WFA holds marketing meetings in Singapore


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25 members of WFA's IMCFORUM met at Visa's offices on September 25th in Singapore to tackle priority issues including 'how to make IMC less painful' and 'the imperfect science of measuring the ROI of IMC'.

By its nature, integrated marketing involves engaging different people with a variety of skills and personality types. As such there will always be clashes e.g. internal politics or external 'land-grabs'. Yet there are, of course, many solutions to employ to overcome these issues. Some examples from the meeting included:
  • hand-pick the people (no matter how junior or senior) you want on the team: the most vocal creative director may not be the most inclined to collaborate!
  • as one member put it: “effective integration has to be led by a strong client.” Nobody knows your business better than you, or is better positioned to conduct the team you have assembled – providing you have experience in leading IMC programmes.
  • beware restricting your colleagues by being too prescriptive: better to provide a flexible framework which enables creative local delivery than a 'cookie cutter' solution which may be hard to scale.

Understanding ROI is a topic which has been on the WFA's agenda since we launched 60 years ago – yet seemingly it becomes more complex by the day! That said, the message communicated by many was that fear of change should not be paralysing. Even in markets where available data may be less robust/ trustworthy, some level of accountability is always better than none. Going back to basics in using 'control and test' markets can still be a very effective means of understanding the efficacy of integrated solutions. The upside, of course, is that “nothing scales like success'. The conclusion from the IMCFORUM was that creating positive ROI stories is one of the best ways to align your colleagues around the world towards more building their own effective IMC programmes.

The next day, on September 26th WFA's SOURCINGFORUM met to share conversations and challenges around marketing sourcing in the Asia-Pacific region. Part of the focus of the discussion was on how procurement teams can best work within the digital marketing space, managing and working with a variety of digital and technology suppliers. Below are some of the recommendations that came out of the discussions, led by our guest presenters from Wunderman Asia.
  • Break it down: Get visibility across all digital disciplines and understand who is being used for what in each market.
  • Be an enabler: Often the most innovative technology partners are small boutique shops run by relatively few people. While this can make it hard to scale up for multi-market brands, sometimes the solution can be applied via a larger traditional agency using a licensing agreement. Position sourcing as an innovation enabler with digital agencies.
  • Don't specialise: Procurement can be fazed by fast changing technology and consequently shy away from initiatives in this space. Rather than trying to become a search marketing or mobile app specialist, focus on getting the basics down so that you have enough information to make sound buying decisions for your business. It is marketing's role to understand how to deploy the technology.
  • Marshall your resources: Some clients have put digital agencies as the lead AOR for their brands. This doesn't always work as digital agencies don't always have the same level of experience at marshalling resources as full-service agencies do. Procurement can help bring greater clarity to the hub-and-spoke model of managing a multi-discipline digital agency roster by helping marketing clearly define the roles and responsibilities.
  • Digital workload: Scope of work creep is notorious within the creative asset development stage, and often results in spiralling costs. By defining parameters that marketing teams and their agencies can work to within the digital space (so long as they remain flexible), common mistakes made in the creative world are not transferred over into the digital space too. Digital ad production, versioning and adaptation work are areas where specification can help generate efficiencies.

For more information, contact Any Ung for the IMCFORUM and Steve Lightfoot for the SOURCINGFORUM.

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