Is “integration” a dirty word?

Tuesday October 29, 2013

written by Dennis Jenders

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Admittedly, I may be trying too hard to promote conversation with that headline. When Nick invited me to contribute to the Adworkers blog I didn’t expect to have the honor of being the first guest blogger. You could argue that sets me up for success, as the bar is set pretty low.

When it comes to integrated marketing I often find acceptance and resistance in equal parts. Informally polling the community, it appears we agree the idea of integration is a good thing, yet assume it means more compromise than collaboration.

And why shouldn’t we? When it comes to integration we have many hurdles. Teams disagree on where ideas start, our clients still budget by channel and we jockey internally for a larger piece of the pie. Too often we go off to develop ideas in our own silos, simply sharing visuals or messaging across channels.

Integration is much more than that. It should be an outcome built on collaboration.

As an example, that means understanding that digital and analog worlds will (and should) collide. We can not force or limit creativity any more than we can ignore technology. If we start with empathy and understanding we can collaborate much more effectively.

The consumer doesn’t see any separation, why should we? Companies like Apple continue to set the expectation that the intersection of creativity and technology will result in a superior product and experience.

I got it! What if we just agree to drop the word integration in favor of truly collaborative marketing that will make all the work we do better? Lets continue to blur lines, challenge the status quo and challenge each other.

If we are going to collaborate successfully, what does that look like?

Consumer and Community.

As a planner I live at the intersection of the brand and the consumer, searching for simple truth and insight that will inspire our teams to design truly great and effective experiences.

But more and more we find ourselves designing experiences that build relationships and are meant to be socialized. Don’t stop thinking about the consumer, but start thinking about the community. How can you align the objectives of a business or brand with the objectives of a community?

Collaborate with your community.

The Intersection of Creativity and Technology.

On a recent trip to San Francisco I had the opportunity to visit Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. There mission is quite simple. “Make stuff that people care about.”

How do they do it? Their core teams consist of a strategist, a creative director and a member of their user-experience team. They believe so strongly in creating experiences that they start by collaborating early to design a holistic digital and analog experience.

Collaborate with new teams.

Hack the World

Goodby has also embraced a hacker culture. Their definition of a hack, or hacking? “Remove the gap between the commercial imperative and the creative solution.”

Collaborate with a bias towards speed, iteration and innovation.

Forget the Past

40% of the budget is for media, 40% is for production and 20% is for digital. Where is the line item for research and development? Maybe it is time to suggest one?

Lets forget the way we’ve always done things.  You have 100% of the budget to create an experience for your consumer and community. How are you going to do it?

Collaborate and conspire against tired, predictable solutions.

In Closing

Coming full circle, I don’t know if I have raised or lowered the bar. But I do hope this is a start of a conversation that community will take part in. What are your thoughts? How are you collaborating across teams, disciplines or channels? What is working? What isn’t?

It’s simple, share your thought here or how about you send me a tweet?

 

BIOGRAPHY

With more than 15 years of marketing experience Dennis Jenders provides strategic leadership for clients as Vice President of Digital + Communications Strategy at Laughlin Constable. He is also leading the effort to educate the next generation of marketers as an adjunct professor at Marquette University and president-elect of the Milwaukee Interactive Marketing Association.

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