Marketing stereotypes can limit your brand
Imagine a hypothetical question and answer survey about marketing taking place between two people. One person asks the other a series of questions, and the other has to answer with the first thing that pops into their heads. Here’s how this scenario might play out:
Public relations: press releases
Event marketing: parties
Direct mail: trash
Interactive: web sites
Social media: Facebook
If you’re in the marketing community right now, I hope you’re cringing at the answers – more so because you’ve probably had a conversation similar to this with someone outside of your industry trying to figure out what you do all day. Or if you work in a full-service agency, maybe you’ve even seen this play out within your own company (I know I have).
Unfortunately, the one-word stereotypes associated with each of these brand positioning channels are perpetuated by a lack of education not only outside of the marketing community, but in it, as well. All too often people within a particular discipline fail to take the time to truly understand the value and importance behind other marketing strategies. Ultimately the brand suffers from this lack of integration.
Effective integrated marketing takes a brand’s goals, audience and desired outcome (sales, relationships, votes) into consideration before developing a strategic plan. The plan would understand the process behind each marketing method and the expected results that should come from each.
For example, if you’re an account service executive at an advertising agency and you walk over to your PR department and ask them to write a press release the day before your client’s new product is scheduled to launch, you’ve missed an opportunity. You failed to realize that the “spray and pray” approach of banging out a press release and blasting it over the Internet will not generate legitimate media coverage for the new product. It won’t develop media relationships for your client’s spokespeople, and it won’t position them as a resource for larger trend stories where they could serve as a resource.
Similarly, if you work for a PR firm, and you ask an interactive team to just “build a website,” you’re missing the point of what interactive can truly do – and how the strategy should play against the larger goals. What features does the website need? Who is it trying to attract? Is eCommerce important? What about video? These are things that can’t be thrown together, nor should they be.
Ideally, all decision-makers from each marketing discipline that play a role for your brand should be involved at the beginning of a marketing planning discussion. There should be an appreciation and understanding of what each is capable of producing and how it can augment other parts of the wheelhouse. If any one discipline doesn’t understand what the others can do, the mission is already set upon the wrong course.
Integrated marketing is like an onion with many layers. If you’re still defining any marketing channel with one just one word, I’d invite you to take the time to meet some experts in the other disciplines so you can gain a better understanding of how each works. You might be surprised at the amazing castle that can be built when everyone plays well together in the sandbox.