The workforce has been in a constant state of transformation ever since its inception. It has continuously needed to shift and change in order to meet the needs of an ever-evolving market, especially one that has become global and increasingly digitized. Today, it’s facing yet another revolution, necessitated by a new era of digital transformation and an influx in communications aimed at consumers by brands globally. This time, however, it’s not about what tool we can add to our portfolio or about adding anything at all. Instead, it’s about consolidating and cleaning up the mess of processes and teams and messages that have been the result of decades of change and innovation. It’s time to integrate teams as well as the communications, both internal and external, that shape the overall message of a brand being promoted to consumers.
At first thought, integration may seem like an onerous task for an organization to undertake but it’s proven to be more than worth the time and energy spent working toward it. Let’s start by looking at what this means for the internal structure of an organization and the impact it will have there.
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We’ve seen it time and time again, where several teams will work in supposed tandem with one another, yet important details get lost in communication and individual team strategies prove to be completely unaligned. This leaves all teams feeling frustrated and can lead to an overall roadblock in making progress toward an end goal. Why? It’s simple: You can’t achieve a common goal if your teams’ strategies and next steps are not the same. Integrated Marketing resolves this issue by creating one unified path toward goal completion, instead of having to go back and forth between teams, ask questions that may have already been asked by another team, or needing to pivot on strategy. In short, one team + one strategy = a stronger end result and helps to keep projects on track instead of falling behind.
While this all sounds simple and effective, the question remains as to how employers are going to prepare for this structural change. Simply combining their marketing and PR teams and giving every member a new title doesn’t suffice. Workers need to develop new skills in order to fully form integrated teams and work processes. Marketers need to become aware of PR practices and skillsets and vice versa. And organizations are prepared for that. In her article, The Evolving Workplace, Patricia Duchene, a contributor at Forbes, notes that in the past three years companies spent $84 billion on employee growth and training, which is a $16 billion increase over the previous three-year period. The fact that organizations are seeing the change in the workforce and are being proactive in ensuring their employees have the skills to keep up with that change is evidence enough that integration will not simply be a fad, but a permanent shift in how brands are structured. That renewed sense of confidence in being able to integrate and deliver unified pieces of work has a ripple effect beyond the office walls.
With multiple social media platforms and news outlets bombarding consumers daily with countless ads, getting your brand’s message to stick with customers after serving them an ad or a tweet is getting harder and harder. This becomes a necessary entry point for integrated marketing to step in, as it will help streamline advertising and messaging surrounding a brand externally, just as it streamlined the internal processes behind campaign creation.
As outlined by MMC Learning, Integrated Marketing practices reshape the relationships that brands are able to build with their customers. They become stronger and more valuable as the consumer is seeing one brand image and dialogue that resonates with them instead of being served conflicting messages that will ultimately turn them away. In turn, this even has a beneficial effect on a brand’s overall sales. As a consumer begins to trust a brand more through associating the same key messages and images with a brand, they become more likely to follow the buying journey from start to purchase. And what organization doesn’t want that kind of change?
The workforce is changing, and Integrated Marketing is where it’s headed. Teams will no longer be responsible for driving their own strategies and initiatives. Instead, they’ll be tasked with working together to propel a brand into a more unified state, which will not only be reflected in the internal transformation of a company but in the customer experience being generated as a result. As organizations invest in growing their employees’ skillsets, customers will reap the benefits in being able to finally trust a brand not to pivot on messaging or to take two opposing stances. Integrated Marketing serves as a necessary transformation not only to the workforce but also to the overall relationships that brands have with their audiences.