Monday, May 24, 2004


I found this article in MarketingProfs.com to be interesting and on the mark. It is a critique of marketing integration and the rigidity into which it can fall when there is a need to coordinate multiple media. It should be mandatory reading for every public relations practitioner. Why? Because much of media relations is opportunistic and cannot be planned or controlled in detail. One might get a marketing message across but not in the way it is supposed to happen because reporters aren't buying the theme and editors are focused on something else.

Marketing integration works best when one has control of a product, service and message. There are situations with product introductions, for example, where one has nearly total control. But for most of us, there isn't such control. We ride the surf and try to get to the beach without wiping out.

The examples that the author gives of Walt Disney and the M&M's color vote are two cases of total message control. What about a situation in which one is dependent on others to produce or deliver something? That's not nearly as easy and by time one has everyone coordinated and messages negotiated and approved, the time for the announcement may be past.

There comes a time in every marketing effort when speed is more important than coordination and control. This is part of the message that the CEO of P&G has been delivering to his company. There is such a thing as too much testing and too much planning.

I'm not against integrated marketing. In fact, I have preached integration for a long time, but the author of this article has an insight that should not be dismissed.


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