Connection Planning is taking a holistic view of the customer journey and developing strategies that help brands connect with consumers in meaningful ways, with the right message, at the right time and the right place. This requires agencies and advertisers to work seamlessly together as one connected team.
The challenge in achieving this often starts at the briefing stage, when agencies are briefed separately. A common practice is when marketing teams work independently on their respective disciplines (i.e. content, paid media, owned media, events, PR, CRM, retail etc). All important consumer touch points, but not always connected.
There is also a trend in agencies, media as an example, increasing their focus on specialists at the expense of generalists who are key to connecting all the dots and seeing the big picture. To deliver effective connection planning requires on-going collaboration and integration across disciplines and agency partners – a continuous process for brands to meet consumers evolving needs. It’s easier said than done of course and often requires a transformation in ways of working.
To help achieve, a few points to consider:
Integration leads: Appointing leads on both advertiser and agency side is critical to success, ensuring teams are working together from briefing to solution development to execution. Leads should be senior staff who can take decisions and keep things moving.
Integrated briefings: A “kick off” where marketing disciplines and agency partners come together is key. Prioritizing objectives and KPIs to ensure all parties focus on what is critical for success. Briefs with laundry lists of objectives often result in Chinese menu solutions in return.
Integrated planning sessions: These should be held at regular intervals to bring agency partners together to collaboratively work through the brief and develop connected communication proposals in response. Also not losing sight of the consumer, who should be at the heart of the process.
Remuneration model: To achieve channel agnostic thinking across agencies requires a different remuneration model. If some partners will not be involved in the execution of a solution, they should still be compensated for their strategic thinking and contribution. If not, agencies will understandably just put forward ideas within their remit and to their commercial advantage. See how Flock tackle Remuneration Modelling here.
Agency & Client Appraisals: To land the importance of being connected, appraisals for both agency and advertiser should include relevant KPIs to get everyone on board.
If this sounds challenging, it can be, but the pay off of having marketing disciplines and agency partners working seamlessly together is invaluable. As a team of former media, creative and brand execs, we understand the challenges first hand. If you’d like to understand our 3D (Define, Decide, Do) process to help achieve a truly connected way of planning, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.