The dividing lines between the communications and marketing function are starting to blur as more companies rely on the insights derived from data and analysis to build an integrated marcomms strategy. Across the globe, we’re seeing these once siloed teams come together to create more impactful and measurable campaigns - and we only have data and Insights to thank.

How and when did this happen? We know that customers do not distinguish between channels; to them, all brand communications are equal whether it’s a PR program, a TV ad or an advertorial. We also know that technology platforms that can provide real time metrics, allow more content driven activity to be measurable. Fusing marketing and communications helps provide a single focus and strategy into how an organization is reaching and communicating with their customers.

Communications has not traditionally had to showcase the customer journey – from the event or campaign, to the purchase – whereas marketers are accustomed to providing hardline metrics. However, as measurable data becomes more accessible through technology, communications professionals are becoming more conscious of learning from their proactive and reactive activity and gaining insights into how this can be improved. The onus is now on communicators to provide solid metrics and prove their impact, as marketers have, directly to the c-suite.

Without data and insights, communication professionals in the long term will struggle to continuously contribute to the business goals and objectives of the organization and more crucially in the shorter term, for budget.

From a ‘hug’ to a measurable ROI driven strategy

A corporate comms director that I recently spoke too describes PR as “the hug a brand gives the consumers”. But as technology improves, reliance on traditional ways of working will no longer suffice. It’s becoming necessary to measure the hug.

Originally the gulf between communications and marketing was originally so dispersed they were seen as two separate departments with two separate budgets, but this set to change forever.

Integrated marketing and communications teams now need to prove their worth across the entire gamut of activity in order to receive on going and increasing budget for their activities.

Why integrated marketing is more successful

But data doesn’t just help prove the worth of strategies. The right data provides insights and shapes future strategies to lead to better success.

The integration of these two disciplines is a win-win for the consumer, the employee and the brand. Add data and you have an even more powerful outcome.

These professionals can map out cohesive strategies that map the entire customer journey and all outcomes. Adding data means activity can be tweaked in real-time to increase success.

For instance, much of today’s measurable consumer engagement comes from social media. For me social is absolutely in the heartland of the communicator but today the social media strategy is almost exclusively managed by marketing. That is such a missed opportunity for comms professionals and I urge anyone in this role to immerse themselves in the world of social media.

Social listening tools are collecting data that can not only provide Insight before a campaign or strategic move but social media analysis can also offer metrics for communication practitioners to showcase their value to their peers and bosses. This insight is best used when translated to inform strategy, guide content and create a deeper relationship with the target market.

In today’s fragmented media landscape, it no longer makes business sense to separate marketing and communications activities. Data is helping to fuse all consumer touch points into one single holistic approach to communicating, marketing and selling to the customer.

Not only will technology help integrated marketing and communications professionals prove the effectiveness of their work, but it will help brands speak to their customers is one united voice, where ultimately the consumer benefits.

Here in Australia we are still very much at the beginning of this journey – I’d love to hear your opinions or predictions of how these two disciplines are coming closer together through data and Insights.

Asha Oberoi
Head of Insights, Australia and New Zealand