I'm just back from Dallas where I was part of the iProspect/Range Online client summit -- a one day event of mostly client stories (from a high profile list of marketers) about their successes and woes this year. Overall, I found the event provided a great pulse on present interactive marketer challenges. But it was less rife with answers or solutions to these challenges. Maybe that was by design as the answers are what Range and iProspect will now spend the next several months developing for their clients?
In any case, I did hear some very interesting things throughout the day.
The first session -- a panel featuring Kaiser Permanente, Genesco Retail, Radio Shack, Jones Apparel, and adidas America introduced a theme that was carried throughout the day: That one of the greatest challenges for interactive marketers today is getting support and cooperation from their traditional brand marketing colleagues.
I actually couldn't believe that this pain came up as repeatedly as it did and seemed as paralyzing as it did for the panelists and members of the audience who joined the discussion. I was expecting current marketer woes to focus on the economy, data challenges, or even sorting through emerging media options. These topics did get addressed throughout the summit, but they were always couched within the notion of "how do we better foster a corporate mindset that supports interactive?"
How big a problem is this for you? Do you find that your interactive efforts often don't get realized as fully as they could because you don't have corporate support for them?
My thought is that organizations buy in to interactive marketing in theory, and there are even great examples of interactive champions doing great things out there from firm to firm. But culturally, most companies are not "interactive" at heart. Like we could comfortably call P&G or Ford a big brand advertiser...but would we identify anyone an "interactive marketer?" Should this be a label or a culture companies strive for?
What will have to happen for entire companies (not just portions of a marketing team) to give over to an interactive philosophy and the type of customer relationships and business decisions that go along with this philisophy?