An Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy Begins with Sharing and Caring

Companies that utilize integrated communication strategies inspire brilliant campaigns, forge better relationships between publics and put themselves in a good position to manage their reputation should the need arise. If you follow marketing communications in any way online, you’ll see several examples of how not being truly “integrated” can backfire. Teams need to learn how to better share information and actually care about what their counterparts in other disciplines are doing.

Most marketing fails begin when one tactical group doesn’t understand or appreciate the challenges of another. As online marketing becomes more commonplace, digital marketing (unfortunately) frequently offers a public record of this miscommunication.

The latest example of an online marketing fail started on T.V. After a report by “60 Minutes” claimed the company sold flooring with illegal levels of formaldehyde, Lumber Liquidators’ stock plummeted from near $70 to just a little over $30.

Despite company claims that it was in compliance with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and “60 Minutes” used improper testing methods to support its claims, Lumber Liquidators continues to take hits from investors and the media.

Usually, when a company is under this kind of scrutiny it pulls back its marketing and advertising efforts, reevaluating its strategy to protect the brand. In this case, the company forgot one big tactic in broad view of the public. Its ads continued to pop up in sidebars while readers researched the company’s recent troubles.

As investor relations and PR undoubtedly scrambled to fix the mess, someone forgot to alert the digital marketing team that digital needed to match its efforts.

This is unfortunate, but it could happen to any communications team in a crisis that isn’t fully integrated. To avoid a simple miscommunication teams need to work in sync.

Integration allows for quick solutions

When a company is in a crisis, a fully integrated communications team allows for a quick execution of strategies that target specific markets. Working together, an entire team can mobilize quickly and shift strategies together. Simply involving the digital group in initial discussions would have prevented the Lumber Liquidators issue.

Communication is key

If multiple team members are working on different projects in the same integrated campaign, a regular source of updates should be established. If not meetings, an intranet alert system – anything to stay on the same page. The goal is to facilitate communication so the message is consistent.

Similarly, if your company outsources to different agencies, there needs to be someone tapped to coordinate efforts and secure consistent, quick communication between teams.

Maintain a consistent, transparent message

In the midst of a crisis, news organizations start reaching out immediately. In an integrated team with a constant exchange of communication, everyone is on the same page, so if a leak does happen it’s consistent with the message communicated by the public relations practitioners.

Lumber Liquidators’ brand was tainted by just one T.V. special and overnight the stock plummeted. The world is moving faster than ever before, and your company needs an integrated strategy that allows for flexibility and resilience.