Marcomm: the evolution of communications
In 1800 BC, Chinese soldiers could warn their comrades 500 miles away of an enemy attack by smoke signals.
The rapid invention and adoption of new technologies continue to evolve in ways its founders could have never imagined. The strategic roles of various communication disciplines are also racing to keep stride with our business needs, and broadening its range.
No matter what you call it, Integrated Marketing Communications, Hybrid Theory or Marcomm, is an informed, transparent and forward-looking combination of marketing and communications.
In today’s competitive business environment and digital age, we’re seeing the practice of integrating marketing principles into our strategic communications approaches become more prevalent. While they run parallel to one another, each profession also has specific knowledge that is applied to the other.
Combining marketing with communications in the right situations will continue to spark interest for internal and external organizational – and personal career – benefits.
Today’s expectations of transparency and authenticity leave no room for messages that are not evidence-based and consistently communicated. By integrating tools such as advertising, direct mail, social media, sales, you provide clarity and concentrated communications impact. More than ever before, part of an organization’s success is dependent on engaging clients, not just making sales.
Audiences no longer separate marketing from the product—it is the product.
Most Marcomm writers write news releases, articles, brochures, backgrounders and other pieces to tell their organization’s stories persuasively. They know their own "Unique Value Proposition" and can pitch it to you in the time you ride up one floor with them in an elevator. i.e. “I write everything from the reader’s point of view and people call me to speak on your topic all the time.”
While some research has shown that organizations are not combining the two disciplines to save costs, creative consistency in integrated campaigns can, indeed, save money:
By using the same images and adapting the same content and messages for different media, writing, design and photography costs are reduced.
If you work with external consultants, you may be able to reduce fees by working with a single firm that offers integrated communications services, rather than separate specialist agencies.
Hiring one individual with both skillsets as opposed to two employees with each discipline saves money.
Equipping an existing Director of Communications with marketing skills can be less costly than an external recruitment campaign for a Marketing Director.
Company and Career Growth
Cross-training employees also builds a clever, nimble organization:
A company that offers employees opportunities to expand their skillsets is getting the greatest value they can from their resources.
A cross-trained Marcomm employee with a larger knowledge base is a more valuable and more marketable employee; one with more career opportunities available to them.
Non-monetary recognition by supporting career growth is one of the most effective solutions to improving employee motivation.
The digital age has resulted in a polar – and generational – shift in the way that the communications, public relations and marketing operate. It is increasingly evident that communications and marketing will commonly integrate and end up happily ever after. Driven by technological innovations and cost considerations, we can expect the evolution towards integrated communication to continue to gather speed. Integrating marketing into communications practices can offset the weaknesses in one medium by the strength in the other for a greater impact.
The result: a cost effective way to build a brand that resonates, carries great power, and has a measurable and quantifiable ROI.
Christie Smith, APR is the Founder of the Elite Communicators Group Inc., a networking group for senior communicators and public relations professionals.
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