10 reasons integration is crucial in 2011

You’ve had time to immerse yourself in social media and test its various tools; now it’s time to make them work for you.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise to you that 2011 is the year of integration.

This past year you got to play with social media tools and figure out which were most applicable to your business. Now it’s time to stop playing and integrate your traditional, digital, and mobile campaigns into one marketing and communication program.

Not convinced? Following are 10 reasons why integration is crucial this year.

1. Privacy is going to become a bigger concern for people, and they’ll begin looking for non-Facebook-like networks where they can control their content and what is shared. This means your Facebook fans will begin to migrate somewhere you can no longer reach them.

2. Customer service and HR want a role in what marketing and communications are doing through the social networks so they’ll actively search ways to stay relevant in the ever-changing technology world.

3. No longer will you go to where your customers are participating online, they’ll come to you through the way they use the Web. So your website will serve as a hub for all your social networks and then push people back out to various posts on the Web. Everything you do should bring people back to something you own.

4. The recent decision from the FFC on net neutrality means the way you use the Web, and the way you develop apps for smartphones, could change as early as March. Pay close attention to what this means for businesses and consumers alike, because you may have to pay for access to certain things on the Web, just as you do with cable television.

5. Developing campaigns under an integrated strategy will force you to look at where your audience is already participating online, how you can connect with them, how you can extend the conversation, and how you can get them to introduce you to others. In some cases this will happen online; in others it will be offline. Don’t ignore one by focusing on the other.

6. The day of simply pushing the same message in all of the channels is gone. It’s time to customize the role of each channel for your benefit, but remaining selfless. You can do this online and offline.

7. Customers are becoming even more fragmented so an integrated approach is necessary. Some Baby Boomers, for instance, won’t do business without shaking your hand, whereas most millennials won’t do business by shaking your hand.

8. Companies such as Zappos and Starbucks have changed the way we do business. Our customers (and it doesn’t matter whether they’re B2C or B2B) want to have a voice in our process, and they want to have access to all of the people who work within the four walls. Innovation tools such as Salesforce Ideas, UserVoice, and GetSatisfaction allow you to build products in real time with customers.

9. Employees are using technologies such as Yammer and Basecamp to communicate with one another, without the approval of IT. It’s a prime opportunity to integrate these tools into your employee and internal communication strategy.

10. The opportunity to organize the company in a centralized model has never been better. Research from Altimeter shows companies are “organizing in at least five different models.” Creating a centralized model allows internal teams to assemble in order to share and learn and then communicate with external audiences.

What do you think? Are you integrating everything? Why or why not?

Gini Dietrich blogs at Spin Sucks.


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