Integration of the channels

I attended the talk ‘Integration of the Channels’ given by Equator’s very own marketing motormouth Martin Jordan. This is a subject close to my own heart, from a brand point of view, so I was interested in finding out more about what it meant to Martin from an online marketing perspective.

Whether you're looking at integration as a brand strategist or an online marketer, efficiency is the name of the game. If everything is joined up and the user journey is properly connected, then you're going to get more of an effect than running things in isolation. Social media offers us the technological 'glue' that sticks everything together and makes the user's experience seamless - and much more effective for the brand owner.

Martin argued that brands can easily set the channels up and run them using a social media dashboard like Hootsuite, but there is much more to it than that. How do you know which channels to use? And where do the good old website, email or call centre fit in?

He explained that it's all about making whatever you do relevant to the brand, to your brand campaigns, and of course to the target consumer. If you bear these in mind, you can tailor any campaign to achieve whatever you want. Just make sure that your SEO, blogs, links, email, paid media and so on is geared up for the same purpose and it should work.

Martin made it sound quite easy, but it takes quite a lot of planning and has to be tailored to the particular task. Additionally, you have to be honest and open to criticism, which is quite a daunting prospect for many organisations. There are no off-the-shelf solutions but a good agency will help you 'behave well' in social space.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the talk was about taking integration beyond marketing and into other areas of your organisation. Because it's all about building a holistic personality for your brand/organisation, it's important to look at traditional advertising, DM and print, CRM and your customer service channels, and even your employee engagement strategy or HR department.

The wonderful thing is social media can be integrated into all these channels and it's trackable through tools such as Brandwatch and Radian6. You can also set up your CRM system to assess how well your integrated system is working. That way, it all goes beyond 'likes' and clicks and you can track your audiences' sharing and spending behaviour. Suddenly, you're much more in tune with what your audiences engage with.

A whistlestop tour of the channels was just what I needed on a Monday lunchtime, and the rest of Social Media Week kept up the energy.