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Marketing in the Round Makes You Work

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Dietrich and Livingston Capture Collaboration in New Book

Prescient and thought-provoking, Marketing in the Round by marketing expert Gini Dietrich and Social Media Guru Geoff Livingston starts as an easy read. A simple concept captured in the subtitle: How to Develop an Integrated Marketing Campaign in the Digital Era. Then the work begins. And soon the new release by Que Publishing, distributed by Pearson Technology Group (April, 2012), makes one think hard about integration.

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) has been around a long time. I am fortunate that the earliest pioneers in the discipline, folks like Dick Christian, Don Schultz, Clarke Caywood and Tom Collinger, are all Northwestern IMC Professors from my Alma Mater (Go Cats!).

I am also truly fortunate to call Geoff Livingston a friend. His first book, published five years ago, is called Tomorrow is Gone. That single concept, and Livingston's manifesto, may be the best adage for what has happened in social media, traditional media, and how to market to an ADD buyer, than any put forth. In the new book, Dietrich and Livingston tell us consumers need to see or hear a message twenty times (20) before it sticks.

The only way to push through the clutter and create brand ambassadors, promote a product or bring something new to market is to band together. There is strength in numbers and it appears from this book, greater strength in collaboration across fiefdoms.

So here are the real takeaways. "You have to break down the silos; give up the budget fights, turf wars, control and holding on to knowledge for perceived power," say the authors. "Budgets are still allocated by discipline," but the era of "one off campaigns are over."

"Kumbaya my Lord," sang Peter, Paul and Mary.

Now it gets harder. There needs to be visibility within the enterprise (no secrets) so that everyone from CEOs and CMOs to new marcomm specialists, are all in the know. There has to be transparency within all communications functions. Collaboration and "supporting each other (in one's) marketing disciplines form a powerful union to meet corporate objectives," they say.

Marketing in the Round then admits it: "Unfortunately breaking down silos has to be done before you can market in the round!"

Dietrich and Livingston show us how; by providing detailed schematics, real exercises to write, how to go beyond a SWOT analysis, and step-by-step instructions. First, create a marketing dashboard. Move in lockstep: develop both an external vision or desired outcome and then an internal vision of change that includes acknowledging your team does not have all the answers.

The traditional analysis of "Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats" is augmented by the authors with: "Who are primary influencers?" "What are my Customer's Values" and how does one help them stay ahead of trends. Are there real innovations coming-out of our company or are we just polishing-up the old. What will be the challenges in communicating externally to the world or entrenched interests that will try to stop open lines from inside.

Pretty soon Dietrich and Livingston have you writing in the flow charts! Now you are working. What's refreshing about Marketing in the Round is that it takes you gently along the path. It forces one to think and learn about each marketing discipline; and perhaps even develop an empathy for the "other guy" in the company.

While my own colleagues are not reading over my shoulder, I can feel their presence. We have to begin "making a promise of (real) value and crafting messages designed to resonate with customers."

Then, the book reveals that no amount of marketing research will tell our team what to predict: "too many intangibles, too many variables to ever know how a market will truly react to an idea." And wait, there is no time for research anyway! "In today's world you no longer have (the luxury) to wait a full year to analyze results and evaluate the effectiveness of a program."

Readers will learn about content development, going directly to customers, building relationships with elusive bloggers, and which measurement tools actually work.

Marketing budgets have been cut twenty percent (20 percent) so "communicating with consumers who want to engage with your brand through long-term relationships can be invaluable." They cite Forrester Research papers on defining earned (PR), owned (a channel you control like your website) and paid media (advertising).

One of the heroines in the book is the Human Resources manager. She/they are integrally laced in Marketing in the Round to help with silo smashing! HR can be the marriage counselor.

Donna Ronayne, vice president of marketing for Halogen Software, has this to say:

Organizations of all sizes are learning the benefits of aligning their people strategy with their business strategy. This often involves breaking down departmental silos for the greater good. When your entire workforce fully understands and can fully participate in making sure your high level strategy and goals are being met -- your organization can outperform the competition. So in the case of a marketing department, HR will provide programs that reinforce shared goals, metrics and competencies for each team member. It is important to align with the organization's top level strategy so everyone is pulling in the same direction and is accountable for success.

The Marketing in the Round book also talks about "how to develop an integrated marketing campaign in the digital era" and cites C-Suite involvement. Ronayne agrees: "in a disciplined organization, C-suite awareness is always integral to breaking down barriers."

"Set goals, link both individuals and groups to those goals, make them time-bound and that is how you measure success," adds Ronayne.

Well if that is so, Dietrich and Livingston's book will make the marketer "get cracking!"

Mike Smith has written book reviews on baseball and politics for Huffington Post books, most recently Chris Matthews' JFK memoire.