You know what the problem with having your dream job is? Â Even when you’re supposed to be sleeping, you find yourself up late, plotting and puzzling about work. Â
Want to know what’s keeping me up late lately? Â Sure you do. Â Otherwise, you’d just bounce off this post and wait for Jason to come back, right?
In my opinion, the one key ingredient that is keeping interactive marketing from fully delivering on its potential (at least for most clients), is a lack of proper integration between disciplines. Â
For most brands, and in most agencies, interactive or web marketing exists in a silo, separated from other marketing and advertising disciplines. Â And within that silo, the subdisciplines like web development, social media, SEO, paid search, and email marketing are often within their own siloes. Â
It ought not be so. Â Mainly, because web marketing disciplines are so intertwined in terms of activities and outcomes. Â The inbound links developed as a part of a social media campaign has a tremendous potential to add value to SEO efforts (if the SEO is consulted). Â Social media can increase ecommerce sales (yes, it can–I’ve seen it do so. Â But it only works when people who really know the social space are leading the strategy, not the ecommerce experts.) Â Paid search can be a powerful launch tool for driving traffic to a new social site. Â Â Email can absolutely drive traffic, but that traffic will absolutely bounce if the landing page isn’t optimized to prepare for it. Â
Have you ever had the experience of trying to incorporate edits from multiple sources into the same document? Â What invariably ends up happening? Â Someone’s changes overwrite someone else’s changes, and no one is happy with the end product. Â
A similar thing happens when the different disciplines of interactive marketing don’t collaborate. Â
So why is integration so difficult to pull off? Â I think there are a number of reasons. Â To a certain extent, there is some territoriality going on between practictioners and the different interested parties in a web marketing effort. Â Aside from that, specialists tend to not understand other specialists’ disciplines well (if they were really that interested or attuned to that discipline, they’d add it to their list of specialties, wouldn’t they?)
Even in situations where you have a single internet marketer executing multiple channel campaigns, it seems rare that those campaigns are tightly integrated. Â I would guess in those cases, it’s because if one person is trying to manage social media, SEO, paid search and email marketing, they’re already overcommitted. Â Integration is part of strategy, which is a discipline all its own. Â
But when it works, it works marvelously. Â In the last three years or so I’ve been working in interactive marketing, I’ve been privileged to see and participate in a few well-integrated campaigns. Â You don’t just get an addition or multiplication of ROI, I would say you get an exponential increase.
Yes, it’s a lot of effort to get all the boats pulling in the same direction. Â But it’s an effort that, based on the case studies I’ve seen, is absolutely worth it. Â
So what do you think? Â What’s keeping internet marketers from really cracking the integration nut? Â Where does collaboration fall apart, typically? Â What kinds of results have you seen when all the boats are pulling in the same direction? Â Drop it in the comments.