Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What exactly is 'integration'?

The term 'integration' is thrown around more than most terms in digital marketing.

Ask 5 people from 5 different elements (sales, creative, media, client, data) what it means and generally you will get a different answer.

A sales guy might think Integration is bringing in the offline sales guy to sell some mag space and throwing in a production line to build a competition page in the response.

A creative agency may feel integration is using the same strapline across media and the same images and core colours.

A media agency (not mine ... but some) may consider integration getting some online value add for free as part of an offline media buy.

A client may consider integration putting banners on AFL.com.au because they have a broadcast deal with a station that broadcasts the games.

What I do know is this ...

- it isn't mirroring
- it isn't a microsite
- it's not a competition
- it isn't advertorial
- it's not about a a media buy across a media group
- it's not about a url at the bottom of your TVC, mag ad, bus shelter
- it's not a hybrid of digital and broadcast media
- it doesn't mean reallocating spend from TV to digital
- it is not using digital mediums simply because there are eyeballs to be found
- it's not grabbing a TVC and streaming it in a banner
- it's not using the same images as your mag ad for your medium rectangle
- it is not limited to "marketing communications" ... it relates to your website, CRM, call centre and in store staff
- it is not simply about channel planning or "media neutral" strategy
- it's not about specialist silo's working to a compromised brief
- it is not about ignoring key metrics for success
- cut through/disrpution is not a metric
- real analytics are not a luxury, they are a neccessity. And I don't mean post view and CPA ... I mean Business Science
- it's not about being 'clever' or cute

Tone and purpose of communication are two elements that we need to considered more - especially across channels. A good old who/what/where/why is also valuable.

So - what exactly is integration? This was a question that came up at a brainstorm I was at on Friday. It's been on my mind since.

I'm going to throw the question out to a few people in the industry and see what they come back with ... whilst also throwing in my own 2 cents.

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