Are clients and agencies aligned against business goals? Find out what the MAA survey says

Unknown-82We conducted a survey on the subject of integration over the last month. We didn’t get massive numbers responding, but we did get good quality responses plus some interesting feedback. We plan to run the survey again in the future to see if anything changes.

What this first survey shows is the holy grail of integration of marketing communications isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Despite the claims being made by every agency that they have a joined up structure it isn’t reflected in the responses.

69 per cent of the sample did say that integration is good to excellent which on the face of it appears to be – good. However 23 per cent said it was poor – so almost one in four claiming it’s dysfunctional.

The interesting question is the extent to which integration is changing. 46 per cent claimed it was improving in their world but a whopping 20 per cent said it was actually getting worse. So one fifth of respondents reckons their world is going in the opposite direction.

We tried to probe to assess if respondents felt their organisation was fully aligned against their overall business goals. This is particularly pertinent with the bigger groups where they have their divisions of advertising, digital, media, data, etc. The point made by people working in these groups is that there are internal challenges revolving around individual P&L’s, which create competition for client money.

46 per cent of respondents claimed their business was reasonably aligned but 31 per cent reckon they work in siloed organisations. Only one in ten claimed they worked in a perfectly aligned organisation – so it feels like a lot more effort is needed to get the most out of the resources available. This also gives some credibility to the claim about the divisiveness of separate P&L’s in the big groups.

When it comes to fixing the integration challenges, 81 per cent went for the DIY route with 23 per cent claiming they would bring in an external consultant (looks like a few people ticked twice!). Of the latter group half said a specialist marketing consultant would be the chosen route. However as 27 per cent of the respondents were independent marketing consultants  our guess is they were voting for themselves!

What is interesting about the DIY route is how if differs from client organisations; agencies are shy about spending money on external advice whereas client companies automatically get in specialists for their expertise and impartiality.

Responses were mainly from the UK (77 per cent) and some from the US (12 per cent), mostly male, aged over 41. The overall split of job function was 15 per cent advertisers, 55 per cent agencies, 30 per cent intermediaries/consultants.

Finally we added a question about Flock Associates. The reason being that Flock has established its business as an integration consultancy. Simon Francis (left)Unknown-8, the founder, feels strongly from his experiences at the top of both media and creative agencies that large amounts of marketing budgets are wasted on duplication and silo mentalities. We wanted to see if their name and proposition had gained any traction in the market yet. Surprisingly 26 per cent of our sample had heard of Flock, pretty good for a business not yet a year old.

So the end of term report seems to suggest integration is going in the right direction overall but there is a lot of room for improvement.

We would like to thank everyone who kindly responded: the opinions expressed are most useful; reflecting reality (we hope) rather than propaganda.


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