Ask any five marketers to define Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), and you’ll get five different answers.  Some focus on the integration of consistent creative across media.  Others focus on the tactics: messaging integration across branding, sales promotion, PR and DR.
Frankly, these marketers are missing the boat.  The most effective use of IMC lies in the alignment of prospect and customer data with all your marketing channels.  Pretty good idea, but is it working?

Listen to this: Nearly 89% of marketers have attempted to integrate customer and prospect information with marketing tactics.  But less than 15% feel their efforts to merge data analytics with marketing execution have been effective.*

What seems to be the problem?  We’ve identified two issues.

Too many silos.

In many companies, those who gather data are separated organizationally from those who analyze the data.  To compound the problem, companies set up barriers between data analytics and the creative teams that develop the marketing programs.

Those barriers have to come down.  Great marketing requires insight into consumer behavior, and those insights only occur when information meets imagination.  Asking marketers to generate insights without data is like driving a Ferrari without gas – you’re going nowhere fast.

Is your agency integrated?

When companies manage to break down the organizational barriers, they are faced with a second problem.  The successful integration of database operations with your advertising and direct response agencies requires an entirely new – and seemingly contradictory – set of skills.  Today’s creatives must be able to analyze data effectively.  Today’s data analysts must be able to think creatively.

Ask yourself – are your marketing partners staffed to handle a truly integrated marketing approach?  Is your creative team able to talk response rates and year-over-year performance?  Is the agency’s data analyst offering solutions or just reporting numbers?  (Here’s the bigger question – does your agency even have a data analyst?)

If your answer to any of these questions is no, it may be time to make a change.

Nearly 89% of marketers have attempted to integrate data with marketing tactics.  Less than 15% have succeeded.

 

*Rowing as One – Integrated Marketing Today, DMA, April 2011