Having an integrated marketing strategy is a more effective and cost-efficient way of pushing customers along the sales funnel than having each channel work in silos.
For enterprise-level businesses who work with multiple agencies across multiple disciplines, ensuring integration can be difficult, particularly if different agencies have different points of contact. However, striving for integration in this situation is extremely crucial as failure to do so can see duplication of efforts across different teams. A lack of communication between all those involved can lead to campaign cross-over and the cannibalization of results – not to mention using twice as much budget. While it does require complete transparency and a willingness to communicate from all parties, achieving an integrated marketing strategy with multiple teams and agencies is possible.
Opening communication between channels and nurturing a more integrated approach means you can maximize results with less time and resource needed overall. In this blog, we outline the essential steps to take to achieve an integrated strategy when working with multiple agencies.
When working with multiple agencies, it’s crucial that all work across all channels shares the same tone of voice. Creating and sharing a brand tone of voice document with all parties, and having external activity checked by internal comms to ensure adhesion to the guidelines, creates a consistent cross-channel experience for your customers – which in turn, increases brand trust and purchase intent.
Depending on where each agency is located, it may be that day to day communication and monthly catch-ups are conducted through emails or calls. However, it is important to organize an initial face to face immersion session with all relevant parties as early as possible so you can agree on and set boundaries for each team’s responsibilities and KPIs.
Meeting face to face makes it easier to discuss the roles each agency has, where any overlap may lie, and how this can be worked around. It also encourages an open environment where everyone involved feels they can share ideas and insights.
“Organize an inter-agency ideation session at the start of the contract and get everyone involved in building the content strategy together. This ensures everyone is on the same page and provides opportunity to discuss roles and responsibilities for campaigns.”
– Zoe Schofield, Content and Online PR Project Manager
It is easy for separate teams to focus solely on their channel-specific KPIs and forget that everyone is working together to help you achieve your wider business goals.
When creating KPIs for channels, it is useful to work backwards – how will these help you to get where you want to be in one, two- and three-years’ time? Taking a top-level approach helps to highlight how each channel plays into these goals can help you to set the channel-specific KPIs and ensure there is minimal or no overlap on how success is measured by each team.
While everyone should be working towards the same wider goals, it is helpful to clearly define the role each agency plays. This might mean clarifying the types of campaigns your PR agency versus what your SEO agency can run, defining which social ads your social media team runs versus your programmatic team, or dividing which audiences your inhouse PPC versus PPC agency targets.
Establishing clear boundaries prevents work from being duplicated across teams , creating a greater efficiency and use of your budgets.
“Having a clear division of channels and audiences each agency targets in paid media ensures there is no media spend wasted, which ultimately helps to achieve a higher ROI.”
– Joe Hill, Senior Programmatic Account Manager
Having an overarching umbrella strategy which includes key dates (such as product launches or sales periods) and themes for each team to work from when creating their own strategy is a great way of ensuring consistent campaign themes and messaging across all channels at all times.
In addition to having access to the wider marketing strategy, each team needs complete visibility of the individual channel strategies to avoid repeating campaigns. At an absolute minimum, this involves sharing an overview of strategies between agencies and teams.
“Bringing all parties together to plot out their campaigns in an overarching matrix can be beneficial, as it both prevents campaign crossovers and allows each team to identify where campaigns/ content can be repurposed across channels – for example, ranking content may be used for outreach purposes and social media.”
– Dan Yeo, Head of Media and Online Relations
Setting up a central portal or library where you can put live any creative assets, company news, branding documents and promotions is an effective way of keeping all partners up to date with every aspect of your marketing plan. It’s easy for an individuals to be accidentally left off an email chain, or for an important document to get buried in a long email chain. Having a centralized hub means everyone can easily access all the information and assets needed to carry out their work.
For an even more integrated approach to your content marketing, consider bringing together each team involved for a collaborative brainstorm. This process allows you to identify wider campaign themes and determine how each channel will help to deliver this messaging. You can also use the time to agree on who is responsible for what and how the campaigns can help everyone involved hit their KPIs.
Setting up an email group or portal where all parties can communicate will help to ensure regular contact, which is key to avoiding crossovers and other issues from occurring.
Setting up a weekly or monthly call or meeting so that everyone can discuss past activity and results, as well as upcoming activity, makes it easier to ensure that all possible avenues for content are maximized and that the overarching strategy is adhered to.
“Using project management tools has really helped us to manage communication with other agencies. It gives shared visibility of communication to everyone involved and encourages open discussions on all topics, rather than relying on constant back and forth email chains.”
– Danny Sherne, SEO Account Manager
For businesses who outsource their marketing, working with an integrated marketing agency across multiple – or all – of their services is the best way to ensure an integrated marketing strategy. However, this may not always be possible – for example, due to varying contract lengths. Following these tips will help to ensure a more integrated approach when working with multiple agencies.
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