Why one + one is not proper integrated sales and marketing

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

"Integration" is a hot term driven by a combination of seven environmental factors. I contend that "integration" means creating a consistent experience across the customer's interaction with the brand. The challenge is that it is often siloed into one-on-one situations that aren't tracked. For example, a customer service agent on the phone might not know that a customer has tried to return an item to the store three times.

The true catalyst of integration evolves around understanding and embracing the value of a customer's engagement. Experience and evidence shows us that the fully engaged digital and social B2B and B2C brands are the only ones that can fully deliver the promise of integration. Without embracing this philosophy, organizations appear somewhat doomed to poke around the promise of integration.

Digital and social brands that embrace integration reap far more benefits from customer journey-based integration because they get the double-edged opportunity to react faster to market changes, and gain insights ahead of the competition. This is based on managing the customer's journey and leveraging social and digital as the engagement mechanism.

A Set of POVs to Drive Your Future

In a series of points of views over the next few months we are going to walk through what it takes to be truly integrated, and not just with one or two functions, but across a wide range. We have seen evidence in best practices that the pressure to do social and digital "right" is even greater than before. A limited perspective (one + one) will miss the wider and more effective opportunity.

One + One is Not Really Integration

Integrated online and offline, integrated online and social, integrated sales and channel, integrated media and marketing, integrated communications and brand: These are the marketing (and sometimes sales-based) marriages, especially inside B2B, we increasingly hear about. We call this integration, the integration of one + one. One function plus another bonding together at some point in the customer's journey. This is a start, but it really is an old world way of thinking and taking advantage of integration.

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In counseling a new CEO recently on the importance of the First 100 days, we encountered a familiar challenge.

ceo

The CEO’s organization, while successful, needs change. Old attitudes and outmoded ways of doing things have become encrusted, and the first hundred days represent a unique opportunity to break those molds at a time when change is almost universally expected and the organization is likely to be most receptive to it.

At the same time, skeptics within the organization are likely to doubt the new CEO’s fidelity to the organization’s core principles. They will almost certainly (though incorrectly) view the change as undermining those principles – and, though they surely won’t admit it, threatening to themselves and to their careers. These skeptics are especially likely to be clustered in a part of the organization most closely associated with carrying out the organization’s mission, and physically separated from the corporate headquarters.

This isn’t unusual. Consider, for example, the skepticism with which journalists at the Wall Street Journal greeted Rupert Murdoch’s takeover, or the people at IBM first reacted to the first CEO to come from outside the company. And, to be fair, the skepticism isn’t always unjustified.

In situations like this, one of the most powerful tools in the new CEO’s arsenal is symbolism. All CEO’s have a mandate for change – some more than others, to be sure, but studies show significant change, especially in strategy and in the leadership team is almost universally expected.

But some change is especially symbolic, and either by design or by accident will send a powerful and lasting message. It’s vitally important that the new CEO seize opportunities to send these symbolic messages, and avoid sending the wrong ones inadvertently. And don’t confuse “symbolic” with “superficial.” It is the substance of these key actions that makes them symbolic.

 

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PulsePoint Group
February 24, 2011

A recap of the previous week’s POV posts:

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PulsePoint Group
February 9, 2011

As a strategic consulting firm, counsel is only as good as it is palatable to our clients. Some might interpret that as requiring that we supply strategic insight that adds value to our clients. While that is at the core of what we do, it isn't what I am referring to.

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PulsePoint Group
February 2, 2011

A recap of the previos week's POV posts:

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PulsePoint Group
January 26, 2011

A recap of the previous week's POV posts:

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PulsePoint Group
January 19, 2011

A recap of the previous week's POV posts:

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PulsePoint Group
January 14, 2011

Clients often ask us about best practices in corporate communications and for examples of how best-in-class organizations implement them. These engagements vary depending on the client's needs and their industry, but one constant is the need to benchmark those organizations that are among the first to transform emerging communications practices into core competencies.

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There is a lot of social media advice out there and it can be tough to know where to start. You should definitely develop a strategy and do some planning before launching, but don't let extensive planning and the need for perfection prevent you from getting started. Here are five tips that you can use now to create content for a social media program, even in a large organization. But, before you launch, make sure you have buy-in on all of these rules from key stakeholders. If not, you'll face an uphill battle after you are already active.

content-creation

1. Be Transparent

When it comes to social media, the best content is transparent and honest. I believe this is the most important tip when writing social media content.

For example, if your company is running a contest, post the terms and conditions. Clearly state who can participate and what constitutes a violation. You can be sure before someone "Likes" your page or follows your blog, they are going to want to know your company can be trusted. And if you write something that turns out to be false, blow the whistle on yourself and make it right.

2. Be Helpful

This tip is especially true if your company is interacting with consumers. Companies who help their customers get talked about (i.e. Best Buy, Home Depot). On that same note, companies who fall short and aren't able to deliver solutions get talked about. It is important to set clear expectations here. If you don't have the bandwidth to respond to everyone, then make it clear how they can contact you for help. Managing expectations will help you help your customers. However, a good rule of thumb is if you respond to a problem, you own it.

 

3. Speak in Your Brand's Language

It's essential that everything you say online "sound" like your brand. If you are in a role that requires you to be active online, it's crucial you are familiar with your company's "brand speak." Additionally, third parties that consult on behalf of your company need to be educated on your brand's colloquial tone. Skittles does an excellent job of posting statuses that are unique and truly resonate with the brand. The statuses average 1,000 comments and over 10,000 likes.

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PulsePoint Group
January 12, 2011

A recap of the previous week's POV posts:

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