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From The New Integration to The Newest Integration May 30, 2014

Posted by nicholas gill in integration, thought leadership.
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The New Integration

On August 10, 2010, I posted an article on my blog entitled, “The New Integration.

At the time, there was a lot of talk about integration being dead. Integration was old, lumpy, slow and no longer sexy. It wasn’t suited to the new socially aware age.

Back then, the stand-out campaign of the year – and it still endures today as a case study of legend – was Old Spice’s “Smell Like a Man, Man.” Of course, it was an integrated campaign.

Since then, technology has moved on apace making a mockery of the simplicity of the Mad Men era and the vintage approach and lifestyle that some still seem intent to aspire to. The classic lead generation funnel is similarly viewed by misty-eyed marketers for no more use today than charting conversions in a spreadsheet. It does not provide a representation of what actually happens outside of the boardroom.

The Current State of Integration

Today, the funnel constantly shifts. The marketing landscape consists of attention-grabbing event moments in appointment to watch television that spark conversations and actions to quick-minded reactions.

The landscape continues to change too. Facebook seemingly changes weekly, while only showing interest in numbers that are in the billions. Instagram was the anti-Facebook. Then Facebook bought it. WhatsApp was the anti-Facebook – the place where the tricky to pin down youth demographic hung out. Then Facebook bought it. Snapchat launched and was much better than Facebook’s Messenger app. And then… well, not yet.

Facebook said it changed itself from a utility to a mobile company because 65% of all social activity takes place on a mobile device, according to ComScore. Mobile devices are where we’re spending more of our time. Marketers instinctively look to target this audience. Which is why you hear “mobile first” as a mantra.

We instinctively gravitate to mobile because it’s shiny. In the same way that social was shiny before Zuckerburg started sucking the dollars out of the marketing budget with diminishing returns. The mobile device is always with the consumer, so clearly we can target them exactly when and where we want. But sadly, this is mainly where broadcast media went wrong. The 30-second spot became so popular that it became wallpaper, forcing consumers to fast-forward the ad break and agencies to dial up the creativity to stand out.

Digital banners are ten a penny. Most of us have banner blindness and an odd acceptance that a 0.1% response rate is amazing. That’s 99.9% irrelevant. Mobile is heading the same way. Inventory is cheap. Reach is high. Bang ‘em out, right? Wrong.

The Newest Integration

In a recent study from Adobe entitled “Digital Roadblock: Marketers Struggle to Reinvent Themselves” personalization was the most important priority on marketer’s lists. That’s right – it out ranked mobile.

Now, we need to understand the role of mobile in a customer’s relationship/journey with a brand and the points where you can intervene and helpfully add value.

Integration has never been more relevant. Today’s integration is nimble, without boundaries, creative and impactful. Today’s integration understands the multiple and complex client and brand issues and the unstructured, unbound customer and prospect relationships with your brand and each other. Today’s integration understands how to use and blend the many, many tools – including mobile – at our disposal and how you can leverage them to work together.

The newest integration could be a responsive website, a useful app, a near-time response to a customer complaint in social media, an experiential stunt to surprise and delight or even a telly ad to stamp your brand and what you stand for right between the eyes.

For your brand to be successful in The Newest Integration, consider the following:

1. Think about the bigger decision making journey

Don’t get bogged down in the details by creating a banner ad. There are so many things that influence a decision. Identify the key experiences that consumers will resonate with to make a decision. Then, activate against an approach rather than just an idea.

2. Don’t be biased to one particular channel

If the environment is not right, then fix the environment. Don’t try to polish the turd with pretty creative. That will just be a waste of time, money and resources.

3. Avoid the temptation to attain the social status of another brand

Brands and consumers both want to be authentic. Create your own trends and establish your own voice to increase engagement and overall business results. Don’t be another me-too brand in our me-first world. It simply won’t work.

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