Marketers Embrace Integrated Marketing, but Key Challenges Remain

Marketers Embrace Integrated Marketing, but Key Challenges Remain

Integrated marketing communications (IMC) has been embraced by marketers, 74% of whom now employ IMC campaigns for most of their brands, according to a new Association of National Advertisers member survey fielded by CoActive Marketing Group.

However, significant challenges to achieving optimal IMC performance remain, with only one quarter of marketers giving their firm’s IMC efforts a “very good” or “excellent” rating.

Key barriers cited to effective IMC are the existence of function silos (59%) and the lack of strategic consistency across communications disciplines (42%), both of which were cited in earlier versions of the study (2003 and 2006).

Beyond functional silos and strategic inconsistency, the survey also revealed the following barriers to IMC success:

  • Insufficient marketing budget (36%)
  • Lack of a standard measurement process (36%)
  • Lack of needed skill sets among marketing staff (33%)
  • Need to develop the “big creative idea” that can be leveraged across different media disciplines (32%)

Additional findings from the study:

  • In implementing integrated marketing campaigns, 87% of marketers, according to the survey, rely on the expertise of external agencies.
  • Respondents point to two ways that agencies can make integrated programs more successful:
    • by ensuring that IMC activities focus on strategic objectives (58%)
    • by working collaboratively and closely with the other agency partners as plans are developed and executed (55%)
  • Within their own organizations, marketers recognize the importance of creating an executive-level position with P&L/budget responsibility for integrated programs:
    • Currently, however, only 24% of firms surveyed have an IMC-specific job title, and only 11% have had such a position for more than two years.
    • One-third of those positions do not have budget or P&L responsibilities.

The survey revealed other opportunities to achieve greater marketing integration, such as improving internal stakeholder communications and incorporating specific IMC performance measures into employee performance reviews and agency evaluations.

Only 20% of respondents indicate they use internal marketing to stakeholders all or most of the time, and only two-fifths have specific performance measures incorporated into employee evaluations.

“Integrated marketing is more essential than ever, as power has shifted from the marketer to the consumer,” said Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the ANA. “However, marketers are still struggling with entrenched, parochial structures that inhibit these efforts from achieving their enormous promise.”

The ANA Integrated Marketing Conference on May 29, 2008 in New York City will address issues related to IMC.