The Importance and Challenges of Integrated Digital Communications

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In an earlier post, I observed that most B2B marketers now recognize that providing outstanding customer experiences has become an essential requirement for competitive success. It's also now clear that digital communications play a vital role in customer experience delivery and that today's customers expect compelling and consistent experiences via whatever interaction channel they choose to use. Therefore, it's more important than ever for B2B companies to have an integrated approach to customer/prospect communications, particularly digital communications.

Recent research by Omobono (a digital marketing agency with offices in the UK and the US) found that an overwhelming majority of marketers recognize the importance of integrated digital communications. In the 2015 What Works Where:  The Recipe for Digital Success in B2B study, 94% of surveyed marketers said that an integrated approach to digital communications is important, and 56% rated integrated digital communications as crucial.

Omobono also found that marketers understand the benefits of integrated digital communications. Sixty-four percent of survey respondents said that an integrated approach to digital communications produces better customer experiences, 61% said that it results in more effective communications, and 56% said that it produces more consistent messaging.

The Omobono survey also revealed, however, that most B2B companies do not have an effective strategy for integrating their digital communications. Only 28% of respondents said they have a formal digital communications strategy. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they have an informal strategy, and more than a third (34%) said they have no strategy for delivering integrated digital communications.

Having a formal strategy is critical for producing effective digital marketing communications. In the Omobono study, 35% of the respondents with a formal strategy believe their digital communications are very effective, while only 11% with no strategy rated their communications as very effective. Having an informal strategy is only marginally beneficial. Only 17% of the respondents with an informal strategy said their digital communications are very effective.

These results bear a striking resemblance to some of the findings in the latest content marketing survey by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. In the 2015 survey, 60% of B2B marketers with a documented (written) content marketing strategy said their organization is effective at content marketing, while only 7% with no strategy and 32% with a verbal strategy rate their content marketing efforts as effective. B2C marketers have a similar perspective. Sixty-five percent of B2C marketers with a documented content marketing strategy said they're effective at content marketing, while only 11% with no strategy and 28% with a verbal strategy believe they're effective.

Integrated communications and content marketing are now essential components of the marketing mix for B2B companies, and these survey results show that both require a formal, documented strategy to be effective.

Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and Tatinauk

Republished with author's permission from original post.

David Dodd
David Dodd is a B2B business and marketing strategist, author, and marketing content developer. He works with companies to develop and implement marketing strategies and programs that use compelling content to convert prospects into buyers.

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