Monday, June 8, 2009

Episode 5 - Integrated Marketing Communications

OK, Beth Harte is on a roll in recent weeks. As I dug deeper into some posts I had not read, I found this topic that I believe really hits home in our industry.

For me, I feel many departments are interacting more with Marketing due to technology, websites, social media, and the Internet in general. IT & Marketing, Marketing & PR, Communications & Marketing, HR & Marketing, Customer Service & Marketing, etc. I think Beth references an interesting topic with integrated marketing communications in her post "Communication Silos Don't Work". One of the biggest complaints we continue to hear in our industry is communication breakdown. What I am suggesting in this week's video is, while Finance dominates our industry, Marketing needs to take its place as the glue and hub for company communications. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Sorry folks, video is not posting correctly. I should have it up soon.

  2. Thanks for the post, Mark ... it's a conversation that needs to happen in almost every organization today.

    Beth has an interesting take on the subject, but I'm not sold that one department (in her case, PR; in yours, marketing) has to "own" new communication tools for a company. In fact, I think you limit your opportunities to truly leverage many social networking sites and other communication tools if they're primarily owned by PR, or marketing, or customer service ... it takes too much responsibility off of the other departments.

    This is why I like implementing some of these tools internally first (wikis, private social networks and Yammer are great examples). This way, everyone gets familiar with the features and how they can benefit the organization. Then, when you launch a customer-facing effort, people aren't threatened and they feel more comfortable participating and connecting with various stakeholders.

    What's your take? How do we effectively incorporate these tools into our communications without giving one department complete control (whether perceived or otherwise)?

  3. Mike, great questions. I think Beth makes some good points, and even from my corporate experience I've seen how silos can really hurt communications. I'm not just referring to "new communication" tools necessarily either.
    What we have seen is many companies creating a "Customer Service" department that handles all correspondence with customers, and what I am suggesting (as I believe you are) is that segmenting communications doesn't help. I'd like to see companies with "customer service" departments evolve into "communication" departments. The leaders of these departments should be responsible for knowing all communications forms and training employees on best practices for communication (whatever that may be). If a new communication tool comes into play, it's the communication department that gets everyone up to speed. Just like we would with a new product.

    I do still believe there are specialists to handle critical communications such as news releases, truly angry customers, emergency situations, etc. I'm not suggesting that everyone is or could be qualified to handle all situations even if given the proper training, but anyone should know what the strategy is when given a situation.

    There just seems to be a breakdown in most organizations in the communications area. Many will just write up a policy, or just say "no" until they can come up with a policy. Policies don't work. It's a strategy not a policy. This is why so many companies are fearful of entering into social media and online networking for their companies. They think they need policies and not just a strategy.

    We'll see what happens, but I know for a small company like mine I can handle the strategy. I'm sure it's a much larger task for many others.

  4. That's rich! I have an idea as a way to improve communication....Return phone calls to everyone, not just the people you feel are important. Sometimes even lowly people on the totem pole have information that is extremely valuable to an organization.