In most situations, all marcom disciplines are not deployed on one customer-focused team. In those instances, someone and/or some function needs to bring the disciplines together at critical times for strategic development and executional alignment.
Common situations are:
- Client marketing department working with one agency.
- Client marketing department working with multiple agencies.
- Multiple internal client departments working with one agency.
- Multiple internal client departments working with multiple agencies.
As you move down the above list, the situations get more complicated and the chances for turf wars and communication breakdown increase.
Often, when multiple organizations work together, they don't draw on each other's strengths and relative points of view to execute a project. The first mistake they usually make is to develop their own situation analysis and move into strategy without thoroughly consulting each other.
Resources are wasted on redundant research and conclusions often based on incomplete information.
Here's a checklist for integrating multiple disciplines:
- Together, build a list of information needed for a thorough situation analysis.
- Together, determine how, when, by whom and on whose budget this information will be mined.
- Together, share the entire body of primary and secondary research.
- Together, develop a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis (SWOT).
- Together, develop a list of conclusions.
- Together, establish objectives.
- Together, brainstorm strategic scenarios using various combinations of disciplines.
- Individually, develop ideas within the disciplines in alignment with the agreed-upon strategy.
- Together, determine how these scenarios will be judged for feasibility or tested for ROI.
- Together, develop timetable or critical path.
- Individually, execute the work within the disciplines.
- Together, keep each other current on progress and opportunities to coordinate.
- Together, track, measure and analyze the results.
- Together, determine the next steps to start the second loop of the process.
If you can pull this off, you have found the holy grail of integration. You are in marketing utopia.
Note: The next chapter is an outline of the processes we follow when developing IMC programs. Its content is somewhat academic in nature and is meant to be used as a reference and checklist.