Checklist: Are You Ready for Integrated Marketing?

  |  November 14, 2011   |  Comments

The seven questions you should ask yourself to determine your readiness for integrated marketing.

I am firmly convinced that the future of great digital marketing will hinge on a campaign management (e.g., segmentation and automation) approach. Think about it.

The hardest things to do in digital marketing:

  • Be relevant. Learn about customers, respond to their behavior and actions in real time, and customize experiences.
  • Become cross channel. Respect customer choice and their seemingly endless (but not nearly seamless!) transfer of activity between email, social, and online activities via a collection of devices.
  • Earn ROI. We make all kinds of investments in time, treasure, media, content, and asset creation. We have extensive technology available and more business savvy than ever. Yet, marketers still struggle to explain our efforts in terms of business success.

The best things a campaign management approach will do:

  • Create relevancy. Segmentation is the bedrock of campaign management technology, and is now coupled with multi-touch (nurturing) and automation capabilities.
  • Cross channels. Campaign management software sits on the marketing database so it can read, respond, and customize to customer preference in as many channels as the marketer dare approach.
  • Measure. With all your activity happening in one place, off one database, you can more easily track workflow, budgets, spend management efforts, and utilize one reporting database to gain insights into your particular business.
  • Manage content. If content is the currency by which we create customized, welcome experiences, then getting in front of the costs and requirements for assets and versions is key.

Excited? I hope so. You are also probably closer than you think to taking advantage. If you are asking, "Am I ready?" - read on. I get asked this question a lot, and usually respond with more questions that hopefully help marketers determine their readiness and identify both opportunity and areas of vulnerability.

  • Do you have evidence that your customers want to interact with your brand in more than one channel - online and offline?
  • Would being forced to establish a common language for success for your organization - an important factor in optimizing the use of new marketing technology platforms - help you and your entire marketing department clearly articulate and execute your marketing goals?
  • Would you like to increase your time to market for outbound campaigns?
  • Have you developed a common set of ROI metrics for your business - and shared these with sales and executives? If so, campaign management approaches can help you automate and track them.
  • Where is the data before it comes to the marketing department? Do you have multiple sources to manage? Do various marketing activities have their own databases that need to be synchronized? While many marketing departments flourish using multiple databases, it's still important to have your outbound digital messaging (email, SMS, social, web optimization) come from the same database.
  • Would you like to reduce the time spent transferring data from one system to another?
  • Have you already demonstrated success with intra-department software (e.g., salesforce automaton or cloud-based asset library)?

If you have answered "yes" to a even few of those questions, then you likely are ready to take your digital marketing up a notch. A campaign management approach will help you get there. Just going through the discovery process will help you define and embrace a strategic approach. It sounds overwhelming - but don't make it so. Just get started.

First, understand your database assets and structure. If it's complex and/or disjointed, that's OK. You need to know what data you have. Then, articulate your topline business goals. Is it more efficiencies and higher productivity? Is it more cross-channel campaigns? Is it tracking and measuring? That will help you identify if you need a campaign management solution or just a point solution. The former will likely have more firepower and processing speed, as well as incorporate multiple functions for managing data, setting up segmentations, and multi-touch campaigns. It should also have functionality for publishing and messaging (email, SMS, social) - allowing you to consolidate solutions and pull outbound communications closer to the database.

Are you ready? Please share with us in the space below.

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Stephanie Miller

Stephanie Miller is a relentless customer advocate and a champion for marketers creating memorable online experiences. A digital marketing expert, she helps responsible data-driven marketers connect with the people, resources, and ideas they need to optimize response and revenue. She speaks and writes regularly and leads many industry initiatives as VP, Member Relations and Chief Listening Officer at the Direct Marketing Association ( Feedback and column ideas most welcome, to smiller AT the-dma DOT org or @stephanieSAM.

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