Increased Return on Investment from Centralised Integrated Marketing
Saturday, 9th January 2010
For many years a debate has been held around the positives and negatives of the global and regional centralisation of marketing activity. The arguments generally centre upon the benefits of local market knowledge versus a centralised consistency of message and brand as well as the associated cost efficiencies.
Many large organisations have made the move to centralise their marketing efforts for a variety of reasons and in many formats. Some have moved to complete centralisation and control and others to partial centralisation.
The decision to centralise
The decision to centralise is one based upon a number of factors, which include the following:
Control of brand, positioning and message
Consistency of communication
Desire to improve return on investment
Desire to provide increased efficiencies
Desire to reduce costs
The importance placed upon these will be dependant upon the objectives, structure and position of any particular organisation, however the current focus is generally upon improved return on investment and cost efficiencies.
Local knowledge invaluable
The argument against centralisation focuses upon the lack of local market knowledge and the flexibility and speed of response provided by a local marketing resource. This can not be underestimated as it is a benefit in any marketing arena and can provide its own improvement in returns as well as cost efficiencies through a range of activity.
However, where organisations are working across large areas, such as EMEA, centralisation of certain marketing elements can be of significant benefit.
Achieving the right balance
Striking the right balance between local knowledge and centralised cost efficiencies will be the factor that determines the success or failure of any centralised approach.
Being able to rely upon the knowledge of local operating companies and their marketing advisors is essential in ensuring that the implementation of campaigns is right for that particular location and market. This will provide a flexible and dynamic approach to any marketing campaign that is run and provides local marketing departments with an autonomy that is both motivational and inspiring.
The balance to this is providing local operating companies with the tools they need to market their products and services in the most sophisticated way possible. The benefits can be wide ranging.
The concept of centralising the development and creation of marketing campaigns, which can then be implemented locally, not only provides cost efficiencies but also increases return on investment through implementation with local knowledge and provides motivational autonomy for the local marketing teams.
‘Campaign in a Box’
The creation of a ‘Campaign in a Box’ can provide large and small territories across EMEA with a range of sophisticated tools that they may not have been able to afford individually.
What do we mean by a ‘Campaign in a Box’? It is the development and creation of an integrated marketing communications campaign, and all the tools required to execute that campaign, in a structured and easily defined format that can be implemented by local operating companies, whether they have a sophisticated marketing team in place or not.
The benefits accrue from consistent messaging and positioning of brands, products and services across the region, providing improved awareness and response. The cost savings are obvious; only one overall creative and production cost rather than a separate one for each country, duplicating marketing material being produced.
The result is an improved return on investment from local execution of consistent, translated and integrated campaigns that are not only more sophisticated than some markets could afford but also provide for increased awareness and recognition across the region.
Gaining the support across EMEA
Gaining support from marketing teams across EMEA can be difficult. A balance needs to be reached therefore that provides local marketing teams with communication tools they would not otherwise be able to afford, a level of creativity that they appreciate and a degree of autonomy that is acceptable.
Once you have overcome the politics and centralisation is in place then communication and inclusion are essential to the smooth running of all marketing activity. Input from EMEA marketing teams at various stages of the campaign development process is essential to ensure ‘buy in’ and cooperation.
Of course, not everyone can be kept happy, however gaining a consensus on proposed activity will help ensure successful execution.
Inclusive, not dictatorial
The correct balance between compromise and campaign integrity has to be achieved. With many stakeholders providing input into the process the result can be a compromised campaign that does not have the desired impact. Any campaign developed must be flexible enough to work in different markets, whilst also maintain the consistency of brand and message that allows it to meet objectives.
Strength in personal determination and a reasoned approach from the central marketing team is needed to ensure that the resulting campaign is still effective whilst also relevant across the whole region. This is where an experienced marketing agency can provide invaluable support, bringing knowledge and expertise to produce campaigns and creative that can work well across many cultures.
Finally, the interaction and liaison between the agency and the local marketing teams is essential to build trust and confidence in their abilities and in the marketing material they are being provided with. Personal interaction, through meetings, presentations and webinars, will help to build relationships, which will improve communication and feedback on creative and campaigns, providing constructive response and campaign development.
The creative approach
The development of creative campaigns for the EMEA region has to take into consideration a variety of factors:
As well as the practical implications of execution including;
Length of translated text
Perceptions and meanings of colour
Size of printed matter
Direction of text
These are just a few of the factors that must be considered when preparing multi-cultural campaigns. The implications are wide ranging and only experience and expertise can provide the right answers.
Once these factors have been addressed it is important that the creative process, both in thought and design, is not restricted. To produce a campaign that will work across the whole region requires a very creative approach.
Following concept development presentation to the local marketing teams is essential in gaining support and feedback, allowing adaptation to suit the consensus without reducing the effectiveness of the campaign.
An integrated package to suit all needs
The most effective campaigns will be those that provide a range of integrated marketing tools for each country to use. A guide to their use should be provided alongside an explanation as to how they will work together and the impact that an integrated approach will have.
This could include:
Tactical web sites
Online banner advertising
Press and Public Relations
The combination of these will be determined by the campaign objectives, however providing a selection of these tools will offer the local marketing teams with the flexibility they need to execute a coordinated campaign. Guidance from the central marketing team will help ensure that the campaign meets objectives.
Justification for any marketing spend is a requirement in most organisations and not only helps in the agreement of initial budgets but also helps in the negotiation of future budgets if it is demonstrated that a previous campaign has met its objectives through analysis of results.
When working across a region such as EMEA this can be a complicated matter, especially when each country is executing the campaign in a slightly different manner and in different timescales.
Inclusion of the analysis criteria at the outset will be key to all parties understanding the feedback and data required to measure return on investment across the region. If everyone knows what they need to feedback from the outset then measures can be taken to provide this information efficiently.
Key performance indicators will vary between organisations, campaigns and budgetary constraints however these may include the following:
Brand health measures
Analysis of direct response
Analysis of on-line indicators
In summary, the centralisation of marketing activity across large regions can be very successful if managed in a way that provides flexibility for the local marketing teams whilst retaining brand positioning, message consistency and campaign integrity.
The cost efficiencies that can be provided offer a significant saving to organisations whilst also ensuring high levels of creativity and successful marketing communications.
Communication, inclusion and consultation combined with creativity, knowledge and experience can make centralisation a great success.
OKI Printing Solutions
To provide a consistent, impactful and creative communications platform that could be communicated across the EMEA region in 28 countries.
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