The Integrated Marketing Waltz

By Emily Griebel

For years, McKee Wallwork & Company has preached the importance of integrated marketing and according to a recent article on WARC, “New ANA research reveals that marketers are developing and executing more effective integrated marketing plans.” We firmly believe that the best way to develop and foster an ongoing relationship with a customer is through a seamless experience with the brand. Integrating tactics across the Four Ps and ensuring each stage of the customer life cycle is addressed are crucial to a brand’s success. Integration is possible – but not always easy to execute – because it requires consistency, continuity, perseverance and patience across the entire organization.

Another element that is crucial to a successful integrated marketing program is timing. The brand touchpoints must be in sync with the customer’s needs and wants.

Take a second to think about a waltz. You know, the elegant ballroom dance performed in triple time with the two participants in close proximity to one another. Good dancers doing the waltz seem to glide or float across the dance floor. Watching a waltz is pleasing to the eye and almost hypnotic. Now think of the waltz as an analogy for marketing, with one dancer as the brand and the other as the customer. Brands like Apple, Nike and BMW almost seem to waltz with their customers – leading and following them around the dance floor with the utmost fluidity.

As I considered this correlation between integrated marketing and the waltz, I realized that the skills required to master the art of dance are similar to those required to master the art of marketing. So as a company or a brand manager who’s preparing to execute your next marketing program, it’s important to keep the following in mind.

Appreciate, Watch & Learn. Like anything that requires a high level of expertise, it’s important to acknowledge that becoming great won’t be easy or come quickly. Understanding this upfront will allow you to set more realistic expectations. Also, taking note of what the top performers are doing well will help you craft and hone your own skills. Studying and educating yourself on the proper way of “doing the dance” will better guide you down the path to sustained success.

Know Your Partner & Create a Routine. To develop a genuine and dynamic interaction with your partner, it’s helpful to first have an amicable relationship. It’s nearly impossible to elegantly perform an intricate dance with a stranger, so brands must intimately know their customers. From there, you can choreograph a solid routine that includes the right mix of moves that fit both your and your partner’s styles.

Visualize & Practice. Your marketing routine (marketing plan) shouldn’t be too advanced or too rudimentary for you or your partner. And the best way to find this balance is by first visualizing how it will work, then practicing and rehearsing your moves (consider initially running campaigns on a smaller stage). Try things and see how they work. Ask your partner what they prefer. Evaluate your work so you can optimize and make modifications before hitting the big stage.

Get Dressed, Perform & Improve. Now that you’re comfortable with your partner and your routine, you can don your best attire and perform. With the confidence you gained during practice, you should be able to put your best foot forward and go for it! You may have missteps along the way but if you handle the recovery with grace, your partner will forgive you. You may discover that certain moves are too difficult or that your partner doesn’t like to do them. In this case, you simply develop new moves, practice those, and keep on performing.

The hope that brands have to execute a beautiful marketing dance with customers relies on the critical element of timing. If brands aren’t moving in time with their customers, the elegant waltz quickly becomes a chaotic mosh pit. In order for integrated marketing to work where brands create a seamless experience for customers, companies must prepare, perform and react appropriately.

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