“Digital at the core”

“We’re 360 degrees in our focus”

“We are media agnostic”

“We are fully integrated”

All things I’ve heard many hundreds of times when talking with agencies across the US.

What does it mean to integrate?  And where does one begin?

Is it best to build your marketing program around your capabilities in digital and then build it out?

Or is it best to build your marketing program the traditional way and then find a home for it in digital?

I’ll answer the “where does it begin” question(s) first…

I think there isn’t ONE place to start.  I think you have to think about the entire program and all platforms when you develop a campaign.

If digital is an afterthought or your agency feels that they can figure out how they are going to implement the digital portion of the program after the mainline campaign is approved, I say no way!

Problem with that approach is there are too many intricacies in the digital space that don’t allow you to effectively translate campaigns.

Take Jack in the Box as an example.  Their mainline agency had developed a great new campaign for “Jack”, their edgy character.  Unfortunately, they thought of the campaign first without regard for how to carry it into the digital space.  As a result, no matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t make it work.  The character simply did not translate.

Jack in the Box ended up finding another firm (digital focused) that could help them bring “Jack” to life on the digital screen.

So bottom line is look for evidence of your agency having done the difficult task of real integration before you bring them on board…or if your current agency is starting into the development of a new campaign, get them thinking about it in total – how the parts all work together…which leads me to the answer to the second question – full integration – what is it?

To be fully integrated is to be working in unison across all platforms.  Carrying the same character, building the same equity, talking the same message, and looking like you’ve come from the same brand in look and feel.

To be fully integrated is also to enable your platforms to feed each other and work with each other.  Does your traditional drive people to your digital?  Does the promotion on Facebook drive people to the stores to your in-store merchandising?

And to be fully integrated is to be willing to measure media’s performance across platforms and adjust as needed to make sure you’re putting the dollars where the bang is the biggest for your brand.

So remember, start your marketing campaign on all four corners, across all platforms.

And remember to make them all sing from one voice as your consumers or customers touch them all.