Integration isn’t Media

On June 8, 2006 by Christy

Jim Meskauskas puts forward a wonderfully sensible critique of the way marketers are approaching ‘integrated marketing’:

What most clients, agencies and media companies/publishers don’t seem to understand is that integration is not really a media opportunity; it is a creative strategy.

Yes, ladies and gentleman. Integration is not really possible in media. 

Media companies with multiple platforms to offer are not INTEGRATING, they are offering up multiple touch points.

Back in the early 90s, the media and marketing world referred to this as “media mix.”

I must admit I’m quite surprised, I didn’t know marketers were seeing it this way. However, when I consider the amount of film and TV producers I know who view cross-media through a distribution lens I guess they are not alone. Creators have been making entertainment for one platform for a long time. And then with digital technology and the Internet there was the ability to duplicate information, and to broadcast for free, and another medium to learn and the many arts types and hybrid of arts types that emerged within it. That is enough to get your head around before you start thinking about a creating a symphony out of all of them! The best content, whether it be for an advertisement or prose, is created as a cross-media/integrated property from the beginning. But at the same time having ‘multiple touch points’ or multiple points-of-entry (POEs) is a strategy creators need to utilise to reach their fragmented audiences. That is probably where some of the confusion comes: the range of media channels has consequences in all aspects of content creation. It affects the writing stage, designers, funding bodies, investors, production, agencies, distributors, media buyers, advertising, branding and so on and so on. Every stage of the process needs to have someone there making sure the cross-media approach is being honoured. What does this approach need?

Integrators; people who can cross borders; people who can talk to different industries (programmers, writers, artists, producers, marketers, financiers); people who see order in chaos; people who see a pattern; people who aren’t afraid to be wise and be stupid; people who are brave; people who can integrate all they’ve learned and apply it when necessary…