Forget Web 2.0, Let’s Talk About Integrated Marketing

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  • November 14, 2007

I hate the term “Web 2.0” or “Web two dot ooh” as I recently heard someone say. It was born from marketers needing a way to classify those sites that didn’t fit anywhere else or that used certain technologies that were not prevalent at that time. Now that term is the bane of my existence. I am so repulsed by that term because it has instilled in every business owner and marketing manager a need to be “Web 2.0” or they will somehow wither up and die. These are the folks if you ask them what they want they will tell you they want a blog because everyone else has one.

I will agree there are some amazing technologies and options out there for those companies that are truly ready to step up and take advantage of them. However, most small business owners need to forget Web 2.0, Ajax, Blog, Social Network and all the other jargon flying around industry periodicals. Most business owners and marketing managers need to focus on integrated marketing.

From Wikipedia

A management concept that is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation. In practice, the goal of IMC is to create and sustain a single look or message in all elements of a marketing campaign.

One of the largest marketing problems I see a lot of small businesses have is learning how to leverage all of the available channels and delivering a solid, cohesive message along all of those channels. The main reason for this is budget restraints. Small businesses do not have the budget available to hire a large advertising agency to develop their identity, print collateral, TV spots, radio spots and website all at one time. They often have to piecemeal their entire existence together by hiring company X for the print collateral, company Y for the television spots, and maybe if they are lucky they can hire company Z to build them a website.

The Rise of Frankenstien’s Monster

Just like the monster that eventually destroys its master, this form of stitched together marketing can destroy the small business. Each channel tries to act independently. One agency believes everything should be done one way, the other believes it should be a different way and most of the time the business owner or contact person is so close to the action they don’t see the wild differences in messaging, creative design and brand identity.

Pretty soon the TV spots look nothing like the direct mail pieces and the website still has a 2002 copyright, talks about an award the company won in 2003 and looks like nothing else. The company’s brand identity becomes a fractured semblance of itself. All the touch points with its customers serve to confuse because there is not a cohesive brand and consistent marketing.

Hire an Ambassador

My suggestion is to hire or become your own brand ambassador. Depending on the size of your organization and how many marketing touch points need analysis this could be a full time position or you could hire a consultant for a limited lifespan. The point here is to have one person who can determine if a particular marketing initiative is on or off base with your brand identity.
Ask yourself –

  • Does the graphic design resemble everything we have produced?
  • Is the messaging the same as other initiatives? Do we use the same key phrases to talk about our business?
  • Is the imagery similar across media?
  • Does everyone in the organization talk about the company in the same terms?

Pretty simple, right? No one said it had to be hard! When you do find differences talk to your vendor(s) about them. If need be, put one vendor in touch with another. We’re not opposed to discussing the situation with other vendors!

The bottom line is, until you can deliver a brand identity utilizing all or most communication touch points with your clients you don’t need a blog, a wiki, or a social network. Focus on your business and your identity and when you have those things solid then branch out and talk “web two dot ooh” with an internet marketing firm.

One Comment

  • Phil Darby says:

    Thanks Chris. The first sensible piece on integrated marketing I’ve read today – maybe this week! I agree, well almost!

    The absolute first step in this process is what I call “Brand Discovery” self realisation for organisations! My programme delivers not only a “Brand Model” that becomes the focus of the organisation decision-making process from that point forward, but a painless process for realigning the organisation, over time in the New Model Marketing format.

    “Brand Discovery” is a tool that I created as a component of Full Effect Marketing, a business philosophy that assumes every organisation is a marketing organisation and every function at every level of an organisaion has a marketing role to play.

    Full Effect Marketing puts the brand at the core of the organisation and places “marketing” in the driving seat, so that the organisation increases its success in delivering the promise that is inherrent in its brand and therefore raises its ROI.

    Integrated marketing plays a part in this, but I’m talking integrated business – a bigger subject, but far more rewarding for organisations and their marketing services partners.