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Integrated Marketing Part III

Realizing the Benefits of an Integrated Marketing Strategy

Integrated Marketing has become a buzz-word which sometimes reduces the effectiveness of the concept in practice. On the flip side, the term implies a holistic approach which has the potential to engage the total enterprise, and makes it a worthwhile discussion, if nothing more. However, if the organization engages in the meaning and spirit of the definition, a well-orchestrated effort should produce synergies that are beneficial to the organization’s internal operations and external image.
 
Just as anything that is embraced by an organization, planning, execution, and continued oversight are required to realize these benefits.

Managing Internal Processes
The actual implementation of an Integrated Marketing Strategy will look different for every single organization whether it’s due to size and complexity, or product type. The common thread that remains is the interdependence of sales, product/service development, and marketing. If not managed, individual departments may operate in isolation once they have initial data. The Integrated Marketing Framework forbids this approach since each department relies on the other to make an informed decision and next steps are generally harmonized.
Oversight of this knowledge sharing process must occur to ensure that lines of communication remain open. Interdepartmental teams are a fantastic option for this facet.

Managing the External Process
This is usually referred to as the Marketing Communication’s Plan, Integrated Marketing Communications, or Multi-Media Marketing campaign. This is the phase that most definitions focus on and it is extremely critical to the success of an Integrated Marketing Approach.

Feedback must be sought, gathered, and then incorporated into the product/service offer. To affect this, the marketing department must be present and engaged at each major communication channel. This is where the company generates and increases brand awareness and return on investment.  This is the company’s customer interface and it can work wonders or it can be the company’s worst nightmare. Again, the results are primarily reliant on the effectiveness of the oversight of the process.

The right hand must always know what the left hand is doing for this strategy to be semi-successful. Both hands must then affect sufficient controls over key areas, processes, and procedures so that operations move forward as planned and customers are satisfied with the results.
Although this is not a new concept, I think it is a pivotal concept: it is the first time where marketing is emphasized, where marketing is a key driver, and when marketing efforts are more measurable than not. Besides, it provides a new approach and manner of engaging the enterprise - much more engaging than just boring old finance and a bunch of target figures.

About the Author

Maisha Smart, MBA founded Finance and Marketing to help small businesses excel, by bridging the gap between finance and marketing processes. Some of her favorite activities include fine arts, a good debate, and social engagement.

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