I have never seen a Unicorn. No-one I know has ever seen a Unicorn. Well, no-one except my daughter Poppy who had one at the end of the garden for a while, apparently it liked eating Mars bars and also playing fairies…
So maybe, if we discount Poppy’s testimony, Unicorns do not exist. But if that is so, why are people talking about them the whole time? Why did I have to spend so much money buying pink t-shirts with swishy-maned Unicorns on them?
Unicorns and the benefits of integration have a lot in common. Lots of people talking about both of them, not a lot of evidence of their existence, but quite a lot of money spent on both unicorns and marketing integration.
Unicorns are magic, so I understand why they might be hard to find. Integration on the other hand, is not magic and so the benefits are much easier to prove, if you know how.
To prove the benefits of marketing integration it helps to have a benchmark from which you can judge any improvement. We tend to work with Quality Benchmarks, Quantity Benchmarks and Service Benchmarks.
All these benchmarks either compare one time period to another (which can cause you to worry whether it was the difference between time periods that caused any changes, rather than the marketing integration) or compare two campaigns that are active at the same time (which can be confusing unless the two marketing campaigns can be separated). So, you have two major way to compare the effects of marketing integration and you choose the best for your situation.
Quality Benchmarks are effectiveness key performance indicators (KPIs) that combine the outcome of the communication with the cost of delivering it. Here we use measures like cost per awareness point, cost per click, and engagement scores like dwell time, likes/follows etc.
Quantity Benchmarks are measures of the amount of things we can get through better integration. Often these efficiency measures relate to streamlining ways of working and processes. Here are some we have used recently; production fee savings, reduction on account management hours, multiple utilisation of creative assets, client hours saved on agency management.
Service Benchmarks are measures of inclusion, team working, “happiness” of the team, Net Promoter Scores (NPS). Of course you need to look at the whole ecosystem to understand all the relationships, and the areas in which you can improve, by how much. At Flock we have built a protocol called – imaginatively – Benchmark, which measures all these aspects and more. You can read more here.
So armed with some pretty simple measures of Quality, Quantity, and Service (QQS) you can truly measure the impact of enhanced effectiveness.
We are working with one large, complex client that has five client departments, housed in two centres (one London, one Singapore), that has thirteen agencies working on a global campaign. We have pulled together a dashboard of KPIs for all disciplines and agencies based upon the QQS platform. The client will be clearly able to demonstrate the benefits of enhanced Integration, year on year.
So, whilst on face value Unicorns and the benefits of marketing integration seem to have much in common, actually we can say that the benefits of marketing integration definitely DO exist, whereas unicorns remain wonderfully magical and illusive (unless you are Poppy and feed them Mars bars of course).