The Time Is Now for Full-Funnel Integration

Category

Integrating digital and brand strategy, creative, and PR improves overall marketing spend. 

Arguably, few professions have changed more in the last decade than marketing. What once used to be an independent component of business management and commerce is now a digital-first behemoth encompassing performance, data, and strategy. But the buck doesn’t stop there. A growing number of CEOs now expect marketing to be a growth engine for the business. 

So with rising expectations and often constrained budgets, what can a CMO do to deliver measurable results in the short and long term? The answer is full-funnel integration. It’s not a new concept, but one that’s proven to be incredibly challenging to implement because of silos: one team handles brand, another performance, and another public relations. But divided teams aren’t optimized; they’re ostracized—working against splintered data sets, establishing uncommon goals, and fighting for budget. It has to change.

The Salesforce 2021 Marketing Intelligence Report names integration as one of its top 3 takeaways because customers expect brand consistency no matter where, when, or why they interact with an organization. Without question, it’s time to do the hard work and break down silos because integration yields results. For example, Kantar Millward Brown, a data analytics and brand consulting company, discovered integrated campaigns are 31 percent more effective at building brands than non-integrated campaigns. 

Full-Funnel Integration

Marketing industry thought leaders frequently deconstruct the tried-and-true marketing funnel to represent changing consumer behaviors. Without question, people don’t shop like they used to. But while experts have spent copious amounts of time examining how digital has affected consumer behavior, some brands remain siloed in their approach to reach consumers. Case in point, many CMOs spend most of their digital marketing dollars on bottom-of-funnel conversion, all but ignoring less tangible yet highly valuable consumer awareness. This bias sacrifices long-term value for short-term gains. As a driver for business growth, marketers can no longer ignore upper funnel efforts or work in silos. Instead, they must embrace full-funnel integration bringing digital and brand strategy, creative, and public relations together to deliver on unifying KPIs driving growth today and in the future.

What Makes Integration Valuable

It’s safe to say every major brand invests in SEO, and it’s likely the SEO team works autonomously. But that’s a shortsighted approach. SEO performance heavily relies on other functions that populate and influence search results, like paid media, UX, social media, and public relations. Integrating these functions by aligning on KPIs and working from the same data sources creates an incredible opportunity to drive growth against one cohesive strategy.

Why Integration Matters at Smith

Data is at the core of all of our decisions, and it’s clear that customer expectations of brands are shifting. Through integration, we can ensure everything works together, allowing teams to solve problems and innovate proactively. Our specialists know the best practices, emerging trends, and latest tools to achieve success. We integrate digital and brand strategy, creative, and PR with our performance marketing expertise to convert and grow now and inspire long-term loyalty. We think our digital-led integration is the model of tomorrow, but we’re doing it today.

What it Takes to Integrate

So what does it take for brands to embrace and implement full-funnel integration? Five things: transparency, data, collaboration, capabilities, and commitment.

Transparency: When internal teams and agency partners work in silos, it makes it nearly impossible for marketing to perform at its highest level. That’s because vital information like revenue generation, department data, plans, and goals remain hidden among teams. Transparency is the only way to create and execute a cohesive plan that supports all departments in pursuing a common goal.

Data: All actions should be tracked and measured, so business decisions are data-informed. When there is a lack of data or teams are working from separate data sets, it creates confusion, sacrifices predictable outcomes, and makes it impossible to change course effectively in real-time.

Collaboration: Close team collaboration is essential. All teams not only need a seat at the table, but they also need to be valued for the expertise they bring in full-funnel integration and how their contributions impact the brand. Brands win when teams tear down silos (i.e., talk to each other) and unite for short-term and long-term growth.

Capabilities: Process, tools, and best practices come from various sources, and in siloed organizations, they rarely influence the collective knowledge pool or drive a standard set of KPIs. Integrated teams more seamlessly harness marketing capabilities and test-and-learn to drive performance throughout the consumer journey.

Commitment: Integration isn’t easy, and occasionally it requires flexibility and a willingness to re-prioritize efforts based on identified opportunities. But it’s worth a long-term commitment. With the help of an agency partner who can drive performance at every stage of the consumer journey, integration makes it possible for brands to increase ROI without necessarily spending additional marketing dollars. 

The time when brands and agencies could focus on a portion of the marketing funnel is over. It’s time to integrate. Contact us to learn more.