NEW YORK: A new survey of members of the Association of National Advertisers reports that 74% of US marketers now employ integrated marketing communications (IMC) techniques for a majority of their brands.

But the ANA warns that members still face a significant challenge in achieving optimal IMC performance, only one quarter of marketers rating their firm's IMC efforts as "very good" or "excellent".

In addition to functional issues – which were cited by 59% or respondents – and strategic inconsistency (42%), the survey also revealed four perceived barriers to IMC success:

  • Insufficient marketing budget (36%);
  • Lack of a standard measurement process (36%);
  • Lack of needed skill sets among marketing staff (33%);
  • Need to develop the ‘big creative idea' that can be leveraged across different media disciplines (32%).
Evanglizes ANA president/ceo Bob Liodice: "Integrated marketing is more essential than ever, as power has shifted from the marketer to the consumer."

"But marketers are still struggling with entrenched, parochial structures that inhibit these efforts from achieving their enormous promise. 

"This third survey [in an ANA series ] is extremely valuable in identifying key concerns that have changed [over the past five years], as well as highlighting those needs that have remained consistent."  

The study also discovered that 87% of members work with external agencies in implementing integrated marketing campaigns. Respondents point to two ways in which shops can make integrated programs more successful:

  • By ensuring that IMC activities focus on strategic objectives (58%);
  • And by working collaboratively and closely with other agency partners as plans are developed and executed (55%).
One of many currently chanting the IMC marketing mantra is Amy Fuller, group executive (Americas Marketing) for MasterCard Worldwide.

"Integrated marketing done correctly can drive immediate results, increase brand awareness and make the individual tactics themselves stronger," she says.

"The ANA … is working to give marketers the tools they need to make these programs stronger. As responsibilities and metrics are updated to reflect the need for integrated marketing, we anticipate this continuing as a major area of concern in the future, with continued growth and investment."

All of which [you'll be amazed to read] neatly dovetails with the ANA's upcoming Integrated Marketing Conference on May 29 in New York City. For more details, click here.

Data sourced from Association of National Advertisers (USA); additional content by WARC staff