We've been banging on a lot about our new ‘brand’ of integrated marketing for some time now, and it's doing great business for several of our Client Partners - but what is it really about, and why does it even matter in a world full of specialist agencies and big internal marketing teams?
I thought it was about time we spilt - some of the beans - on the origin story, what it includes and how we approach it. Obviously - like Colonel Sanders, I can't give you the whole recipe, but I do believe that much of our approach and thinking is shareable and of value - so let's look at some of those points!
Integrated marketing communications is a way of looking at the whole marketing process from the viewpoint of the customer. - Philip Kotler
Our origin story
Just like any superhero, our integrated marketing approach here at Carswell Gould also has an origin story. It starts with the problems of marketing directors. The pain points that our friends, colleagues and peers experience every day in delivering their roles. And trust us, over the last 28 years, we've heard it all.
Ever since we founded Carswell Gould in 1993, our team has been working with some of the world's most ambitious business and marketing leaders. Interestingly, many of the marketing tactics change, but the problems stay the same!
Our approach has always been to push for integrated marketing. Our staff are excellent communicators, in addition, we expect our core team to have a broad understanding of integrated, connected communications to complement their specialisms.
Everything starts with an understanding of the problems
To be a marketing director is to work in a dynamic, ever-changing landscape. Still, over the years, we've found that our integrated approach solves many of the common problems that crop up time and again, including:
- The expectation to deliver in lots of different ways and campaigns, whilst also playing back to central business goals
- Disconnected teams that don't pull together in the right ways
- Lack of resources at the right time, of the right quality
- Too many specialist agencies and not enough cohesive connection
- Lack of internal understanding and capability
- Uninspired internal teams that don't work together for the greater good
- A brilliant internal team that can't quite connect the dots
- Lack of innovation and creativity
- Stress and burnout that affects productivity
- Lack of ability to link the up effectively
- Complex procurement models that depend on lots of specialist suppliers that are hard to manage
- The complex, increasing role of technology
- The need for integrated marketing experts that are on the marketing directors side
- The risk of purchasing different marketing capabilities
From here, we apply our methodology
Over the years, Carswell Gould's approach to integrated marketing has flexed in response to the changing landscape of marketing activity and channels. However, what has never changed is that our starting point is always understanding the problem and thinking strategically. We’ve added many of our thoughts on the subject to the Carswell Gould blog.
Over the last few years, we have learned that you can rocket charge the agency role into an integrated marketing specialist, using what we like to call the magic triangle. Our magic triangle represents how we are set up, the model of our directors, and it's where every bit of engagement starts.
Whenever there's a challenge that shows up, we look at it through the magic triangle. This means looking at problems through the lens of marketing, technology, and creativity in equal measure before providing a rapid injection of marketing problem-solving. These ultimately shape targeted actions such as campaigns, projects, events, initiatives, or completely outsourced solutions such as programmes, activities or managed services.
With our fast and responsive problem solving, we help you determine where the real value is and what success could look like. We rapidly develop integrated solutions to those marketing problems.
We have an open approach to resourcing the solution; whether it's your team, our team, or we bring in an external team, we'll find the perfect mix to get it done fast and well. We have developed a unique form of collaboration, the Carswell Gould Collective, which enables our perfectly formed teams to do what they do best.
In addition, we create a single, focused solution that efficiently delivers without the need for hundreds of conversations and endless back and forth. Then, we weave the solution through different channels, tactics, and activities (including social media, such as Instagram and influencer outreach), driving more value through each piece of work and creating integrated outcomes that deliver on multiple touchpoints. Plus, they drive action through numerous channels.
These are some of the qualities that define our model of responsiveness and integrated team of marketing specialists, and over the last 28 years, they have led to us being referred to as a marketing director's best friend!
Our final piece of advice for creating your own integrated marketing approach is not to stack the deck too high and then get juniors to deliver. A huge difference between an agency that says they do integrated marketing, and those that actually do it well, is who's leading the workday and defining their own experiences.
We've designed a format that means that our specialists and marketing leaders are doing the work. This gives you a relationship and connection to those working on your project, which means you have high-level advisors and a delivery team backed by a multi-award-winning team of marketing, tech, and creative specialists! Over the years, we've learnt that the more top-line problem solving we do, the better the results will be, so our directors lead and deliver work. We're able to do this by taking on less work and staying small but profitable.
Ten things you should focus on if you want to build a future-proof integrated marketing service
- Look at the whole picture, don't just focus on the immediate problem
- Think creatively, step outside of the box and inject some creativity
- Sometimes you're too close to the issue; bring the outside in
- If you're going to bring in outside sources and specialists, enlist one person to manage that and create a single point of contact
- Ensure that you link your channel strategies and tactics
- Whilst you might be a specialist in one thing, learn a bit more about the broader field so you can see how your work fits and complements the complete picture
- Work openly with internal and external stakeholders, create an open dialogue about what you need to solve the problem
- Get clear on and understands what success looks like to your organisation, for example, your brand/sales leads goals
- Provide flexible additional resources where needed; instead of seeing something as someone's job, pay attention to when you need to pool resources and bring in more support
- Encourage open communication between your staff, teams, and various stakeholders to ensure clear goals and outcomes are set and completed.