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In the round: Gini Dietrich on integrating communications


July 2, 2012

Gini Dietrich, CEO of Chicago-based Arment Dietrich, Inc., is the co-author of “Marketing in the Round: How to Develop an Integrated Marketing Campaign in the Digital Era,” with Geoff Livingston.  Their recently published book examines the integration of communications disciplines and how people can work together “in the round” of team members, knowledge and available resources to achieve business goals.

I recently spoke with Dietrich, a member of the Counselors Academy, about this modernized organizational mindset.

Integrated communications has been around for some time. What does your book add beyond the standard definition?

We look at breaking down organizational silos and creating a new culture where departments work together simultaneously toward shared goals and conversing with customers in a coherent voice. While the book is not specifically about social media, we talk about strategically integrating it into multichannel communications programs.

Technology has blurred the lines between traditional marketing and PR domains. Does your “marketing in the round” concept refocus this?

There isn’t a simple answer for un-blurring communication roles. They are going to get more blurry in fact, so “the round” encourages everyone to focus together.

Consider that chief marketing officers are some of the shortest-tenured senior executives. This is one indicator suggesting collaboration could be occurring more often.

We’ve had social tools at our disposal for several years, and still seek their full potential. What inhibits social tools from becoming fully integrated?

Measurement has held us back. Most communicators haven’t found meaningful ways to justify their social media efforts. It’s not just followers, fans and viral video views, but how stories are told and how awareness is created to achieve business goals.

Social media is still the Wild West of communications. Clients want  Twitter strategies or viral campaigns without considering their purpose within a larger communications strategy. A desire to use social tools is good, but [it] must be harnessed and supportive of your strategic roadmap.

What activities should we try to measure?

If you understand how your organization’s sales cycle makes money, then you can plan your way to a win every time.

Communicators should measure how their efforts support three desired outcomes: increased revenue, improved margins and shortened sales cycles. Understanding these identifies the cause and effect of tactics we implement. But this may not always be obvious to creative people, so making friends with your accounting department is one great way to learn.

What are PR practitioners contributing to marketing in the round?

Selfishly, I want PR people to be the hub of the marketing round team. But the hub or leader doesn’t have to be a CMO or PR pro specifically, just someone who understands how all the disciplines work. Leaders need to know which tactics to select and who to bring in at the right times. Many organizations have PR personnel who are great at this.

Ryan Zuk, APR Ryan Zuk, APR, is a media and analyst relations professional, Phoenix PRSA Chapter member and Sage North America representative. Zuk can be reached @ryanzuk on Twitter. He also blogs at criticalmasspr.com.
Email: ryanzuk at gmail dot com



Comments

Geoff Livingston says:

A great interview, and Gini is so right. Social media is the wild west of communications, and we have to tie them to strategic objectives and goals. Thanks for publishing this great interview!

July 3, 2012

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