How to Prepare a Successful Integrated Digital Marketing Program, Part 1
In this three-part series, we'll explore what an integrated digital marketing program is, why having one is important and how to make it successful using four foundational tools. Part two, which will appear in the July 24 edition of eM+C Daily, will cover the first two foundational tools required: the ability to recognize customers across channels and smart data. Part three, which will appear in the July 31 edition of eM+C Daily, will discuss the ability to personalize communications as well as how to do attribution, the last two foundational tools.
A friend of ours was recently interviewing for a job at a leading digital agency. In the course of the interviews, she was asked for examples of integrated digital marketing plans she had helped to develop. As we discussed with her what her response should be, it got us thinking of the use of the word "plan" in conjunction with "integrated digital marketing."
In the world of marketing, there are many types of plans and planners. You have media planners developing media plans, account planners developing account plans and marketing strategists developing test plans. What each of the types of plans have in common is that they're developed in advance and implemented over a specific period of time.
Let's look at media plans. These are typically associated with advertising and are used to allocate media spend across various channels (e.g., TV, print, display, outdoor, etc.) and content providers (e.g., "SportsCenter," The Wall Street Journal, "Modern Family", etc.). These plans are locked down prior to the start of a marketer’s fiscal year and are implemented with minor course corrections during that fiscal year. In a similar way, account plans and test plans are locked down and then implemented over a defined period of time.
This brings us back to the use of the word "plan" as it relates to integrated digital marketing. Can someone actually create a plan for integrated digital marketing? Let's start with what we actually mean when we talk about integrated digital marketing. Here’s a nice short definition from our friends at Wikipedia: "Integrated Marketing Communications is a simple concept. It ensures that all forms of communications and messages are carefully linked together."
Related story: 4 Tips for Creating the Integrated Marketing Illusion