The days of push-marketing are over! Before you slough this off as old advice, let me acknowledge that I realize the transition to inbound and “pull” marketing through content and relevant advertising has been in process for the past 5+ years. BUT, as marketers have gotten more impatient waiting for immediate response and conversion (and the CMO is feeling the heat from above), many marketing messages are drifting back to more sales-y messaging, and moving away from organically building a funnel and marketing to those most interested.

Bottom line: For marketers to succeed in 2016 and beyond, all customer/prospect-facing communications should be less self-serving and should serve the entire mission of the organization, even if it means cannibalizing a particular silo’s own attributed response rates. While it’s difficult to get the buy-in of the silos within the organization, once you get a taste of the effects of a unified marketing front, there is no turning back. With a unified, collaborative, synchronized marketing front, the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.

But the reality is, large organizations have silos, and each silo wants their share of the marketing budget. So, how do you deal with the attribution struggle that is inevitable as marketing tactics and channels overlap? Fortunately, a marketing database can help us tremendously with this. After determining which segments of the database should be included in which channels, simply label each record in the database with a marketing strategy.

For instance, “communication strategy A” could be mail only. “Communication strategy B” could be mail and email. “Communication strategy C” could be mail, email, and text. “Communication strategy D” could be mail, email, text, and display ads, etc. Once the various communication strategies have been defined and each record labeled with a communication strategy, you can then measure response rates and ROI based on the overarching messaging strategy, not the individual components. While that measurement frustrates people’s insatiable desire for fine-point validation of their specific efforts, it fosters a unified team approach to marketing when they realize how interconnected each component of marketing is with each other.   

As a direct marketer, my clients are relying more and more on us to help them coordinate a unified message and strategy. The days of designing a great mail piece and sending it out, designing a great email and sending it out, writing a great text message and sending it out, are gone. More and more, our customers are looking to us to develop multi-touch campaigns with one objective, one message, and one design. I believe that the companies who continue to operate in silos will slowly but steadily watch their competitors gain more and more of their market share.

Once we get a unified front in our marketing efforts, we can then move on to more strategic messaging based on our knowledge of each individual customer, supported by transactional data… but one step at a time.