Why discrete frameworks are needed for truly integrated marketing
Digital Marketing Manager
Integrated marketing isn’t exactly a new concept. But for most people, accurately calculating the return on investment of each activation certainly is. With conversations over the past few years shifting from ‘should we be on social media?’ to ‘should we be on TikTok or Snapchat?’, organisations need little convincing of the merits of multi-channel marketing. Many of us are already seeing results from the integration of messaging and campaigns in a variety of channels and platforms. Yet, too many are running campaigns almost blindly, without understanding the purpose of each channel or activation - let alone the value. To be able to communicate value, you first have to demonstrate what's been accomplished. Alone, though, this isn't enough. To truly measure impact, we need clear frameworks to track every activity. Measuring performance in silos New research from Focus Vision reveals B2B buyers read 13 pieces of content on average before making a purchasing decision. And it’s likely to be one campaign with 13 different touchpoints across the PESO Model - Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned. But not all touchpoints are created equal. If one of your initial touchpoints – such as press coverage – is used as a driver of brand awareness, its impact will be substantially different from touchpoints further along the sales funnel, such as demand generation activities. In the former, you are asking little of your audience except for their attention, whereas with demand generation you are seeking active conversions. Recently, Sam Mohr told you that we have to view campaigns as we would a supply chain. The very end of a supply chain - the output - is very different from the beginning - the parts inputted. So, why do so many try to compare the first touchpoint to the thirteenth? Introducing structure Only a few weeks ago, the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) renewed their Barcelona Principles to version 3.0, citing that “common practices in 2010 – even 2015 (when the Principles were first updated) – may now be outdated, with game-changing shifts particularly over the last 2-3 years”, while also seeking to broaden its relevance across organisations. While this seismic shift hasn’t exactly happened overnight, it has happened very quickly. The Barcelona Principles seek to provide guidance to turn “the ever-expanding media landscape into a transparent, reliable, and consistent framework”. The Barcelona Principles were the first of their kind for effective measurement in Public Relations and Communications. Yet, ten years later and in its third iteration, the same problems still remain: how can everything marketing departments do be assigned a value, and how can we communicate that to non-PR professionals, so they can talk about it? It may sound obvious, yet it’s a big problem. Joining-up the writing Whether you’re communicating to your CEO or enabling your client to liaise with their own internal stakeholders, there should be no doubt on the success of the campaign. The introduction of frameworks has gone a long way in trying to meet these challenges. Their structure adds much-needed consistency to the processes of campaign planning and reporting. Putting objectives at the forefront may, again, sound obvious – but it’s genuinely surprising that it isn’t always the case. How can you truly communicate the value or success of something if you didn’t know what you were trying to achieve in the first place? Built from learnings of other PR evaluation models such as the Kellogg Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Extension Program Logic Models, AMEC’s Integration Evaluation Framework provides a good example of starting with the goal in mind when building frameworks. The seven-stage model begins with defining Objectives, and ends with evaluating Impact: What the framework does successfully is acknowledge that, while integrated campaigns require siloed executions, measurements and purposes, they are integrated in meeting the same goals and objectives. However, it lacks clarity as to why these earlier inputs – which would typically be brand awareness – are key in meeting these business objectives. Building from learnings Just as AMEC has reengineered rather than reinvented the wheel, we at AxiCom are in the process of learning from our industry and our clients in what’s essential for a succinct yet integrated measurement framework. For the industry as a whole, clearly defining and assigning a purpose to all marketing communications before and after execution is fundamental to this, and we’re here to help stakeholders understand and map exactly what route it takes.