Interagency & Department Collaboration: Why We Need Integrated Communications More Than Ever

We need integrated communications campaigns more than ever. Social media, mobile apps and cheap data have transformed our world.​ Traditional news media has been fragmented. ​​People are spending their online time all over the place, with minimal attention paid to most of what’s in the resulting content jungle.

To create business impact with a communications, PR or marketing program, there needs to be support on all (the right) channels. Good partnerships and alignment are the foundation to that.

Successful integrated communications programs require collaboration among a company’s entire team of marketing practitioners and supporting agencies. While these seem obvious, challenges present themselves for various reasons.

Joint planning for integrated communications campaigns

Everyone needs good content, no matter the job function. Really good content fuels marketing. Still, many teams aren’t tapping into one another’s great content and work enough.

There’s a lot to be gained by getting together early and frequently. When planning, companies benefit the most when they loop everyone in during the earliest stage possible — ideally at the formation of plans, strategy or campaign brainstorming. Mutual perspectives and insights bounce around the room, which creates more thoughtful work and maximizes dollars invested in a campaign or idea.

The joint planning, alignment on strategies and a cross-discipline execution (including shared project management tools and processes) are the major barriers we often see to integrated communications. Overcoming those through systemic changes is key.

Today, we all think, work and succeed by embracing an integrated PESO approach to audience engagement and connection. 

Successful cross-discipline execution

Another tricky element in integrated communications is adaptation. Teams need to think about how every tactic and campaign can serve multiple goals and needs, but with the realization that engagement differs by marketing channel and stage in the customer journey.

Consider that smart marketing and branding initiatives don’t always resonate the same through earned media. Some will be better suited for owned and paid channels or PR may need an additional campaign asset (like original research, human storytelling, seasonal tie-in, etc.) to increase newsworthiness and fitness for media. The web and optimization team may need to tweak a campaign’s messaging or copy to make it discoverable and search friendly. And so on.

If planning gets too far without the experts of each discipline examining the campaign’s “stickiness” and tailoring it to work with their mediums and audiences’ expectation of that channel, it could fall flat. Cross-discipline execution could look like:

  • Extending an organic content campaign across owned and paid
  • Supporting a product launch or promotion through influencer, earned and paid
  • Getting a message out through a combo of owned and sponsored editorial
  • Layering in additional assets to make an announcement work for earned and social

Not every single effort will be fit for every channel, but adapting and repurposing content is a way more economical and engaging way to market and will squeeze the most ROI out.

Maximizing ROI

More than ever, it’s imperative that objectives and strategy are uniform across all channels and marketing efforts. A siloed approach serves no one well and can even work against brands. Especially in uncertain economic climates.

Several times, we’ve seen companies recognize the value in aligning all marketing disciplines together. In each instance, incredible marketing function and interagency teamwork was fostered. It varied from regular in-person meetings to yearly all-agency teamwork sessions to even working out of one another’s offices semi-regularly. All were fantastic ways to ensure everyone was fully participating in the master plan, campaign and story creation.

The company who works to achieve this collaboration among their team members and agencies will have a winning program, greater business impact and more amazing, ROI-positive work.

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