Learn how integration has evolved, how integration is defined today, and trends that have driven the need for integration.
- Have you heard of the brand Expedia that created the ability to book travel online? Well, when their success was noticed, competitive price comparison sites entered the category. This affected loyalty and value as customers began shopping for cheaper options. So Expedia launched a new integrated campaign to break through what was becoming a commoditized category. They developed a differentiated brand platform called Travel Yourself Interesting. It targeted a new, higher value audience that view travel as a way to grow personally.
This campaign was integrated across global markets, such as the UK, Norway, Denmark, and Italy, and across marketing touchpoints including a mobile app, radio, TV, social media, and public relations. Expedia has had amazing results including increasing their customer base, improving the gross booking value per transaction, and an above category return on investment. Years ago this would have been really difficult, because brand and marketing integration used to be mostly tactical coordination delivered only through one-way or outbound communication.
This means that marketing was created by the advertiser, and communicated through paid mass media such as TV, radio, outdoor billboards, magazines, or newspaper ads. The goal was to achieve one brand look and feel across those marketing touchpoints and campaigns. This was all the marketing teams responsibility. But technology has changed the definition of integration in these four ways, one, information is ubiquitous.
More information is accessible through the internet, so people can easily research the company that owns the brand. If you need to buy toothpaste, you can research information about that toothpaste product and brand, but also information about the company that manufactures that toothpaste. Two, there are more brand and marketing touchpoints. We've evolved from just a few mass reaching touchpoints, such as TV, newspaper, radio, or outdoor billboards, to an explosion of digital touchpoints including online banner ads, search, email, websites, blogs, online reviews, and social media.
Three, customers expect a seamless experience across touchpoints. Across every stage of a customer's decision journey to choose and purchase a product or service they expect all marketing to feel like it's coming from the same brand. This can be an outbound communication from the brand, such as a magazine ad, or a dialogue between the brand and the customer, such as on a social media site or blog. Four, employees are brand ambassadors. They promote and advocate for their brand in their everyday lives with family and friends from a coffee conversation to social media.
Employees across more internal disciplines, such as innovation, engineering, or accounting, are involved in the creation and management of the brand and user experience. So what do these changes mean for you as a marketer, and why is this important? As you develop your brands marketing communications, make sure you're planning, developing, implementing, measuring, and optimizing work together as a unified force. This includes aligning brand and marketing efforts with the company's objectives, such as its vision, mission or purpose, and values, improving the breadth and depth of employees capabilities to manage marketing efforts across touchpoints, developing an insightful customer decision journey, and leveraging your employees to be brand ambassadors.
And while the marketing department still leads this effort, don't think it's solely their responsibility. Today, the responsibility crosses multiple disciplines within a company, such as customer service representatives, web and app developers, engineers, data analysts, and more. Integration today means so much more than tactical coordination across one-way outbound communications from a company. It's a strategic process involving multiple internal disciplines within the company, and encompassing all internal and external customer touchpoints.
- 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