This article celebrates our first birthday. A year ago, on 17th January 2013, we launched “Flock. The Marketing Integration Company”. Our mission was, and is, to make marketing better. We aim to do this by creating a new type of marketing services resource – “The integrator”.
We have recognised that marketing has become complex and fragmented with multiple departments and agencies often pulling in different directions and causing “disintegration and inefficiency” (see here for more details). There was no independent and objective company that spanned across the different disciplines and skills for marketing and marketing procurement to turn to, to help them gain the benefits of marketing alignment and integration. That is why we launched Flock to fill that gap.
Our collective experience at Flock has enabled us to quickly build on our vision and add considerable value to the clients that we have worked with this year. We would like to thank all our clients for their support.
We now have a thriving London practise, we have raised funds for further expansion, and we are looking carefully at geographic growth. It has been an exhilarating first year. We have proved the case for The Marketing Integration Company, and started a fundamental change in the way clients think of their marketing resources. They have realised that the current disintegrated and inefficient model of resourcing is not working for them, and using a marketing integrator makes more sense.
But, it is our birthday and birthdays are about celebrations, cake, and presents! We will have a small celebration and cake, but in Flock style we wanted YOU to have the presents. So we have collected some Marketing Integration Top Tips as “presents” for you.
#1 Get a single customer definition
If each client department and agency have different views of the target audience then it is impossible to drive a truly integrated campaign. And, what is more as a client you are paying for a waste of agency resource, as each agency spends on average 15% of its fees on “target audience and insight”. A common view of the consumer helps drive effective and efficient communications. A common view of customer journeys and sales funnels also improves effectiveness and efficiency.
#2 Get a cross channel measurement and evaluation system
If you cannot compare and contrast which elements of your marketing mix are working, and at what the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) is by channel, then you are unlikely to be able to drive continual improvements. We are putting in place a large scale Global Measurement and Evaluation suite for one of our clients that allows them to measure the effectiveness of their top ten channels, across a representative four markets to allows them to improve their marketing effectiveness using some of the techniques used here.
#3 Get a brilliant Organising Idea – Mobile Up, Social In, Purpose Led
An organising idea is not an advertising or PR idea that other agencies are told to “activate”. It is a democratic platform for creativity across disciplines, and markets. In the new world of marketing these ideas must be built “Mobile Up, Social In, Purpose Led”. What this means is any idea must be designed to work on, and through mobile, as a primary medium. The idea must have social at its heart, connecting, building, inspiring communities with compelling content. The idea will probably be purpose led, with the brand standing for a purpose or a cause bigger than the brand’s product or service. Think about the Dove Beauty Sketches campaign, which at Flock we nominated as our favourite Integrated Marketing Campaign of 2013 (see here). Ticks many of the boxes, does it not? What about your next campaign, how can you use your resources in a different way to build a truly brilliant organising idea? See here
#4 Build Content Calendars, Content Factories, and Content Envelopes
Once you have an amazing idea you will need to plan out a “Content Calendar”. Simply put, this is a shopping list of all the videos, all the photography, all the games/apps, event and point of sales (POS) builds that you will need, across all channels and markets.
Just working out how much content you need to do truly brilliant social media marketing can be revealing and slightly scary. For one client we work with, by building a content calendar, they realised they needed 700 videos a year for their full marketing mix.
Once you have got your content calendar, or shopping list, you can look again at the resources you need to develop it – the “Content Factory”. How many agencies are creating video? How many production houses are you using? See more here. Should you consolidate photography? Should you decouple production from creative? One of our clients had historically used nine different resources to create nine different videos, for the same product…naturally, now they do not!
A “Content Envelope” is the technology used to store assets, deliver assets, and manage the response. Many clients have a content management system (CMS) that houses their creative assets. Others also have employed a system to allow them to distribute assets to TV stations, press publications, and digital resources. Very few however have linked this back to the response information that each piece of content delivers, to create a virtuous “learning cycle”. Ideally a marketer wants to be able to tell how each advert, each tweet, each picture or video asset has performed – this is what a good content envelope delivers.
#5 Drive alignment across your marketing ecosystem
How do you get all the bits of your marketing ecosystem to work together? We have run global and regional sales and marketing teams, we have run individual agency networks, and holding company groups of companies. We have played politics too. We know exactly how hard it is to get alignment.
But, we have also had the collective opportunity to learn from hundreds of clients, agencies, and consultancies to learn what works in what situation, and what does not. What worked for PlayStation, may not have worked for Guinness, what worked at Aston Martin may not work on Kellogg’s. The thing is, we know what works and what does not!
Here are some points to consider. Do sales and marketing share common objectives? Do procurement and marketing have the same objectives? Do your contracts help or hinder marketing alignment and integration? Do you have common goals and KPIs across the ecosystem? Do you have an integrated appraisal system? Have you built an integrated process across the teams and resources? Do you have good roles and responsibilities assigned and understood? Do you have an “information democracy”? Do you communicate objectives, goals, strategies and measures religiously, all the time? Are you spending time and money on building a team spirit and culture?
#6 Look outside
All companies tend to get “self-absorbed” or a little introspective. Not many companies benchmark themselves against other companies outside their category. In this period of rapid change where new communication ideas and tactics are evolving in very short spaces of time, looking hard at a competitor may mean you follow them, like a bunch of lemmings, over the cliff edge.
Ask yourself “what does great look like?” in all aspects of marketing integration, and benchmark against it. You will improve dramatically when you see what the best in the world do at things like co-creation of big ideas, measurement, or even quite prosaic stuff like processes.
Have a look at our video library of 87 integrated marketing case histories. Come and see the results of our studies of the best of the best, take our benchmark survey for marketing integration, or just come for a chat. See contact details here.
So, that is how we choose to celebrate our first birthday at Flock – by trying to help you make your marketing better through realising the benefits of marketing integration. That and a little cake…
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Happy 1 to all Flocks up there. May you continue to keep it up with flying colours
Raza, thank you very much! All the best from the Flock!