Integrated marketing - a missed opportunity?
Marketers who don't address the integrated marketing challenge are failing to spot an opportunity to gain competitive advantage and may lose market share, but obstacles still remain.
A recent Partner Summit held by UK-based global provider of database marketing and customer insight solutions, Alterian, examined issues affecting the future successful delivery of integrated off-line and online marketing by marketing service providers (MSPs).
Attendees discussed their clients' current online marketing spending habits, revealing that a 'silo' mentality still exists regarding online and off-line marketing. When asked how the MSP community can ensure that it takes the lead in the provision of both off-line and online services, it was unanimously agreed that the winners would be those which could provide both consulting expertise and the backbone infrastructure to execute campaigns effectively.
- Much of the current email activity is executed as a standalone activity with budgets often managed by a different division to traditional DM, but this must be integrated with off-line activity if the true benefits are to be realised.
- Many marketers still turn toward digital/new media agencies for email services, hence the focus is on the creative, often at the cost of an appropriate data-driven strategy.
- Maximising and demonstrating the value of data in both off-line and online marketing will be the key area where MSPs can demonstrate most value.
- Measurement will have to keep pace with clients expectations and move from ROI to ROC (Return On Customer).
- Other areas of expertise: MSPs should emphasise include legislative knowledge and data quality, which are vital to the success of online marketing.
Investment needed In a recent Forrester report, Shar VanBoskirk, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research's Marketing Strategy and Technology research team, stated that multi-channel marketing and the level of analytics needed to make it work can't come about until email is part of a marketer's database marketing operations. According to Forrester Research, marketers must also invest in the staff, platforms and operational expertise necessary to analyse email as part of their database marketing efforts and stop obsessing about finding the lowest cost for message delivery.
Choice demanded "Marketers who don't address the integrated marketing challenge are failing to spot an opportunity to gain competitive advantage and may lose market share", said David Eldridge, Alterian's chief executive officer. Technological and cultural advances have meant consumers are demanding a choice of channels to engage with a brand and MSPs are best positioned to help marketers achieve this.
The rapid growth in demand for integrated marketing solutions was a key driver behind Alterian's acquisition of Dynamics Direct earlier this year, adding email and online marketing capabilities to the Alterian Marketing Suite.