Learn about a framework you can use to create vertical integration in your organization.
- I'd like to share with you a framework I developed to integrate vertically. If you haven't done so already, navigate to the Downloads tab and download the Vertical Integration template I've provided. If you can't access the template, that's okay. You can follow along as we cover each step. Let's start with the first step. Fill in the top row with your company objectives. The vision, purpose or mission, and values. Now, let's drill down vertically in each column. We'll start with the vision, which informs your marketing objectives.
What do you need your marketing to accomplish to help attain the company's vision? If you'd like to learn more about how to write objectives, check out the chapter in my Lead Generation course on setting goals. After you've filled in your marketing objectives, think through marketing plan tactics to achieve your objectives. Planning sets your strategy in motion by utilizing various marketing touchpoints to engage customers. To better understand this, let's review an airline brand example. Their vision is to grow from a startup challenger to compete with established brands, so their marketing objective could be to create a distinctive brand positioning to differentiate from established competitors.
Marketing plan elements could include communicating superior customer service benefits, and building an inviting UX through consideration, booking, and the inflight and post-flight experiences. Focus on marketing objectives and plan elements that help attain your vision. Otherwise, you're wasting time and money. I recommend Drew Boyd's Marketing Fundamentals course to learn more about marketing objectives and planning. Let's move on to the second column, the purpose or mission, which informs your brand positioning.
This ensures all your brand's efforts will align with the company's reason for being in a credible and motivating way. The marketing messaging communicates relevant benefits to customers that are aligned with the brand positioning. So, for our airline brand example, if the brand purpose is to inspire humanity, the brand positioning could be to treat customers above all else. The messaging could leverage the brand's superior and distinctive customer service, such as more comfortable seats, more legroom, great snacks, and an individual TV screen for every customer.
You can learn more about brand positioning and marketing messaging in Drew Boyd's Branding Fundamentals course, or Lorrie Thomas Ross' Brand Building Basics course. In the third column, the values inform brand character, one of the really important ways that customers connect with your brand emotionally. Character differentiates the brand, especially in commodity or regulated categories where it's really difficult to find differentiated rational benefits. Character brings a brand to life by creating a unique and relatable persona.
It informs the brand's look and feel, so all communications feel like they're coming from the same brand. This could include colors, fonts, tone, imagery, music, sound effects, and more. Back to our airline brand example. The values are safety, caring, integrity, fun, and passion. Those values could translate to a brand character of being down to earth, friendly, hardworking, with a sense of humor. That brand character informs brand look and feel adjectives for creative development, which could be playful, entertaining, candid, and spirited.
By following this strategic framework, you can develop a comprehensive plan to create vertical integration in your company.
- Thinking about integration more holistically
- Investing in integration
- Integrating vertically to align with purpose, mission, and values
- Creating a vertical framework
- Integrating horizontally
- Integrating externally across all marketing communications touchpoints
- Learning from world-class marketers
- Integrating internally across employee communications
- Creating one brand
- Leveraging and engaging employees
- Overcoming cultural and process integration obstacles