I recently had the opportunity to speak on this topic for a session at the annual KCDMA Bootcamp. It is always an honor to present among the quality lineup of speakers which this year featured the topics of SEO, email marketing, networking, mental toughness, and analytics. I proposed and accepted the challenge to tackle the “integrated” topic as it is one that I see becoming more and more important in the current era of marketing.
Can You Be More Ambiguous?
The three-word phrase “integrated digital marketing” is a general and somewhat vague term when we think about all of the various strategic and tactical subject matter it may include. My use of it is intentional as it allows me to account for the myriad categorizations and definitions of all of the activities that would fall under the digital marketing umbrella.
We can slice and dice digital marketing a ton of different ways and the list below is just a small sampling of additional groupings of digital marketing and specific functions.
- Channel Marketing
- Inbound Marketing
- Outbound Marketing
- Paid, Earned, Owned Media
- Paid & Organic
- Integrated Marketing
- Account Based Marketing (ABM)
- Marketing Automation
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
- Big Data
Keep in mind that even the term “digital marketing” is still just a few years old as the leading term for the industry after overtaking “online marketing” in 2014.
Blow Up the Silos
I am not bothered by how things are classified as things are sure to change and new terminology and acronyms will continue to emerge. At the end of the day my focus is on getting us all out of siloed thinking about the different channels or functional areas and to understand that we need each other a lot more than we likely realize. At the end of the day, we’re doing a lot of the same activities while approaching them from our functional perspectives. When we’re willing to blog up the silos we can see a lot of positive change including greater efficiencies, insights, and campaign performance.
Without getting into the generalist vs. specialist debate, I want to highlight the fact that the lines are blurry between pretty much all of the digital marketing channels. It is hard to do any of them without content, inbound requires traffic often driven by outbound sources, SEO & PPC share many data and functional similarities, social can be both paid and organic, and on and on. It benefits us greatly to recognize the fact that knowing and understanding a wider range of subject matter and unifying our efforts can pay off big time for our companies.
What Unites Us
Ultimately, we are unified in our companies or for our clients around the same end-goals for the business. In most cases the end-goal is about profit, revenue, or ROI. When we get on the same page for our end goals, then we can work backwards to define the things that need to happen for us to reach that goal. In a general sense, digitally that includes:
- website conversions (lead submissions, tracked phone calls, ecommerce sales)
- website traffic
- engagement on digital channels (off-site) impressions
It is possible in most of the digital channels to define what activities fit into those buckets and report on them in a similar way.
The list below is just a sample of the types of things that cross over different subject matter and functional areas that are beneficial for us to come out of our silos to share and collaborate on:
- Audience Research (included keyword research)
- Competitor Research
- Content Strategy
- Content Development
- Website Forms
- Call Tracking
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- Analytics & Reporting
- Meetings & Consultation with Stakeholders
- CRM Data Integration
- Website UX
- Attribution & Modeling
- Big Data & Insights
- Creative & Branding
- Website Development Needs
- Calls to Action (CTR)
- Inbound Workflows
- Lead Nurturing & Sales Support
- Thought Leadership
Admittedly, it can be challenging to get all subject matter experts and functional areas aligned and to blow up the silos entirely. I took baby steps in my own role at Voltage when challenged by a teammate on how I was holding onto a familiar channel structure in 2013. I want to encourage you to find areas of alignment and a good starting point though, and defining end-goals and working backwards is a great place to begin and then from there, jump into the shared activities that you can scale and leverage.