Convergence Ahead: Combining marketing and communication functions

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Credit: istockphoto.com/laflor

Credit: istockphoto.com/laflor


Weber Shandwick has been a keen observer in recent years of “hybridized” marketing and communication functions. We have investigated the trend in numerous research studies, dedicating an entire study in 2014 to the issue. In that study, 10 chief communication and marketing officers (CCMOs) from companies of varying sizes and industries shared deep insights into the drivers and benefits of convergence at their organizations, as well as the challenges they faced in the process of integrating two traditionally disparate functions. Our study, Convergence Ahead: The Integration of Communications and Marketing, reveals firsthand knowledge about what to expect when integrating communication and marketing.

The impetus for integration

There is no single reason for integrating marketing and communication. Some companies were responding to a radical change in their business portfolios or markets, while others were adapting to the rapidly changing media environment. Only a few were driven by a need to streamline operations for cost efficiencies. However, in every instance, the CEO explicitly or implicitly mandated action against reputation-related goals, paving the road to convergence.

Acceleration through digital

The study found that digital media are an accelerator of convergence. Social media and digital technologies have blurred the lines between marketing and communication, and integration allows better alignment to meet the demands of this new environment. CMCOs describe how the greater variety of information choices arising from digital media compelled them to evolve and organize around multichannel communication. According to one CCMO, “Marcomms, as a discipline, has become digitally centric—call it digital convergence. That fundamentally changes what we do, how we do it, and the kind of people we need.”

Pre-integration jitters

While the CCMOs in our study knew that integration was the right thing to do, most were not entirely prepared for the challenges that awaited them. CCMOs described three main obstacles to convergence:
 
Read the full article in Communication World
 

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