“Integration” is a marketing buzzword of late, no doubt in part due to increased media fragmentation—and growing pressure from executives to master new channels and formats to create a cohesive brand message.
But November 2011 findings from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) showed US B2B companies may have a leg up on their B2C counterparts when it comes to integrating marketing communications across channels and blending digital and traditional marketing campaigns. B2Cs, however, appeared to be more comfortable in their use of newer media channels such as social and mobile.
US B2C marketers certainly placed a higher value on integrating marketing communications: 70% strongly agreed that an integrated marketing approach was important to their company, compared to 56% of B2B respondents.
But a closer look at the data revealed that B2B marketers could be less focused on this area because they have greater facility creating consistency across channels. More than half (56%) of B2B marketers said they already had strong alignment between their marketing communications and business goals, compared to just 44% of B2C respondents. B2B marketers also reported a greater desire to develop integrated marketing communication plans for every marketing project (33% vs. 25%, respectively).
In terms of obstacles toward creating integrated marketing campaigns, the majority (69%) of US B2C marketers said lack of knowledge and skills within the marketing department kept them from effectively integrating communications. Other obstacles for B2C marketers included lack of a standard measurement process (58%) and the need to develop “big creative ideas” that span across all media (61%). The latter obstacle is particularly tricky, since it can be difficult to successfully adapt ideas to each unique media channel and format.
For integrating newer media into existing marketing programs, a greater number of B2C marketers agreed they understood the use and value of newer digital channels like mobile and social media compared to B2B marketers. However, fewer B2C marketers felt their digital and traditional marketing programs were well integrated compared to their B2B peers (36% vs. 26%).
Greater understanding of social media and mobile marketing likely correlates with greater adoption of these marketing channels among B2C marketers. Moreover, this propensity to experiment with these newer formats—something often done in an isolated channel—could be one reason fewer B2C marketers said their digital marketing was well integrated with their traditional communications.
No B2B marketers claimed expertise in their use of mobile marketing tactics. Yet as mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones increasingly become integral parts of consumers’ daily media consumption diet, B2B marketers will need to learn how to leverage this channel and integrate it into the larger marketing mix.
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Check out today’s other articles, “Mobile Use Spurs Digital Travel Sales” and “Search Anchors Multichannel Marketing in Australia.”
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