Integration is one of those ideas which many regard as nice to consider, but impractical to implement. There are a few reasons for this, but the most prevalent seems to be this: People have misinterpreted the word to imply “all-inclusive.” That is to say, as soon as a company advertises an “integrated” solution, clients assume that they will receive every possible solution which is even remotely relevant to the company’s work.
Let me give an example. The phrase “integrated web design solutions” might lead people to assume that this includes everything from apps, to design elements and scripting languages such as Flash and CSS, to logo design and typography, and even as far as including SEO as well. When someone considers that the definition of integration, it’s only natural that they scoff at the idea and say that there’s no possible way the company has that breadth of expertise.
However, what if I were to tell you that the person who used the phrase “integrated web design solutions” in the first place was referring only to the fact that they knew typography and all the best programming languages? A good web designer, after all, could just be very good with formatting your site so that it flows in color and form with whatever images get used. They might not be so great at creating images, logos, or typographical elements. So a web designer who can do both could call themselves an integrated solution. Why? Because you didn’t have to divide the work between a graphic artist and a web designer.
Why is it, then, that we assume that “integrated” is synonymous with “all-inclusive?” Isn’t it closer to the truth to say that an integrated solution simply combines two or more fields?
I often label RevBuilders an integrated online marketing solutions company. This is because we are more concerned with achieving results in the world of online marketing than we are in sticking to and endorsing one specific online marketing medium. You will find plenty of people who “just do SEO,” or “just do social.” However, by not adhering to one specific mode, we are able to ask a question which isn’t asked very often anymore: “How can we help you?”
We don’t insist that all of our services are right for everybody. You may, in fact, just need a website, or just need SEO. We’re okay with that. However, by asserting our integrated nature, we identify ourselves as being capable of meeting your company where it is, rather than doing “our part” and leaving you to hire someone else to pick up loose ends. Does this mean we’re all things to all clients? Of course not! That’s why I liken the phrase “integrated marketing” to a custom suit.
Let me explain. If you were to want a really nice suit that fit your body perfectly, there are few options other than to go with a custom suit. If you’re lucky, you might find something off the rack which fits pretty well (this is kind of like “pre-packaged” flat-rate SEO or web design services), but it will still be lacking in some way or another. Only by getting a suit made especially for you will get you that perfect fit. However, getting that custom suit is a bit more expensive than off-the-rack suits (again, compare this to SEO consultant prices and flat-rate SEO companies).
However, just because the suit is custom does not necessarily mean it’s one-of-a-kind, or that every possible trick of the suit-making trade was used in creating it. The design of the fabric could be exactly like another suit that was made, for example. Or, it could be the case that someone else out there, who matches your body proportions, had a custom suit made as well. This makes sense: Would you truly want a one-of-a-kind suit? Imagine a suit that is really one-of-a-kind, and it’s pretty easy to see why no one has made it yet! Or, maybe Lady Gaga is wearing it? At any rate, it’s probably not something you, the average business owner, wants to deal with. Likewise, imagine a suit which was created using every possible method and accessory at once. What a gaudy mess!
I give this illustration to drive home my key point: Integration is more about being the custom suit-maker than it is about being everything to everyone. While it tends to imply a certain breadth and depth of knowledge in the given field, one shouldn’t expect an “integrated” company to use every detail of their knowledge for every client. Not only would this be impracticable, it would actually be harmful to most clients. This is why, at RevBuilders, we are so committed to understanding the needs and capabilities of each and every client. By thoroughly understanding your company’s goals, needs and budget, we are able to craft the most valuable online marketing campaign for you.