Why is integrated marketing so damn hard?

Because it requires operating outside of traditional organizational silos —  communications, digital, programs, direct marketing, etc… All stakeholders must come together and meet their goals within a unified framework.

Doing that is challenging, but it can be done!

Here are three key ingredients from successful integrated marketing campaigns.

  1. Leadership. Unless there is clear buy-in and/or ownership from the leadership team, integrated marketing campaigns fizzle. Working between organizational silos is challenging and requires a steady leadership hand holding teams accountable to working within the unified framework. For example, last fall the National Audubon Society released a landmark Climate Report featuring 314 species of birds that will be significantly effected by global warming. Audubon’s CEO David Yarnold clearly identified the report as a priority integrated campaign and required each of Audubon’s VP’s and their staff to develop interdependent plans for it’s release and promotion.
  2. Clear goals. Is the primary goal to get constituents to vote, to raise money, to get people to an event? The clearer (and fewer) your primary goals are, the more likely you are to achieve them. Audubon focused on earned media objectives for the climate report. They emphasized getting the report in front of as many people and influencers as possible vs. pushing an amorphous policy agenda.
  3. Accountability. All teams involved must be accountable to the overall success of the campaign. There need to be clear feedback loops throughout the campaign so teams can optimize their tactics. For instance, during Audubon’s campaign, a clear “climate tribe” (people who were passionate about this issue) emerged from their online community. The digital team surfaced the tribe and the communications and advocacy teams were able to message this group at an increased frequency than other members of the online community.

There are many more pieces to the integrated marketing puzzle. But I’ve found that these three ingredients are must haves.

What do you think? What have you learned from successful (or not so successful) integrated marketing campaigns? Tell us in comments.