Business opportunities in Africa are growing geometrically and a lot of proactive entrepreneurs are keying-in in every way possible.
This trend has culminated in a boost of the integrated marketing communication (IMC) concept; a concept that incorporates different communication strategies to improve sales and profit.
However, recent researches have proven that the IMC concept is either been under-utilized or used wrongly, thereby producing little or no results. Modern Marketing Researches in Nigeria have shown that some corporate bodies abuse the IMC by using a single team to execute the different strategies involved. This is wrong and must be stopped to achieve results.
From social selling to new opportunities with mobile advertising, every marketing organization now has abundant channels through which to work its magic. Yet, different channels and opportunities demand different skills, and the effort needed to coordinate all the necessary components and team members is immense. It can be confusing at best, unproductive at worst.
Let’s take a simple example: an ad piece;
You’ve compiled the information and applied beautiful designs. Now what? You probably have 10 different channels to send it through. Should one person own every channel and strategy for promotion?
The answer is “no,” and here’s why.
Your ad content marketer who created the ad may not know the ins and outs of expertly targeting social media to drive traffic to the ad. Your social media expert may not understand why including a link in your email campaign to the ad is critical to nurturing certain leads. And you might think that blasting the ad out to a list of media contacts will get the needed result but you wouldn’t be as successful in securing media coverage as your PR teammate would.
More choices and more disciplines mean more room for confusion without a clear understanding of the processes involved. But drawing lines in the marketing board is not as tedious as it sounds.
Here’s how Marketing, PR, and Content can work together across four main areas —the POEM model (paid, owned, earned media)—as well as where they diverge and how to assign responsibilities where they make the most sense.
Paid media has always sat in marketing’s wheelhouse. But what about social media advertising or sponsored content? How about syndicating content or sponsoring an influencer’s blog?
This is where the lines can get fuzzy. Generally, it’s still best for marketing to own anything where the placement is paid—even syndicated and sponsored. But here’s how PR and content can weigh in for bigger success: Run your content syndication list past the content team to find out which posts are already getting the most engagement through the site. While you’re talking to them, get their feedback on those “alternate headlines.”
Share your social media ads with the PR team so they can come up with some complementary social posts that can be published at the same time the ads run.
Media relations efforts trying to get mentioned in an article or securing an interview with a media outlet is pure Public Relations. The PR team should have experience building and harnessing relationships with influencers, bloggers, and media contacts, so let them handle those efforts to gain free message circulation.
But here’s how marketing and content can help PR get more wins per pitch:
Have a free range PR team. In other words, let them roam your company, because they can sniff out a story where no one else can see it. Good PR pros listen to their media contacts and know what those contacts are looking for in a story, an industry expert, and a trend. Your PR team will spot it inside your company if they’re given the freedom to explore.
Content creators can help write all of those contributed articles the PR team is busy placing.
This is media owned and controlled by the organization. At first glance, it might seem that the marketing team is automatically the best choice to control any organic content and assets that live on the company website or blog. But you’ll want to parse your choices, starting with an editorial calendar—built and owned by the content team—that clearly outlines responsibilities and deadlines to keep everyone on track.
For instance, the PR team might be the right choice to write some content assets, which the marketing department then uses in nurture campaigns, social selling, and other areas.
But if there’s one area where the content gurus can shine, it’s here. So let them do their thing on the Company website and blogs.
That said, it is pertinent to note that content is only half as good if it isn’t optimized, which is where Marketing can add a lot of value. Creating content that helps educate and sell is paramount, but creating content that gets media and influencers to take notice is efficiently effective. Let the PR team help in driving content that will grab influencers’ attention bringing about all round success.
Conclusively, to successfully integrate the entire process to achieve results, Marketing, PR, and Content must work distinctly with certain amount of organization and strategic communication flow. Making this effort will keep everyone on track and create a smoother workflow by defining skills and responsibilities, setting expectations on measurement, and mapping all of it to organization’s goals. With this in place, organizations will save time, capitalize on people’s strengths and skills, and boost productivity.
This article was written by Ahmed Olalekan Akeem, a seasoned Public Relations Professional.