Doyle Albee realized his team was missing opportunities.
It wasn’t anyone’s fault. But the traditional PR team at his Denver-based Comprise agency was head down on media relations while the digital team was busy with social media and no one was really looking at the bigger picture.
“There were times when, because we weren’t speaking together as well in advance, I think that we didn’t take advantage of opportunities as well as we could,” Albee told PR Daily in a recent interview. They were lacking one person who was looking at how digital and traditional PR meshed in the 25-person agency and what each discipline could offer the other in a holistic way.
Let’s say a client was releasing a new diversity, equity and inclusion campaign. In addition to having a story on their brand newsroom, had they strategically seeded breadcrumbs on their site before the announcement to show this wasn’t a new commitment? Did their social media reflect the same values? Were there other ways digital could get involved to bolster the traditional media efforts — and vice versa?
There was no one to make sure everything was singing in harmony.
Albee and his team decided that what they needed was an integrated marketing director.
HubSpot defines integrated marketing as aligning your communications efforts in tandem, across channels and platforms. That includes making sure your brand voice is consistent, your materials drive to consistent places and your storytelling is seamless and resource rich.
Comprise was lucky enough to have a candidate fall into their laps without even having to post the role. James Royer has been with the company about four weeks, and already Albee said the role has been “a breath of fresh air” as Royer has been able to offer high-level strategy that ties together the agency’s two main silos.
And not only is that good for clients, but it’s also good for the agency. One of the key ways Albee will measure the success of the role is in how Royer is able to extend the breadth of services clients access by demonstrating how the full breadth of the communications strategy fits together.
“We want to be able to say that all of this is important. You can do a great job, get all sorts of reporter interest, and if the website is terrible, it breaks there. If the social isn’t paying it off, whether it breaks or not, it certainly is a missed opportunity,” Albee explained. “So we see all these things working so closely together, I will think that this really worked well.”
If your organization isn’t lucky enough to have the right candidate fall into your lap, Albee has some advice for finding a great integrated marketing professional.
The first is having the right skillset. You want a person whose experience spans different disciplines, so they can credibly speak the language of the branches they’ll be dividing. They don’t have to be an expert in everything, but they do need some experience and familiarity. The other aspect is the right cultural fit to effect change.
“There’s a million ways to change things. And you can do it as the proverbial bull in a china shop or you can come in and work with people and bring things along. So I was really looking for somebody who wanted to come in and say, ‘This is great, what you’re doing here, I really like this, I’m impressed with this, I see a way to make this better,’” Albee explained.
Both factors need to be in balance.
“I think perfect skills and bad culture would have failed. Perfect culture in the wrong skills would have failed,” Albee said.
While it’s early days for integrated marketing at Comprise, Albee is already seeing a positive impact.
“You can really change your agency. I think it can change and improve the value you bring to clients so much.”