The Future of Integrated Marketing: Not Either/Or

Sagefrog’s Brand Strategist, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Mark Schmukler, recently led a presentation at the B2B Marketer Awards and Conference on June 13, 2016, on The Future of Integrated Marketing. Read a summary of his presentation below, click to view his slide presentation and stay tuned for a corresponding whitepaper.

As a B2B marketer for more than 30 years, I have experienced endless “either/or” marketing strategy debates: digital versus traditional, inbound versus outbound, and today, the debate is whether we should invest in marketing communications or customer experience (CX). My reaction to these deliberations has always been the same: I am not an either/or guy. Instead, I believe in integration and optimization.

This philosophy is what led to the proliferation of a new marketing concept and term that I coined, called “Integrated Optimization Marketing” (IOM). IOM means integrating marketing communications and optimizing the customer experience across all channels. It combines fully integrated marketing communications with customer experience optimization. Now, let’s break it down:

  1. Fully Integrated Marketing Communications
    Marketing communications are no longer integrated. To understand how we, as strategic B2B marketers, got into this predicament, it is important to first review a brief history of “Integrated Marketing Communications” itself. In 1989, the American Academy of Advertising coined the term “Integrated Marketing Communications,” popularized in the early 90s by Don Shultz (Northwestern) and Philip Kotler (Kellogg), which referred to the integration of traditional marketing channels. In 1998, Google launched the concept of “Search Engine Optimization,” which set the foundation for digital optimization. The next breakthrough introduced by Hubspot in 2006 was “Inbound Marketing,” which sparked the trend towards digital marketing integration. With that said, over the past 20 years, marketing platforms have integrated digital but limited traditional integration. During this timeframe, big brands such as IBM, Adobe and Salesforce have introduced “Marketing Clouds” – but again, it was a concept that primarily served digital integration. Of course, digital has been great for marketers as it contributes directly to KPIs such as acquisition cost and ROI, but as we look to 2020 and beyond, there will be a shift back to revenue focus, which I believe will create a renewed interest in traditional channels. This uncovers an opportunity to fully integrate all marketing platforms to include digital and traditional channels, to ultimately maximize business performance.
  1. Customer Experience Optimization
    CX optimization is the second half of IOM and a very hot topic today. For most companies, the CX is delivered throughout the four stages of the buyer’s journey – awareness, consideration, decision and retention – but through fragmented silos by departments via non-connected business processes and metrics. The good news is B2B companies are beginning to recognize this issue and are working to integrate and optimize the CX from all angles. To do so, one of the most important elements to consider is IOM leadership. The qualities of an ideal IOM leader include customer focus, vision, tech-savvy, cross-function and results-oriented. As we consider some of the most iconic leaders of our time with IOM qualities, such as Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the question remains: where will we find the next generation of marketing leaders who possess all of these attributes? I believe that marketers are best positioned to be the CXOs and CEOs of the future, but they must step up and take charge.

In summary, to realize the promise of IOM we need to achieve fully integrated marketing communications spanning digital and traditional, as well as gain IOM leaders to optimize the customer experience. Are you up for the challenge?

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Are you interested in integrated marketing or other B2B marketing services? Contact Sagefrog Marketing Group today.