Quit making excuses and start integrating

Most marketers would agree, an integrated marketing solution is the way to go when it comes to not only reaching customers, but, more precisely, meeting customer needs. Yet, despite this agreement, according to IBM’s recent State of Marketing 2012 survey, only 29% of marketers state they are very effective at integrating different channels. Most CMOs point to integrated marketing solutions as being too complicated or too costly. But regardless of the excuse, the evidence is clear: An integrated marketing solution can really benefit a business’s bottom-line.

Here are just the top six benefits:

1. Personalized communications: An integrated marketing solution provides a single view of the customer across all channels, including email, Web, mobile, and in-store. By having cross-channel data in one centralized location, marketers can better analyze and understand customer wants, needs, and preferences, resulting in more highly targeted and personalized marketing communications—which has been proven to lead to higher ROI.

2. Attribution: This holistic model lets marketers simplify the collection and analysis and then decide the value of each channel through integration. This type of approach allows marketers to understand which channels are most effective. In fact, this level of analysis allows marketers to understand where to spend more or less money per channel to maximize returns.

3. Cohesive marketing strategy: We all know what bad marketing feels like—spam! The goal of marketing is to be so good that it feels like a service to the customer, as opposed to an unwanted intrusion. To do that, an integrated marketing solution can help marketers better understand where, when, and how customers want to be communicated with, ensuring marketing messages are relevant and appreciated by customers, which in turn increases the likelihood of a percentage of customers embracing the role of social bullhorn and becoming evangelists for your brand.

4. Real-time decisions and conversations: Having access to a single view of the customer across channels enhances the marketer’s ability to make real-time remarketing decisions. This ability allows marketers to refine and make adjustments to their communications and then better optimize customer engagement. For example, when customers browse without buying, savvy marketing campaigns follow up in almost real-time with an offer via email to transform browsers into buyers.

5. Lower cost of ownership: Consider this: fewer systems, less investment, quicker time to market. When you have to coordinate across different vendors, who may or may not have integration APIs, it takes time and money. With a single, integrated suite, marketer’s can reduce the number of vendors involved and the time it takes to manage data back and forth. Total implementation fees are also typically lower, with the ability to add on additional modules more quickly any time.

6. Increased revenue: According to a recent IBM Center for Applied Insight’s survey, those CMOs and CIOs who pursue an integrated marketing strategy actually have a three-year revenue compound annual growth rate (CAGRY) that is more than 40% higher than that of other companies. Key to this integrated strategy is for marketers to have a system of engagement—an integrated and innovative set of technologies and processes that are born out of collaboration between marketing and IT. With this system of engagement, marketers are 33% more likely to serve personalized or targeted offers in a least four channels in real time. Those leading marketers who pursue this type of integration also enjoy gross profit growth at a rate that is double that of their peers.

It’s obvious: An integrated marketing solution has real benefits and can significantly impact marketing effectiveness. So quit making excuses and start integrating—your bottom-line will thank you.

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