop an integrated marketing approach while planning their annual strategies. The theory of IMC certainly makes sense and has proven to deliver successful results for many organizations. But achieving this integrated approach is harder than it seems. At a recent DMA conference, Dave Frankland, a senior analyst with Forrester suggested that 45 % of marketing leaders are committed to an integrated marketing approach as the core of their customer centric marketing activities, while only 1/3 of them actually deliver against this goal.
Achieving a customer-centric integrated approach to marketing has been a desire of marketers in the technology community for years. Back in the nineties, the term integrated marketing typically described public relations, advertising, direct marketing, and promotions working together to deliver a consistent message to a target audience across multiple communications channels. With more resources, technology and tools available today, the modern definition of “fully integrated marketing” is far more expansive and emphasizes structured collaboration among most, if not all, other departments. With shared language, metrics, and strategy, the entire enterprise is able to work together toward the common goal of achieving maximum customer value from each relationship.
This new modern definition simply makes sense. Today, key trends make marketing integration a financial requirement, and the availability of technology, data, and analytic know-how has finally made establishing a customer-centric organization realistic and practical. But implementing the theory has been quite difficult for many technology organizations.
Some of the major obstacles that have prevented a customer-centric integrated approach include:
• A lack of executive support
• Organizational designs
• Compensation and incentive systems
• Measurement constraints
• Business models
• Data capture capabilities
• Analytic capabilities
• Perceived high cost
• Focus on short-term results
In a 2009 study of more than 400 CMOs and 20 business and academic leaders the CMO Council found that global marketers are seeking stable operational platforms to contend with unstable market dynamics. Their goal: “To achieve substantive performance gains that drive top-line revenues and sustainable corporate growth.” Among the actionable key insights uncovered in the study was that inadequate data-sharing across the enterprise consistently hindered the ability to effect process and operational changes. According to the report, “Integration of platforms and processes is critical.”
As marketers, we all understand that data drives much of our activity and access to data is imperative to ensuring an integrated marketing effort drives results. These are big operational issues and should be discussed with senior leadership as you draft your strategies for 2010.