One of the things that I’ve come to realize working in IMC is that in order to be successful you need to be a teacher. Co-workers need to feel as though they’re part of the team, even if they have no marketing experience. Last year our organization decided to create IMC plans for each department, which resulted in nine different plans in our building that all worked up to overarching IMC goals. It was a tremendous amount of work, but now our marketing efforts are more aligned and more measurable.
Just as we did when we started developing our branding project, the first step was to teach staff the importance and value of creating these campaigns. This included multiple presentations and workshops in order to teach the staff about IMC. Those workshops were followed by a group discussion that helped our staff, as a team, come up with our SWOT analysis and overall IMC goals for the organization. At the workshops, departmental IMC workbooks were given out in order to help the staff organize their thoughts and ideas. Staff members were challenged with setting marketing objectives for their department that helped the overall organization achieve overarching IMC objectives. During the next year, multiple meetings were conducted to create comprehensive IMC plans for use in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Here are some valuable lessons learned during this process that I hope will help other marketing professionals in their quest to integrate marketing efforts.
- Teach the importance and value: When you think about it, it’s a good thing that not everyone in your organization is completely focused on marketing. Everyone at the table is there because they have a skill set that helps make the company productive. Utilize this to your advantage! Use presentation time to teach the important of IMC and how it will better individual departments and the organization as a whole. You don’t have to prepare lessons plans, but it is important to teach the significance of what you’re doing. If co-workers do not understand the value, they won’t be invested and your job will be much more difficult.
- Make things as simple as possible: As previously mentioned, not everyone lives and breathes marketing. Listen to ideas – you many not use them – but listening helps people feel valued and invested. Relate marketing topics to things that make sense in their daily work. What will be meaningful to them? What will make them care about marketing?
- Work together: Our organization is made of individual departments, so it was very important to work with each one and listen to their needs and ideas. What will work for one department will not work for another. It is critical to incorporate departmental needs into that of the overall organization. Facilitating discussion and providing ideas is great however, if individuals feel they help create the ideas and goals, they will be more invested.
- Start with tactics and work your way up: We found that the easiest way to make this happen was to have everyone write down the tactics they’re doing now in the categories they believe they were in (direct, paid ads, public relations, etc.). Then we worked up to objectives – thinking about what we wanted all of these tactics to achieve. This was much easier for everyone because they were able to see how much they were doing. This helped calm nerves and make the project a little less overwhelming. Then we were able to show how achieving those goals would support the goals of the overall organization.
- Check in consistently: Marketing goals are not the primary responsibilities of everyone in your organization. Continually checking with departments and sharing information is a great way to keep top of mind awareness and show the value of taking an IMC approach. There is always emerging media, ideas, and processes that are suppose to simplify life, but consistency is the key to maintaining and getting staff buy in with marketing efforts.
Every organization is different and these ideas may not work for everyone. I believe that no matter who the client is or who you’re “selling” IMC to, you need to be a teacher. You cannot tell people to be invested, you have to convince them they want to be part of the solution.
What have you learned from working in IMC? Any other teaching tips you’d like to share?