Collaboration versus Integration
I have been speaking a lot about this idea lately and finally have put it in a post.
When we talk of integrated marketing (or integration of anything for that matter), the premise is that we begin with an idea that has already been cast and make it work in other areas.
The idea itself is usually formed with a specific media in mind to get the message across. The plan is then to take the idea and rework it to "fit" in other areas, channels and media.
Sometimes it works, many times it does not. Why? Simply, the square peg does not always fit into the round hole. The helicopter (or the "hey-co-co" as my two year son calls them) is not meant to be parked in an underground garage. A good idea can be made great if it is transferable across multiple platforms. The reverse is also true.
When I hear the word "integration" I really believe we have been trained to think in the wrong context. The mindset must change. Don't believe me? Look up the dictionary definition of both words and then ask yourself why we have been doing this for so long. Integration is about blending. Collaboration is about creation.
Collaborative marketing is an altogether different beast. A global objective is set with multiple disciplines at the table at the same time to invent the right idea and delivery of that idea. Predispositions to particular areas are still present, but the focus is to generate something that will work everywhere (or at least identify right off the bat where it won't work). Idea generation/creation is king. Everyone has an equal say with respect to the right ingredients.
I do not think this is sematics or conjecture. This is the future of marketing, product development and pretty much anything else. And, consumers are the biggest part of the collaborative conversation. Ask Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman of General Motors (and corporate blogger of Fast Lane) if he is a collaborator or an integrator? I'd bet a whole bunch that he is the former, not the latter.
More importantly, what would you rather be?
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