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Digital Marketing Integration: The Impact Of Cross-Channel And Content

How do you build a successful integrated digital marketing plan? Columnist Jim Yu outlines five steps to put you on the right path.

Digital marketing is in a constant state of transformation as content becomes the fuel that drives the growth of cross-channel marketing.

To succeed and integrate digital channel efforts, marketers now need to understand what channels — and what type of content — perform. This is the imperative.

From Traditional Media Plans To Integrated Digital Planning

As President Dwight D. Eisenhower once put it, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”

On today’s content battleground the same can be said for digital marketing: In order for brands to win on the digital battleground, understanding what digital channels and what types of digital content perform is the vital first step in “planning.”

Since the days of traditional advertising, “plans” have been built that haven’t been focused on actual performance. Fast-forward to today, and marketers now have the luxury of planning integrated digital campaigns based on data and learning at a Web-wide scale.

Sixty-nine percent of senior marketers are currently allocating their digital marketing funds to website content, development and performance optimization, according to recent research from Adobe Systems and the Chief Marketing Officer Council.

As digital marketers, it’s vital that we are planning with performance and optimization in mind.

Content Is Digital And Digital Is Content

Digital advertising is set to become the fastest-growing global advertising segment over the next five years (source: McKinsey) with projected compound annual increases to 2018 of 15.1 percent, compared with 5 percent for TV (including advertising, out-of-home advertising, and cinema).

In today’s digital and content marketing economy, everyone is a publisher and anyone can publish content in text, image, and video formats. Paid, owned and earned media channels have converged with over $135 billion being spent on digital content creation in 2014.

Understanding Channel Performance

While digital marketing campaigns, departments and functions overlap, many marketers are still not running well-integrated campaigns. This is because many marketers plan their integrated digital marketing campaigns without first understanding which channels perform and what drives business impact.

For example, after analyzing billions of pieces of content, a study by BrightEdge (my employer) found organic search drives 51 percent of all visitors to B2B and B2C websites.

Marketers that don’t put understanding digital channel performance before planning will struggle to find their optimal marketing mix.

Digital marketers now work harder than ever to understand content and digital marketing performance as their imperative – they then use this intelligence to build efficient, integrated, digital marketing campaigns around channels that have maximum business impact.

Smart digital marketers are now investing and building integrated digital campaigns around high-impact channels while understanding how content insights, production and measurement fuel this performance.

Building an Integrated Digital Campaign: 5 Steps to Success

According to Econsultancy and Oracle:

There is a very large gap between the percentage of companies saying they prioritize the cross-channel integration of marketing activities (67%) and those that understand their customers’ journeys and adapt the channel mix accordingly (43%). Furthermore, only 30% are facilitating integrated marketing using cross-functional teams.

Below I have highlighted five key steps to help digital marketers build an effective integrated digital marketing campaign based on understanding channel impact utilizing content as a key driver of insights, strategy and performance.

Step 1 – Identify which key digital channels convert

Before you build your integrated digital marketing plan ensure that you understand what channels are driving performance and business impact. Utilize technology and cross-channel attribution modeling to also help identify where, how and when different channels impact each other.

Step 2 – Understand your target audience

Understanding your audience means translating diverse sets of first- and third-party data into a digestible format. Leveraging both historical and real-time data allows digital marketers to map out in advance what types of digital content will perform best.

Step 3 – Build your content and digital strategy in synergy

Build an integrated digital marketing plan that takes into account the creation, repurposing, amplification and syndication of content that will work across all your digital channels.

The most successful cross-channel digital marketing campaigns deliver content and message through a variety of channels and media, including:

  • Organic search
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Email marketing
  • Display advertising
  • Social media
  • Videos
  • Events
  • Speaking engagements
  • Websites
  • Blogs
  • e-books
  • White papers

(You can read more about how best to build an integrated marketing campaign in this free BrightEdge resource that is available to download here.)

It’s also important to integrate on and offline campaigns to maximize reach and impact across PR, TV, radio 
and print. Incremental scale can be built when digital and traditional advertising work in synergy.

Step 4 – Structure and align your digital marketing teams

Ensure that your internal departments and digital talent are structured and “optimized” to work in unison. For example, hybrid digital marketers are pivotal to digital success, as they have the core competencies that foster cross-channel collaboration and elevate business impact across multiple business functions.

Step 5 – Execute, optimize and measure success

There has never been a better time for digital marketers to take advantage of technology, analytical integrations and data to help measure the value of digital marketing. Measuring content performance is a key part of this process that allows marketers to produce smarter content and justify future investment in content and digital marketing.


Content is the glue that binds digital marketing. In order to successfully build, optimize and integrate cross-channel strategies, it’s vital that marketers understand not only what channels have high impact, but also the pivotal role that content insights, production and performance play in the “planning” of integrated digital marketing campaigns.

For online marketers, content is digital and digital is content.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

The above article written by Jim Yu and originally published on Marketing Land.