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Gini Dietrich

The 10 Reasons Integration Is Crucial In 2011

By: Gini Dietrich | January 17, 2011 | 
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This blog post first ran on TheTop10Blog so if you read it there, move along to the comments, where you always find the real gold anyway.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise to you that 2011 is the year of integration.

This past year you got to play with social media tools and figure out which were most applicable to your business. Now it’s time to stop playing and integrate your traditional, digital, and mobile campaigns into one marketing and communication program.

Not convinced?  Following are 10 reasons integration is crucial this year.

  1. Privacy is going to become a bigger concern for people and they’ll begin looking for non-Facebook like networks where they can control their content and what is shared. This means your Facebook fans will begin to migrate somewhere you can no longer reach them.
  2. Customer service and HR want a role in what marketing and communications are doing through the social networks so they’ll actively search ways to stay relevant in the ever-changing technology world.
  3. No longer will you go to where your customers are participating online, they’ll come to you through the way they use the web. So your website will serve as a hub for all your social networks and then push people back out to various posts on the web. Everything you do should bring people back to something you own.
  4. The recent decision from the FFC on net neutrality means the way you use the web, and the way you develop apps for smart phones, could change as early as March. Pay super close attention to what this means because, as a business and as a consumer, you may have to pay for access to certain things on the web, just like you do with cable television.
  5. Developing campaigns under an integrated strategy will force you to look at where your audience is already participating online, how you can connect with them, how you can extend the conversation, and how you can get them to introduce you to others. In some cases this will happen online; in others it will be offline. Don’t ignore one for the other.
  6. The day of simply pushing the same message in all of the channels is gone. It’s time to customize the role of each channel for your benefit, but by remaining selfless. You can do this online and offline.
  7. Customers are becoming even more fragmented so an integrated approach is necessary. Some Baby Boomers, for instance, won’t do business without shaking your hand while most Gen Yers won’t do business by shaking your hand.
  8. Companies such as Zappos and Starbucks have changed the way we do business. Our customers (and it doesn’t matter if they’re B2C or B2B) want to have a voice in our process and they want to have access to all of the people who work within the four walls. Innovation tools such as Salesforce Ideas, UserVoice, and GetSatisfaction allow you to build products in real time with customers.
  9. Employees are using technologies such as Yammer and Basecamp to communicate with one another, without the approval of IT. The opportunity to integrate these tools into your employee and internal communication strategy is prime.
  10. The opportunity to organize the company in a centralized model has never been better. Research from Altimeter shows companies are “organizing in at least five different models.” Creating a centralized model allows internal teams to assemble in order to share and learn and then communicate with external audiences.

What do you think? Are you integrating everything? Why or why not?

P.S. We’re having an encore of our Nine Marketing Trends webinar on Jan. 25. We’ll cover some of these things and also explore how you can integrate one or all of the trends in your planning this year. You can get a $10 discount if you register by tomorrow night.

Love the image from IIAnalytics – thanks!

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

40 comments
EricaAllison
EricaAllison

Gini, you've just given me inspiration for another blog post! At the risk of wiki-leaking it here...it's about authenticity in this push for integration. What strikes me most often as I read about, embrace and plan for integration is that in one's zest for integration of all things SM, PR and Marketing, there may be a breach in authenticity. Tune in tomorrow for more. Night-night!

bdorman264
bdorman264

Please, just tell me where to go and what I can and can't do.............

Integration is crucial because there are so many sources and venues and who knows what your employees are saying out there. You don't want to stifle creativity, but you don't want loose cannons either. With integration you should at least be able to get your arms around it and see what works while also maintaining some semblance of control.

I'm old school but willing to see what it is all about; I have seen businesses who would benefit greatly from the use of social media but are absolutely paralyzed because of the potential perceived negative implications. I guess they just need someone like @ginidietrich to guide them through the maze.

I think if a business is going down this road, they should really consider a 'pro' because there are just so many moving parts and it changes every day. That sounded pretty old school, huh? I told you I'm trying................:)

Martyn Chamberlin
Martyn Chamberlin

Great post with some keen insights.

but

I flatly disagree with point #1. You're reading the whole privacy thing backwards.

