I noticed some recent discussion on marketing websites about the disconnect between digital and traditional marketing departments, and was intrigued. In this day and age, why would you keep these two marketing teams separate? Surely they share the same goals, are talking to the same people and utilise the same key messages, so why wouldn’t they also be sharing ideas, trends, wins, learnings and customer feedback?

The era of digital marketing took off pretty quickly so it’s understandable that internal team structures and departmental approaches lagged behind a bit. But in 2009? The web has been a viable business channel for many companies for more than 10 years now. Surely people can see the value in having an integrated marketing team and while there may be some who don’t, most organisations have matured to this point. And if they haven’t, they should. Not only because it’s important for staff to share experience, skills and knowledge (as we’ve seen on the blogs) but because your marketing efforts will be a whole lot more effective if you do take a consolidated approach.

Years ago, I was helping develop a new brand for our company. We were looking for a logo to encapsulate our vision and strategy. We knew that fax was emerging as a key tool for us to use so it was essential that the logo translated well in black and white and did not suffer from a little bit of fuzziness – surely this same concept translates to the integration discussion? What use is terrific creative if it cannot be rendered across all communication channels, both traditional and digital? What value is the creative if it is limited in execution possibilities? And yet, we see some organisations spending a fortune on traditional marketing which simply cannot be leveraged online.

Your target markets engage with your brand and business across multiple channels – from walking into a front shop or office through to seeing a banner ad or receiving a direct mail. Each and every ‘touch point’ plays an important role in the sales cycle therefore it’s imperative that you assess online and offline marketing efforts collectively to see how they’re working together (or against!) to win people over.

The same goes for your technology too. It’s not enough to be counting the click-throughs to your website from a new banner ad you’ve uploaded, because how can you know that the banner ad was what ‘sold it in’ to the prospect? Maybe they clicked on the ad and went through to your website but two days later they rang your store, spoke to the customer service team for an hour and then decided to make a purchase. Without an integrated approach to your analysis, you would never know that that particular prospect in the end became a customer.

Any way you look at it, it’s well and truly time that organisations saw the value in a holistic approach to engaging target markets and analysing marketing efforts. Or am I wrong? Are there people out there who see great value in operating two separate marketing teams?