As marketeers we should all be fascinated with integrating marketing channels. In this post W. Jeffrey Rice (LinkedIn) zooms in on integrating marketing channels. Jeffrey is the Research Analyst at Marketingsherpa and the lead author of the Marketingsherpa Email Handbook and Benchmark Report.

While a big challenge, can integrating marketing channels bring Justin Bieber to your hometown?

Integrating marketing channels both offline and online

I am fascinated by the integration of online and offline marketing campaigns. Just a few years ago a marketing plan was layered by sending messages (tv, direct mail or email) to a person’s home, building brand awareness outside the home on the way to the brick and mortar store, and once he or she steps through the door, move the shopper with in-store advertising to the moment of truth decision of placing the product in the basket or not.

The marketing ecosystem has evolved.

Our society spends so much time multitasking and actively participating on the web and social sites through mobile devices, smart phones and tablets that there is no clear path to purchase. For a mobile consumer purchasing decisions can be influenced in a variety of both physical and digital locations.

An organization’s marketing tactics cannot be soloed to be effective in today’s integrated marketing communication plans. For this strategy to be effective today, businesses must link all communication points to allow information to flow seamlessly between channels. This is a requirement to ensure the brand’s community can spontaneously participate in relevant and timely conversations.

Linking all communication channels isn’t easy

Linking channels and communication points  is not an easy task, especially for email marketers. In fact, 55% of marketers in our Email Marketing Benchmark Survey reported integrating email with other data systems was a very significant challenge. This obstacle led all challenges including deliverability, achieving ROI and growing the number of subscribers.

Integrating marketing channels can bring your favorite artist home

A company called Eventful which aggregates entertainment events around the globe, has done a nice job of combining its email program with social media and website. Subscribers can request to receive updates on upcoming artists, performer, musical act or movie is coming to their area.  The subscriber can share their personal tastes in a variety of ways including uploading their iTunes play list.

Spread the value proposition through search & social media

Eventful also has a robust natural search strategy, which immediately delivers value to a person seeking information on their favorite performer.  The way Eventful spreads its value proposition through social media networks is by a service called Demand It! This tool gives fans the opportunity to request their favorite act to come to their local venue.

This program has successfully brought Country music star Alan Jackson, to the small town of Mineral, VA (population 495.) The town was able to amass over 31,000 “Demands.”

180 degree customer view

There you see it. Jeffrey gives a great example of cross channel integration, which can even lead to Justin Bieber giving a concert in your hometown. Linking all communication channels might be a sort of a Utopia for most companies though.

I [jordie] always talk about this running gag that companies could at maximum get a 180 degree customer view (the pitch of CRM software vendors and even suppliers of email marketing systems is they can provide a 360 degree customer view). People are talking about your brand or competitors when you aren’t there. And experiencing your products, being influenced and changing their information and preferences all the time.

If you can combine channels and information with a strong product, in most industries you can quickly become a marketing leader.