We used to focus all of our energy on trying to develop ads that would communicate a singular message about our core value proposition in an intriguing and compelling way. If we could do that, people would buy.

The problem is that’s no longer enough.

That method works when a ) there are less messages vying for our attention to sift through b) there are less options to solve our problems.

People have too many choices. And as a result, there are many singular compelling messages for us to consider. One perfect shot isn’t enough.

Walmart didn’t become successful because it reinvented the concept of a store. They invented an integrated distribution system of stores. There were general stores and grocery stores and department stores well before them, which were very effective in selling a wide range of products to the masses. Walmart didn’t display the products that much better. Their service was definitely not superior.

What made them successful was in creating a network of stores that were far more powerful than any one store. This gave them stronger negotiating leverage with suppliers. They were able to shift inventory amongst different stores based on demand. More stores provided more data to analyze, providing better projection models to anticipate sales. The network they built was their key to success.

So too, marketing has become less about creating better ads, and more about creating an integrated network of building loyalty for your brand. A single ad won’t reasonably affect purchase behavior. And seeing it three times isn’t enough. People need to be exposed to your message in a myriad of ways, each tactic building on each other.

Integrated Marketing Communications has been important for companies for the last three decades. But it has never required more coordination and an adherence to developing a solid foundation for your brand. How do you ensure that your tweets align with your sales presentations and your Super Bowl ad? When they don’t there are thousands of people who are just waiting to point out any flaws.

A solid brand foundation, tightly knit coordination and an emphasis on action are the keys to success.