In the world of music, there is no such thing as a song with just one note.

In the world of integrated marketing, there is no such thing as just one ad placement or just one post that will generate significant traffic or sales. Integrated Marketing is the application of consistent brand messaging across both traditional and non-traditional marketing channels and using different promotional methods to reinforce each other.

In music, it take a series of notes, precisely placed and measured, to make a song that is compelling to the ear to which people will respond.

In today’s world of retail branding, it takes more than seeing one ad to prompt a consumer to buy that new sofa, switch brands, walk into a store or press the button for the shop online. As Matan Bik of Nielsen stated (041217), ‘It takes a combination of relevant, timely and engaging content that truly drives consumers through the total purchase process.

The Score

In the world of integrated marketing, like advertising before, it takes the correct data to understand what motivates consumers and then act on those insights. The content has to have specific tailored marketing messages based on specific personal preferences. Then it takes a deft hand in sequencing ads or posts at the appropriate time across various devices to improve consumer engagement and ultimately drive sales, whether it is through physical traffic into the store or sales via one’s website.

Mr Bik states that data insight is meaningless unless it can be acted upon. And this is one of the paralyzing factors in making integrated marketing work. Brand management tends to wash themselves in data about desktops, smartphones, tablets and other connected devices that provide valuable clues to seeing what makes consumers tick. These clues can help ‘answer questions about what consumers value or what type of lifestyles they lead.’ But unfortunately, too often brand management tends to push the pause button because they want to slow everything down to fit their scheduled pace, and not that of the consumer. It is based on the fear of doing something wrong in a world they know little about.

They understand legacy media. They are, in many cases, micro-managers of everything that is advertising. But we no longer live in an advertising world. We no longer ‘run it up the flagpole to see which way the wind is blowing.’

To complicate matters, they receive input from various sources, family, friends, acquaintances and advisors. Too often, this mass of input freezes the brain and tends to push the panic or ‘pause’ button.

But today, with the evolution of data management platforms (DMPs) and the advent of marketing clouds, marketers now possess the instruments to capture and manage huge volumes of data and to make practical use of it. Today we are more able to cut through the noise, identify key trends and gain a holistic understanding of who the potential customers really are. Accurate audience insights are crucial to any precision marketing effort and act as the building block for relevant and engaging content. When a marketer understands what motivates their customers buying decisions today, and what they truly care about, they can develop harmonious and relevant experiences throughout the consumer journey.

But there is a big hurdle to jump over. Even with the right data, reaching consumers today is not as easy as it used to be. Even if the marketer knows everything there is to know about an audience they want to engage, they need to find enough of them to move the needle or the ROI is mute. This is a very common problem. As an example, a marketer might want to reach 10,000 consumers in their specific market but can only find 4,000 of them. If a marketing execution fails to reach the right audience due to bad data, it can jeopardize a campaign. With consumers increasingly involved and spending more time on multiple devices, brands need solutions. Device graphs can act as the connection between various devices and channels. Device graphs link an individual to all of the devices they use. Now brands can pinpoint where consumers are spending their time and, most importantly, where they will most likely engage with a brand’s message. By identifying the proper channels, brands can ensure they are not playing music to an empty room. That just costs money.

Orchestration

Putting all the notes together into a harmonious flow allows the ear to finally hear the value of beautiful music. The Brand leader, the conductor, sets the tempo. In integrated marketing, marketing clouds do the very same thing. A marketing cloud helps unify various pieces of data and guide the consumer engagement strategy, allowing the brand to deliver a more cohesive and powerful marketing program across multiple channels.

But the result, the ROI, demands that the marketing efforts drive the results you need. Today we are in an era where consumer journeys are fragmented, measuring one outlet against key performance indicators. Clicks no long suffice. Likes no longer suffice. Brands need to understand each channel’s real contribution.

Engagement is the key.

According to Mr. Bik, ‘Multi-touch attribution, closed loop measurement and journey analytics are a few campaign performance evaluation approaches that provide marketers with a deeper understanding of how each marketing tactic is performing. Still, it’s not enough to only pinpoint which tactics provided the greater ROI; brands also need to act on this information.’ No more hitting the ‘pause’ button in your business life. No more stopping the momentum of integrated marketing flow. By adjusting budget allocations based on such learnings, so they closely align with consumer preferences, and adapting creative to deliver more relevant experiences at every step, brands can stay one step ahead of the competition.

Integrated marketing, when performed correctly, is a great musical accomplishment that each brand manager needs to engage both current and future customers. The key is to leverage marketing technology to increase the size off the fan base by continuously delivering effective experiences across the right mediums, at the right time and place.