Integrated marketing communications is now broadly embraced by marketers, according to a recent survey of members of the Association of National Advertisers.
The online survey of nearly 200 marketers was conducted in April by CoActive Marketing Group. The results showed that the majority (74%) of marketers now employ integrated marketing campaigns for most or all of their brands. Yet challenges remain, with only one-quarter of marketers rating their company's integrated marketing efforts “very good” or “excellent.”
That is actually an improvement compared with years past. The ANA conducted the same survey in 2003 and 2006, giving it a five-year trend picture. In 2003, only 21% of marketers gave their integrated efforts a “very good” or “excellent” rating.
“Marketers are starting to do a better job,” said Frank Dudley, CMO of CoActive Marketing Group.” Dudley presented the study findings at the ANA Integrated Marketing Conference in New York May 29.
The biggest barriers to effective integrated marketing, according to the survey respondents, are the existence of functional silos (59%) and the lack of strategic consistency across communications disciplines (42%). These problems were also cited in the earlier surveys.
“The most serious challenge for integrated marketing programs is still without doubt the existence of functional silos within the company,” Dudley said. “Marketers feel they are doing a better job in this area, but they still have a long way to go. It's slow going.”
Glen Gilbert, VP-brand management and marketing communications for Lenovo U.S. and a panelist at the ANA event, said his company has made strides in terms of removing functional silos. “While they haven't quite dissipated, they are much less of an impediment than they once were,” he said.
Among the other barriers cited by respondents were: insufficient marketing budget (36%), lack of a standard measurement process (36%), lack of needed skill sets among marketing staff (33%) and the need to develop the “big creative idea” that can be leveraged across different media disciplines (32%).
Another panelist at the ANA event, Amy Fuller, group executive-Americas marketing for MasterCard Worldwide, said measurement has “always been a problem child. The better we get at integrating things, the more difficult it is to isolate different elements of the marketing mix.”
Fuller added: “We spend a lot of time on measurement. Isolating the effects of the mediums is the issue. Our current tracking methods would reward a marketer to put all money in broadcast TV.
“The most convincing tool, if only everyone would believe it, is regression modeling. Because it's a model, selling it internally is very tricky, but so far that is the best thing I've been able to do. We need to understand what it is [that] marketing shifted in terms of customer behavior.” M