Integration! Sexy word; much talked about; buzzy, trendy and utilised by executives, line managers and politicians alike. Do I get it? Yes, I get it, but I’m not sure business does?.
According to the free dictionary (I use it because I’m a cheap skate) the definition of integration is, “The act or process of integrating.” Talk about a bleeding flash of the obvious! In desperation I downloaded a more prestigious lexicon and discovered… “an act or instance of combining into an integral whole.” Surprise! Surprise! As ad men we talk about it night and day but at its sexiest ‘integration’ is not widely popular when it comes to its implementation. For some ungodly reason the single focus of business is to find a negative and treat it as if it arrived all by itself. Let me explain.
Marketing has always been about integration, especially when it comes to advertising. For instance, there has always been a small choir of business people who exercise their larynx with the ‘My advertising doesn’t work’ anthem. It’s top of the charts and No 1 with a bullet at any Chamber of Commerce After 5 meeting.
Take the extraordinary claims of one recent business owner who, after a sustained period of advertising with some good results, cancelled his ads claiming his enquiry was driven by word of mouth. When asked how he had reached this conclusion he replied, “I just know!”. That he could not recognise the INTEGRATION of advertisingand word of mouth as a synergistic driver of success is truly bewildering. Marketing is, in itself an integration. It combines a multitude of disciplines, working together to create an outcome. They are most always dependent on each other.
Today it is vital businesses realise the value of a bundling their marketing and strategically mixing their points of projection. While Television can carry a message it needs support or ‘Loss of Memory Insurance’ in the form of longer time mediums such as billboards, point of sale, web and direct mail to create success. This is realintegration and it not only gives messages, the frequency to deliver high awareness and customer activity, it also builds a potent and powerful brand.
Integration is not just a sexy, fluffy buzz word for today, in its marketing application it offers solid gains for awareness, lead generation, walk ins, web hits and sales.