Consistency Is a Virtue: The Integrated Marketing Imperative

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It was so much easier when there was just one “customer entrance,” but today’s businesses have to manage a lot more doors – and they don’t all open the same way.  Even so, when customers enter a business through their phone, tablet, PC, online ad, or web site – or through an actual door – the experience has to feel consistent in order for a brand to resonate with buyers.  1to1 Media has put together a great infographic that illustrates this challenge for marketers, as well as the difference in what companies are saying -- and what they are actually doing. 

Besides having all these points of entry to manage, it would also be a lot easier for marketers if customers would just pick one channel and stick with it.  No such luck; customers bounce from channel to channel, online to offline, and it’s up to businesses to bring fragmented moments together into the seamless experience that customers expect.  This is why, according to Aberdeen Group, that over half of retailers consider this as the primary driver to create a robust omnichannel experience. 
The rewards are certainly there for businesses that can do it right:  advanced marketing practitioners enjoy increased customer satisfaction and improved campaign performance.   In addition, those revenue gains go up even further due to a shorter sales cycle.  When sales and marketing teams form an unbroken circle of data and collaboration around customers, insights turn into directed action that accelerates growth.
The simple truth is that it’s not ever going to be easy; and to truly align a company’s brands, products, and marketing messages, consistency is only the first step.  A recent article, also from 1to1 Media, highlights many of the challenges faced when building a cohesive strategy that encompasses all channels.  Some key issues:
A legacy of silos:  Many companies have a traditional “departmental’ structure;  a consistent brand message requires the education – and buy-in – of the entire organization so that every customer touchpoint is seen as a connected entity.
Service vs. sales:  A cultural shift needs to occur within organizations so that every customer interaction is seen as having a marketing function.  For instance, contact centers were traditionally viewed only as destinations for customer support; but savvy businesses can extend a customized sales offer based on what a customer’s online viewing habits were before they called.  
Single-purpose tech:  The siloed mentality of many companies has carried over into technology choices that serve one department, but that hinder the free flow of information and collaboration.  An organization-wide, integrated knowledge platform allows the customer experience to become a collective focus.

Many partners, disjointed message:  Brand messaging that doesn’t resonate – or is just plain confusing – is a problem that gets exacerbated when there are multiple business partners who don’t stay on message.  A specialized agency might understand a particular channel well, but every channel partner has the potential to negatively impact the push for consistency.
Bring a map:  A true alignment between brand, product and message is not just about “being on the same page;” a holistic strategy requires a map of the customer’s experience across the spectrum of touchpoints, and a customer experience strategy that delivers not just consistency, but resonance.   Companies that can create a consistent yet personalized interaction are the ones poised to capture more market share, and create more loyal brand promoters.

To read the full story from 1to1 Media, click here.