Back in the early days of Internet, people were afraid to say anything about themselves. They called them selves 'djohn7887,' used Winnie the Pooh as their avatar, and made up their age.

It's taken years for us to get over this. The other day, someone tweeted that 2010 marked the year that they no longer thought of meeting other people on the Internet as "creepy."

The fact is, the trend is towards more open, not towards closed and private. Facebook has over %7 of the world population because people are embracing it. Don't forget, you can set your Facebook privacy settings to VERY private if you chose. The fact is, people are willingly going public with more and more all the time. The problem isn't Facebook, it's humans. A new platform ("non-Facebook") would not alter this status quo. Few would use it. The statistics prove it.

We love sacrificing privacy for convenience.

You're smart Gini. I'm surprised you don't see this? You don't read Robert Scoble much, do you?

John Falchetto
John Falchetto

Missed the original post on Top 10blogs, glad you reposted it here.

Your predictions are interesting. How do you see the move away from FB affecting businesses?

I am waiting to see the non-FB type networks come up with the increased privacy concern.

wabbitoid
wabbitoid

Integration is one thing - strategy is how it's done effectively.

I said a while ago that the next big trend would be all about strategy, and I stand by it. Integration without strategy is a recipe for disaster - a chimerical beast that cannot be tamed. This is the problem with a lot of Microsoft products, Facebook, and a few other attempts at integrating ev'r'thang into one that left us all wanting something else.

I agree that integration is essential, but it has to be done well. A big company is going to have to have a real commitment to democracy before it can craft a strategy that works well towards integration, too, so this could be a good moment for the small and nimble. Fasten your seatbelts!

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

You are always making lists! Never heard of Yammer or Basecamp will have to check them out. Can I communicate with Jack Bauer there?

I hope to upgrade my rotary dial phone this year. They have these new fangled ones with push buttons.

3HatsComm
3HatsComm

Missed this over at Top10, glad to see it here. Integration is my favorite tune and think you've really done some good forecasting Gini. And since you like my comments ;-), FWIW:

I think #1 and #5 will dovetail; people will seek out networks optimized for them: as in for ways to protect themselves for privacy, for what they share and what they see. They'll find tools or networks that allow them to avoid and block all that push #6 marketing. You'll need to see where they go and more importantly find better ways to reach them than broadcasting.

For #2, #8 and #9 .. I think these will apply to small businesses a lot in the future. Some functions once outsourced won't be, the tools and tactics once reserved for big brands can be efficiently, effectively leveraged by small biz. They can collect customer feedback, share info with their 25 employees, keep the sales and service support teams all on the same page.

One thing I think you've missed is the inevitable backlash. People will scale back their networks to sites and forums most specific to their needs, most adaptive to their interests and preferences. I think businesses stuck in that old school mentality will duke it out over who controls what, who leads the way, think IT/security concerns aren't going anyway. Like with social media marketing in general, adoption and adaptation to a lot of these will come from the top, as C-suite sees the rewards trumping the risks.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@bdorman264 It's funny. When I speak, one of the first things I ask is, "Why don't you want to use social media?" And I hear everything from "my customers don't use the Internet" to "it's just for kids" to "no one buys online." Yes, in 2011 I still hear those things. Most people really perceive a loss of control so we talk a lot about the fact that you never really had control...you just didn't know what people were saying about you behind your back.

So...wouldn't you rather (at a minimum) monitor the social web (so you know if there are loose cannons) and listen to what all of your stakeholders are saying? It becomes less scary when you're listening vs. participating.

