Old School versus New School: The Evolution of Integrated Marketing
As with most innovations integrated marketing developed out of necessity. With the increasing use of the Internet some marketing experts placed their focus solely on digital marketing, abandoning traditional marketing tenants and channels. On the other hand, old school marketers, those who believed that traditional marketing still held strong value in the digital landscape were slow to accept the emergence of digital marketing techniques. Thus, a schism was formed.
Integrated marketing began as a compromise between old school traditional marketing and new school digital marketing. It’s a belief that a strong marketing strategy must incorporate both traditional and digital marketing elements. For a time, traditional marketers like Steve Olenski had an uphill battle trying to prove that traditional methods remained relevant in our digital world. “I happen to think there will always be a place for traditional marketing methods,” he says in his article When Traditional Marketing Meets Digital Marketing. Marketers like Olenski pointed to the strengths of traditional marketing which include building trust, authenticity and telling the brand story as reasons for its enduring relevance.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click ads (PPC) were, for a time, the main tools in a digital marketing strategy. New school marketers who had ditched traditional methods and focused all their efforts on digital were soon burned by Google’s frequent and haphazard algorithmic changes which could, in one day, move a website from the top to the bottom of search results. The inherent challenges that come with the unpredictability of a fast-moving digital world caused new school digital marketers to see the value in an integrated marketing approach.
As more and more marketers adopted an integrated approach and experienced strong revenue-driven results they began to concern themselves less with choosing digital over traditional and spent more time trying to unify their marketing strategies. “There should be no more negotiations about additional budget dollars for digital and mobile marketing,” writes Entrepreneur’s Chris Lucas. “They are now one with the marketing budget. The sooner businesses and marketing departments can unify all areas of marketing, the quicker revenue will increase,” he says.
The discussion around integrated marketing has now moved away from its value (which is now taken as a given) and has focused around maximizing effectiveness and efficiency. The following tips will help you develop, execute and evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.
3 Quick Tips for Your Integrated Marketing Strategy
- Choose the right channels
One of the biggest challenges for marketers is determining where to spend their time and money. In some instances, traditional marketing vehicles like direct mail may provide the best return on investment and in other instances email marketing, blogging or mobile apps may be a stronger revenue driver. And of course, there may be instances where some combination of these marketing tools may be the optimal choice.
“A significant challenge comes when marketers try to apply a traditional marketing construct to a new world digital order that shifts and changes in real time,” explains Evan Greene, CMO of the Recording Academy. “Marketing needs to allow for a two-way dialogue, rather than simply one-way push messaging,” he says. The problem is there is no clear roadmap and within one industry marketing methods that work for one company may not work for another. This means that more than ever marketing strategies need to be uniquely developed based on goals, the target consumer, demographics and budget.
- Create meaningful goals
Your brand and your customer’s experience with your brand should be at the heart of your marketing decisions. “The first focus has to be on Customer 101,” explains Matt Preschern, CMO of HCL Technologies. With the customer top of mind, worthwhile marketing goals include:
• Creating an honest dialogue between the company and consumer
• Telling a story (especially the brand story)
• Generating trust and loyalty
• Remaining authentic
• Building strategic partnerships
“It all comes down to your customer and their experience,” Olenski says. Meaningful marketing goals that strengthen a company’s brand reputation and improve customer experience are worthwhile endeavors that over time will increase brand awareness and loyalty, convert sales and generate results.
- Use data effectively
When it comes to setting marketing goals and reviewing the success of a strategy, marketers like to use data and statistics because it is a clear way to prove value and track return on investment. However, it’s important not to lose your consumer (or yourself) in the data. With so many traditional and digital marketing channels to choose from, using data can often be the only way to synchronize efforts and make sense of what is and isn’t working. But with so much data available marketers can easily feel overwhelmed.
With an integrated approach focus on using data to:
• Track and monitor results
• Provide insight and guide decisions
• Adjust strategies accordingly
Tracking and monitoring marketing efforts and then making adjustments to your strategy is the only way to monitor progress, identify success and anticipate future marketing opportunities.
An advantage of some digital marketing channels is that they allow for the collection of data about consumer behaviour. “The best marketers will have even more consumer data, capable of faster adaption, shorter lead times, and always-on, real-time marketing,” suggests Dan Avi in his article 11 Marketing Trends to Watch For. Tracking the online behaviour of consumers can provide valuable insights that help marketers not only improve the customer experience, but also more effectively analyze marketing efforts and make strategy adjustments accordingly. But keep in mind that digital marketing isn’t the only area that can be tracked. There are a number of ways to collect data and track results for traditional methods like direct mail campaigns.
Integrated marketing evolved out of a need for marketers to effectively adapt to the changing digital world without losing the important principles that the marketing industry is founded on. Today marketers are no longer debating between the value of traditional or digital marketing methods. Instead the integrated approach is accepted as the norm and marketers are focused on combining the right methods to find success.