The Critical Importance of Integration

Becky Morehouse

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Part 2 of 12: What I wish I knew as a new marketer

Last week we talked about strategy: Rethinking Your Idea of Strategy

This week I’m spending a little time on integrated marketing. Rather than focus on the marketing element, however, I want to turn our attention to an often-overlooked part of integrated marketing: integration.

For this blog to make sense I will use a robust definition of integrated marketing (IM) that includes the 4Ps or the 4Cs.1 IMC, on the other hand, focuses largely (solely?) on the communication or promotional dimension of marketing.

With this in mind, to realize the full value and power of integrated marketing you must remember to integrate your marketing efforts in three ways.

Beginning Integration

First, your marketing must integrate with your strategic plan. There is a big danger when marketing is divorced from the larger institutional strategy or when marketing is considered an afterthought by your strategic planning team. Strategic integration means that your marketing team shares the same institutional vision as your planning team.

Second, your marketing must be integrated throughout the organization. This means that the marketing efforts of the admission office link with the marketing efforts of advancement, academic, and athletics.

Third, your marketing must integrate with your messaging. In other words, what you say is consistent with what you do. The result is message symphony rather than cacophony, buzz rather than simply more noise.

When it comes to integration your messages must also be consistent across different media platforms. What you say on your website must be consistent with what you say on social, campus visits, and transit ads.

Impact of Integrated Marketing

While integrated marketing takes more effort and requires both coordination and anticipation, the positive impact is enormous.

Integrated marketing will save you time. You will achieve more results faster. The synergy you create will increase the impact of your overall marketing efforts.  

Integration will save you money. There be less waste not only in your budget, but in your planning efforts.  

Fourth, the impact of integrated marketing is easier to measure.  

And finally, integrated marketing means that you will have fewer public miscues. 

I’ve learned from experience that integrated marketing is almost never driven from the bottom. It takes a visionary or two on the senior team to not only understand what integrated marketing can offer the institution, but to make it happen.

If you’d like to discuss this definition of strategy, or need help with the foundational research, please drop me a line at: becky.morehouse@stamats.com

Read Part 3: Six Critical Alignments to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Strategy

1Long ago I realized that a robust integrated marketing plan is largely the same thing as an institutional strategic plan.

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