3HatsComm
3HatsComm

@ginidietrich @HowieG @Martyn Chamberlin Another thing on privacy, Martyn.. you're not wrong and yet I know people who are stunned someone snagged a picture of them of an internet site for a bogus avatar or how a friend of a neighbor of a friend used the same app, was able to see and SHARE any and everything. It's not just knowing how the privacy settings work, it's seeing that others can find their ways around them too, how the dots connect. Plus IMO it's way too complicated,

I for one miss and still use the anonymous IDs where appropriate. Yes I am more open about a lot of things than ever, but at the same time.. there is great freedom in privacy. I don't want or need friends or family or business associates knowing my every online move, every like, every TV show I chat over obsessively, all the time I waste on YT and Hulu when I should be working .. ah, crap. Ahem. Some people are willing to go public yes .. but then, I know more people NOT on FB than on it. The main reason is time/interest/real life but the second reason they're not "social" is privacy. FWIW.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@HowieG @Martyn Chamberlin Like Howie said, most people don't know they can opt out of the open settings Facebook automatically puts you in. We know because we work Facebook from a business perspective. But most people think the way Facebook gives them something new is how it has to be. And, instead of spending time learning how to lock down their accounts, they're going to migrate to something they perceive more private.

Martyn Chamberlin
Martyn Chamberlin

@HowieG @ginidietrich This commenting system really confuses me. How on earth do you know my name?

Sounds like you know a lot more about Facebook than I do. I actually deleted my account about six months ago...

So yeah. Sounds like you've proven pretty conclusively that people like a lot of things to be private. It's us power users that are the exception. :)

But Gini, I think Howie makes an interesting point. The fact is, Facebook supports privacy fairly heavily. Users control how much data they're sharing. So I'd be interested in hearing why you think we're going to start seeing a migration away from Facebook.

That said, I hate big companies and would love to see their numbers go down. heh.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@Martyn Chamberlin Martyn!!!!! I wanted to respond to your point on privacy. I run a Facebook Brand Page for a client. Over 80% of all the profiles are 100% private. When I checked out on Facebook the Social Media Marketing RockStars almost all had 100% private accounts. I know we share a ton on Twitter but I think people who are closer friends and family share much more in private than putting stuff out there.

So on one hand you are correct we so put a ton out there willingly. But I think if given a choice more stuff will be kept below the table. @ginidietrich and I talk publically on Twitter and also plenty of DM's. Each time someone DM's a marketer can't see what is going on. So I just think we want to pick and choose what we share with the world and remember the current social media platforms were created to exploit even force you to be more open because they want to sell your data. But what if we had options? For every Facebook Status update there are 183 private SMS texts being sent.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@John Falchetto I think people will still "like" the businesses on Facebook where they get real value. If the page is solely to push marketing at me, I'm going to leave you in the dust. But if you provide me value, I'll keep you in my inner sanctum. It's really no different that what @HowieG was telling @Martyn Chamberlin . Those of us who are really concerned with privacy on Facebook opt out of everything and keep it all private anyway. I won't leave Facebook because I love it, but you can bet it's locked down tight.

3HatsComm
3HatsComm

@ginidietrich @taylorfyhrie Taylor, it'll be a mix. Small businesses will outsource things it's more cost effective to do so.. when they need those skills, expertise and yet with some of these tools, they'll be empowered to keep at least some of it inhouse, find ways to collaborate, etc.

Gini, I see the power play.. even in small business. Frankly the way certain groups want to pit PR vs. social vs. marketing against each other like a turf war; now R&D and HR want in too. It's about control, who gets the most budget, who gets the most C-level access, etc. Security concerns are valid, IT upgrades a legit expense but ducking your head in the sand won't change the way things are moving. I just gotta think companies that forget the infighting, stay nimble, adapt and integrate will have more success. FWIW.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@taylorfyhrie@3HatsComm
Davina, great point about the backlash. I see that already happening...rogue CEOs (like me) who want IT to keep up and IT who refuse. And the business leaders who still think they control the messaging (like they ever did).

Taylor, love that you're already seeing the shift with your small business clients. Do you mind sharing...what is the average age of your client? I'd be curious to know if it's age-specific or if you've just happened upon some really early adopters. If it's the latter, may I say, LUCKY!

taylorfyhrie
taylorfyhrie

@3HatsComm I agree that # 2, #8 and #9 are becoming more effective tools for small businesses. I've already started to see this shift in my line of work, doing marketing for small businesses.

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