Why Integration is Integral

Most modern marketing departments contain a lot of specialists, hyper-focused on one channel or discipline. Your job as a leader is to help these talented folks understand their work within the big picture and work together towards common goals. But where do you start? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

  • According to one survey, most CMOs (75%) say they need ‘better internal integration’. In other words, tighter alignment and collaboration across a diverse crew of specialists.
  • But before these CMOs can integrate their team, they need to build it. Another recent survey identified common skill gaps that marketing leaders are struggling to fill. Most of these are very specialized—which will compound this challenge further.

  • The same report talks about seeking “center-brained” talent—people whose technical skills are matched by a good sense for the human side of marketing. In other words, folks who get the big picture and are ready to collaborate.
  • It would be great if all new hires arrived with this balanced POV, but don’t count on it. Collaboration and integration don’t just happen on their own. As a leader, you have a major role to play in creating this mindset across the team through a combination of culture-building, goal-setting, structure and processes. And, of course, training.

  • If you go the training route, we have some suggestions. Start by helping everyone align on the role of marketing in the business. As imperfect as it is, you might find the marketing funnel to be a very useful tool here—especially if specialized team-members are new to marketing fundamentals.

  • Spend some time clarifying the roles (plural) played by each channel. (Don’t assume that your specialists clearly understand what their colleagues do all day.) Along the way, point out specific opportunities for collaboration. For example: using email lists to build custom Facebook audiences. Or using paid social to test CTAs and images for email.
  • Then flip to the customer point-of-view. Review existing personas and talk about how to apply them. Walk the team through a journey map—the funnel’s mirror image. The key takeaway: the customer’s experience is cumulative, with each touchpoint and interaction contributing to the whole.
  • Finish off the session by breaking them into small, cross-functional groups and having them apply their freshly centred brains to a real issue together. (If this sounds interesting, drop us a line. We based this on training materials developed for a client).
  • Training is just one piece of the puzzle. Keeping your army of specialists aligned and integrated is an ongoing practice, not a one-off event. Culture-building, recruiting, goal-setting, strategy definition, team structure and processes—all of these things play a part.
  • If this feels daunting, remember the upside: research by Gartner found that integrated campaigns across 4+ channels outperform single or dual-channel campaigns by 300 percent.
Issue #87
Feb 16, 2020

Further Reading