When it comes to building a successful business, unity and integration are the most important foundations. Your marketing strategy is no different. If everyone in the organisation is working towards a different goal, you’ll struggle to generate results. And as the way we all consume media changes – from interacting with online platforms to reading printed content and streaming entertainment – it’s more important than ever to take an integrated approach.
Consumers are connecting with your brand in hundreds of different ways every day. They’re visiting your website, exposed to your ads across TV, radio and online, searching for products and services, and seeking out your stores. With your customers adopting all these different channels and behaviours, the lines between your employee teams are also increasingly blurred. Marketing, tech and sales teams will all be equally invested in improving the website experience for potential customers, for example. Likewise, creative teams might tap into customer support staff for insights to inform content and design. Successfully integrating these different departments around a clear goal will help you to improve both efficiency and experience.
An integrated approach also delivers results. Consumers are overwhelmed with choice, with experts estimating we see between 4,000 and 10,000 ads daily. B2B buyers are using more sources to evaluate purchases than ever, with 77 per cent spending more time researching the brands they buy from. A clear, engaging message that emerges from all the different interactions with your brand will, even if subconsciously, give consumers a reason to choose you over competitors.
Here are three ways to take a more unified approach.
Your customers should be at the heart of everything you do – but businesses can often lose sight of that when deadlines and demands get in the way. Encouraging an almost-obsessive focus on customers will unite everyone in the business around the quest to deliver a useful, positive experience at every step of their journey. This also inspires better communication between teams in the business – marketing should be connected to, and supported by, the sales and frontline customer service teams, so they can really understand customer challenges, goals and feedback. Going a step further and seeking input from customers themselves (e.g. via a survey), can also provide insight into how effective your marketing strategy is. Do they resonate with your key messages? Do they easily recall your brand? Did they find the purchase experience with you easy and enjoyable?
Even within the marketing and communications department itself, many are split into several disconnected teams: think digital marketing, catalogue and advertising production, print, PoS events, creative, PR, etc. But if all these teams operate entirely on their own, there’s no chance they’ll be working towards the same goals. Find ways to simplify the process of working together and build collaboration into every marketing campaign. For example, you could launch a social media and PR campaign to align with the release of your catalogue, driving people to their nearest local store to purchase. Or generate subscribers for your quarterly print magazine, with a digital campaign targeted to relevant audiences based on interests and likelihood to engage. Remember to also involve data specialists and analysts who can help you to ensure that all marketing activity is achieving desired results and not wasting resources. This could be by narrowing down your print distribution areas based on purchase data, or implementing online retargeting strategies to capture potential customers at every stage of the funnel – from awareness through to consideration and conversion.
To get people working towards a shared goal, they need to feel like they’re along for the ride. Communicating marketing plans, activities and objectives widely will ensure everyone is kept in the loop, but it’s also important to welcome input from the broader team and encourage sharing of marketing content with their networks. Ultimately, you want to put the people behind the business front and center – whether that’s by featuring them in your external marketing material, profiling them in your content campaigns, or repurposing customer- or user-generated content. Not only does this bring a human element to the brand, which is appealing to both customers and recruits, but it gives everyone a sense of involvement, making them more likely to contribute to making marketing a success.
A unified marketing objective will unite and inspire your team – and it will also put your business on the road to success. Research from Google shows that leading organisations are 1.7x more likely to be measuring marketing campaigns against a common business goal, and 72 per cent of consumers prefer an integrated approach from the brands they purchase from. If you’re not already there, make 2019 the year you start integrating your strategy, processes and customer-facing communication, and start reaping the rewards.