My blog is about exchanging ideas and best practices on all things marketing and communications related. I'm interested in your thoughts, feedback, additions, arguments and point of view.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Integrated Marketing Communications – Taking the 360 degree approach.

I had lunch with our agency account director this past Friday. It had been a while, so we had a lot to catch up on - a mutual friend’s promotion, what we did over summer holidays and celebrating the completion of a marcom project.

But there was one topic we spent a lot of time on, starting with our entrees right through to cappuccinos and waiting for the bill – the growing importance of integrated marketing communications, (IMC) and the challenges for the modern day marketing officer and advertising agency.

According to a recent report published by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, developing integrated marketing communications is the number one concern of senior marketing executives (followed by accountability, aligning their marketing organization with innovation and building strong brands). Of those surveyed, 91% believe that an integrated campaign is of critical importance to their success; however only 21% believe that their organization actually does a great job delivering it.

Taking a 360° view.
The answer for a growing number of marketers is to take a 360° approach, zeroing in on a target group likely to be receptive to a message – and surrounding it from every angle, using a variety of media to touch customers at different points along the decision-to-buy pathway.

Although it began as a media planning tool, 360° has since expanded to embrace the entire process of communicating with customers and prospects. In our new media world – having moved from manufacturer-controlled to consumer-managed, companies have been forced to rethink how to reach people. “If you are talking about reaching the consumer, you are missing the point,” says Wenda Harris Millard, chief sales officer at Yahoo! Inc. “You can reach anybody. The challenge now, because of media multitasking, is connecting with consumers.”

So using new media tools to deliver a 360° approach means understanding each one's relative strengths and ability to influence the consumer:

1. Talk to your media planners and understand the strengths and weaknesses of each - which ones work best at generating message reach? Conversion? Consideration? Purchase? Which offer efficient regional or local audience coverage?

2. New media options are creating new ways to measure engagement - and need to be included in the campaign metrics pages of your plan. For instance, what is the value to your brand of watching a video on You-Tube, writing on someone's wall on Face book, or collecting an email address?

3. Work closely with your research owls and see what the correlation of media usage is on conversion and purchase. What new media options are more efficient at delivering buyers than others? What's the cost per lead per vehicle?

4. And, since many of us see the poetry in program ROI calculations, it’s about getting the media investment to align cost-efficiently with the above insights.

To impress the marketing director with your dazzling command of the new media world, work with an agency that takes an agnostic approach to recommending different media. One clue - look for new agency roles including chief activation officer, or media integration planner as cues they understanding the new ways to connect with consumers.

I remember back in the day when I started my career in advertising. For those of us who didn’t go to OCA for a fine arts degree, a common way to get a foot in the door was through the media group. Spend a few years as a media estimator, then a media planner or buyer. Since the better paying jobs were in account services, in short order you were focussed on a role as an AE or Supervisor.

However today, with the amazing innovations in media, technology and the rapid pace of change, it seems to me some of the most important, coolest jobs found in any agency today are in the media group.

Now how 360° is that?

No comments: