Now about integration…
I’ve been thinking a lot about integration recently. What it means, how to achieve it, is it really possible, the gamut. Well as it happens, the thoughts crystallized during a lunch convo with a friend of mine, Philip this week (btw, his is a terrific blog which should really be updated more frequently… :)). A recurring theme of a few posts on his blog is that integration is a bad thing. And I was a bit baffled as to why. But I figured it out — his issue is with the way agencies do integration.
Badly, to be blunt. Agencies, at least the large ones, aren’t very into specialization outside of the traditional areas – media buying, TV, DM… They try and force fit integration into their service offerings but without understanding or embracing the beauty of specialization. Using the expertise and unique aspects of each channel aren’t really on the radar. So instead of truly maximizing a campaign and targeting your consumers in a way which engages and dazzles them by being an organic addition to their lives, the agencies will hand a TV campaign or a DM campaign over to the interactive side of the shop and say “put this on the web”. And, lately… “put this on Google”. I can feel that pain.
On the flip side, I was coming at integration from the perspective of actually doing just that but without adding in the “we’ve always done it that way” thinking of the big shops. Embracing specialization and diversity – not only of messages, or creative but diversity of purposes. And from that viewpoint integration is a necessity. The web is becoming an integral part of every day existence. It’s surpassing TV in reach. It can do so much for enabling conversations and spreading ideas, empowering consumers, and helping to build brands, better products and ROI. But this doesn’t happen by itself. It takes ideas, people who have them, and people who know how to execute them. It takes specialists in the medium. And they should have a seat at the table from the get-go.
integration = good
integration without specialization = bad and a waste of money ultimately