Myth: Integrated Marketing Means Using Facebook AND Twitter

Here we are on letter I of the marketing myth series, and we’re going to talk about what integrated marketing means. Now, often times you’ll see folks talking on social media sites about how it’s important to make sure your different social media efforts are “integrated.” They’ll note that it’s important to integrate your blog with your Facebook page. They might note that it’s important to integrate your Twitter presence with your blog and your Facebook page. This advice isn’t wrong, although I think it might be behind a lot of efforts to automatically import tweets into Facebook and the like. But this is actually NOT what integrated marketing is all about.

First, let’s take a look at how our good friend Wikipedia defines integrated marketing:

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is defined as customer centric, data driven method of communicating with the customers. IMC is the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues, functions and sources within a company into a seamless program that maximizes the impact on consumers and other end users at a minimal cost.[1] This management concept is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation.

Now, the concept of “customer-centric” is one that you don’t see bandied about much in the world of social media, so let’s talk a bit about that too. The awesome Beth Harte, whom I was fortunate to meet on Twitter early on in my social media career, offers this excellent definition:

Integrated marketing communications is about connecting with, listening to, understanding, and analyzing (communications) customers and delivering (marketing, product development, operations) on their needs and wants, hopefully in a meaningful way that serves both the customer and organizational goals. Perhaps that seems overly simple, but really, it should be that simple.

You should really read her full post from where I pulled that quote.

So what does this all mean? Well, it’s hard to narrow it all down into nice Twitterable lingo. But the bottom line is that the current buzzword – “Social Business,” is not too far off from what Integrated Marketing Communications has always been about. Your communications across the board, from advertising to booth graphics to social media to the balloons you send up at your party should all give the same line of thinking, it should all be about your customer, and there absolutely should not be any silos.

Why are we not talking about this?

If Social Business as a concept is getting a lot of attention, how come we still see so much ignorance or mythological thinking surrounding Integrated Marketing? Well, one potential answer is that the social media world has really painted itself into a corner. Take, for example, Dave Kerpen’s Likeable Media, which I recently read and reviewed. It’s a great book so far as its social media guidance is concerned, but throughout the book, a very black-and-white scenario is established. You can do social media. You can do traditional marketing. There is no real evaluation on how you could make all of it work for you.

This is pretty typical wherever you travel in the world of social media. Traditional marketing, be it email marketing, direct mail, print advertising, radio, television – all of that is sort of scoffed at in the face of all of this new “social media stuff.”

That’s a real shame.

The other problem may be that a lot of people became “marketers” (the new way we sort of define this word) with the onslaught of social media. They did not have a lot of marketing experience before Twitter started to catch fire. Therefore, they do not have a lot of experience with other forms of marketing, and hence they can’t really properly talk about it. So, as humans do, they focus on what they are good at and exclude the stuff they’re kind of weak on.

Or maybe there is another explanation I’m unaware of (I’m open to suggestions).

The sad thing

Here’s the really sad part about this increasingly common new “definition” of integrated marketing – it’s preventing companies/marketers from trying some pretty cool things. There are now entirely new ways to eliminate silos in your company, learn from your customers, and carry your message from platform to platform. You can develop products based on what your customers are actually saying and then speak to them through different mediums based on how you KNOW they want to be talked to. A press release can now link you to a YouTube video. An ad can suggest that input can be offered on the Facebook page. The possibilities are limitless. But we are missing opportunities to expand marketing as we force people to choose between “old” and “new.”

Do you agree? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/syoung/3955230375/ via Creative Commons

12 comments
geoffliving
geoffliving

Good post, Marjorie. Integrated marketing is really about using diverse tactics, more than one. Whether or not they are social is really up to the marketing organization. 

dabarlow
dabarlow

Another on to make us think, Thanks! I have friends that don't participate in social sites, e.g. Twitter, FB, G+ now Pinterest. So how you market to them if not doing older traditional marketing....

ThreeTwelve Creative
ThreeTwelve Creative

Another awesome post, and agreed... The way I generally try to educate people is to point out that the incredible leverage that social media can have means that brand identities are now much more fluid, and that your brand identity now needs to be capable of a similar fluidity. That said, however, social media just isn't anywhere near a total fit for some SMBs. We're in southwest Florida, and the demographic that many local businesses target here *MAY* have heard of Twitter but would never use it, and used Facebook just once before they found out more about their daughter than they ever wanted to know. Upshot? Knowing your market is just as important as ever, and if you want to do right by your clients you will place them in the appropriate media -- no matter what that media might be.

Fierce_living
Fierce_living

Margie, 

Your post makes so much sense that it's almost scary that all small businesses (and the larger ones too) aren't following what you recommend here. Leave no stone unturned, right? 

Neicolec
Neicolec

Boy, I really hope you're wrong that just tying your social accounts together is becoming the new definition for "integrated marketing."  Even for a small business, it's so important to look at the whole gamut of possible marketing activities--including traditional marketing such as advertising in industry magazines, sponsorships, and tradeshows--as well as social media and inbound marketing. What works best depends very much on the organization, its customers, and its resources. And, as you say, whatever methods the company chooses, it all should be tied together so that the elements work together to achieve the marketing goals.

 

I feel for companies that get a PR or marketing person who only has one set of tools in the toolbox. They may miss out on the best tools for their organization, if it isn't their consultant's toolkit. I think businesses are moving to "dislike" consultants who only have social media as a tool, but unfortunately they may also be tending to discount social media completely, as well.

robertfjames
robertfjames

Marjorie, you're right, it's sad so many social media advocates won't acknowledge "there are more things in heaven and earth" than dreamt of in their philosophy.

 

Every time a "new" media appears on the scene, its advocates insist on that media's absolute primacy, and on the irrelevance of all others.

 

According to these advocates, movies were supposed to sideline photography and theater. TV was supposed to sideline movies. The Web was supposed to sideline TV. And so forth. How naive!

 

Here's something for the advocates to consider. Q: What medium propelled Chris Brogan to the top of the social media marketing heap? A: A book. How 15th century can you get?

margieclayman
margieclayman moderator

 @ThreeTwelve Creative Very well said. There are still a lot of people arguing that social media is a *must* for everybody and that companies not using social media are probably thinking it's just a fad. Factually, though, there are a lot of companies who just aren't a good fit for Facebook or Twitter. If they don't measure their campaign out and have a plan, they will learn these things the unnecessarily hard way.

 

Thanks for your comment! 

margieclayman
margieclayman moderator

 @Neicolec Hi Neicole! Always lovely when you stop by.

 

I fear that this trend really is growing in the online world. Over and over again I see the diametric relationship set up between social media and what came before. "Why waste your money on that when you could do Facebook for free or for substantially less?" There is so much more to this conversation than just that simple statement, but with 140 characters, we seem to be getting distilled down to that pulpy core. Such a bummer. 

margieclayman
margieclayman moderator

 @robertfjames that is a WONDERFUL point you made, Robert. Dang. Wish I had thought of that for this post. Thank you!! :)

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