It may seem like so much facile wordplay, but the fundamental need for advertisers to move from the dated notion of ‘integrated marketing’ to the more contemporary concept of ‘integrating marketing’ makes sense for a number of reasons. First, it’s active. ‘Advertising’ must be thought of a verb: an active pursuit that demands ongoing care and engagement. Given the constant stream of opinion that fills and influences the content streaming over social media, brands and their agency protectors can ill afford to fall into the old habit of ‘set it and forget it.’ Today, brand advocacy demands a deeper commitment to insure their ongoing health; we always have to be doing something. Because brands are opinions.
Another upside of re-imagining our job as ‘Integrating Marketing’ is that it encourages a broader view that incorporates both paid, earned and even ‘drive-by’ media like Twitter and brand review sites. The messages we produce and introduce to the marketplace create movement and impact, but they are hardly the last word. With purchase intent so driven by recommendation and word of mouth, agencies need to monitor and ideally, impact, every available platform for widespread opinion sharing.
Ultimately, the real reason to reorient ourselves toward ‘integrating’ marketing is that our market is continually disintegrating. Through technology like DVR’s, Hulu and YouTube, the market continually expands away from one common location. To reach these far flung micro audiences requires a constant process of ‘integrating’ them back into a larger group around a common bond.
So, are you integrated? Or are you integrating?