So, you’ve been to your integrated strategies seminars, you’ve read white paper after white paper and you have the best agency partners and consultants working with you to develop an integrated brand strategy that is guaranteed to deliver jaw-dropping results and transform your company and your career.
Unfortunately, you have forgotten one key step. An omission that will render your brilliant strategy absolutely useless and doom your integrated marketing plan to an early grave in the PowerPoint graveyard.
You didn’t get the right people aligned behind the process or its outcome and as a result your plans will make it no further than the conference room where you made your presentation.
Why alignment can make or break your plan
Alignment behind the strategy is just as critical as the strategy itself especially in an age when marketers are confronted with a seemingly infinite number of ways to reach their target. If your PR is not aligned with your sales team which is not aligned with your digital strategy which is not aligned with your advertising”¦well you get the picture.
Without the right people in your camp, you don’t have the support you need or the funding and other resources and executional muscle you need to bring your plans to life. Why then, is this important step so often overlooked?
Is it turf war? Is it organizational politics? Maybe you don’t have the right skills, processes or facilitator on-hand who can get the job done. Is it because even now, in 2011, so many of us still work in marketing organizations that have silos created decades before our tenure?
This whitepaper from Brandworks University goes into greater depth on this topic. We wrote this a while back, and even then our surveys showed that 80 percent of marketers rated alignment as a very critical issue for their company. That issue has not gone away and it is still a part of the Gordian Knot that marketers are trying to deal with when it comes to their integrated marketing strategy.
What the experts say about alignment
That is why discussions about alignment will be a part of LSB’s Brandworks University 2011. Because we can’t address integrated marketing strategies with all if its complex and interwoven parts without addressing alignment.
- Marsha Lindsay will present processes, aids and persuasion techniques that align people behind next generation integration.
- Brian Martin of Source Martin will address the issues surrounding alignment between internal and external partners including a roster of agencies
- Sandi Pocharski and Steve Goldbach of the Monitor Group will talk about replacing 20th century organizational models which hamper alignment with 21st Century models that are designed to foster alignment. (They give you a glimpse of their ideas in this video)
- And Chip Heath, bestselling author and Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business will focus on ways to foster behavioral change and the importance of leveraging psychology and sociology to help in your efforts to align colleagues and partners.
So the next time you are faced with the task of creating an integrated marketing plan, I suggest you start with a plan for alignment. At the onset, identify who needs to be aligned behind the plan (and it’s not just your boss and your boss’ boss. Identify other key influencers in the organization and don’t leave out folks in NPD, your channel partners and HR teams who may be faced with the task of aligning an entire corporate culture behind your plan). Then get them involved early in the process. Alignment is not presenting a finished product and trying to get everybody behind it. Alignment is bringing teams along as a part of the process. Start with the objectives and the business case for improved methods of integration. Is everybody aligned with the problem your plan must solve? If not, then you’ll never get to alignment on the plan itself.
And if you have alignment issues you want us to ask the experts, send us your suggestions via email, post them in the comment section.