Little or no integration and optimization across a range of marketing initiatives: With leading marketers already adopting an integrated approach across marketing levers, a large number of players still do not display rigor in understanding the true impact of each customer-contact opportunity available to them. Specifically, some key tradeoffs are not explored. For example should an integrated brand retailer in a sales downturn situation, spend more on catchment area promotion awareness or on broad based TV advertising? How can OOH spends be compared against those on traditional media? Such questions are seldom asked or answered in a rigorous fashion.
Attaining excellence in brand activation calls for redefining guidelines for an integrated marketing mix in order to breathe life into the creative idea across all consumer touch points. Often, spend analysis across different marketing platform is uncoordinated and unshared. To support an integrated marketing mix plan, an integrated briefing process is critical. This means not only briefing across creative, BTL and PR agencies but also including packaging, sales organization and channel partners to truly magnify the impact of the initiative. This can be supplemented through periodic team meetings across various marketing agencies and the internal organization team which are useful perspective building and in determining a holistic and robust marketing plan.
Lack of robust guidelines and standard procedures for media strategy, planning and buying: Adrenalin rush associated with overnight responses to competitor initiatives is the stuff that marketing legends are made of. Nobody can deny the critical need for strong tactical responses to competitor initiatives, especially when the battle lines are clearly defined. However, short term tactical responses become an issue when they start to dictate strategy itself. One of the soundest tests to gauge this is level of compliance to the strategic plans of the brand and to the gate keeping processes laid down by the organization even for tactical moves. If the marketing spend process compliance is not very high, then either the processes themselves need to be restructured or there is a need to reinforce the need for compliance. In many cases we observe, that the rigor of challenging media planning and buying decisions is not formalized through standardized guidelines or documentation. While in some cases, a lot of data is accessible and a lot of presentations are made, robust decision making frameworks are still not available to the marketing teams. Is there a standard checklist which marketing teams can access to check if “Weeks on Air” (WOA) and Frequency recommendations are logical for the category? Is there dynamic buying framework which allows for channel wise spend plans to be reviewed based on leading predictive variables? Is there sufficient analysis to justify the impact buys? Players who are able to develop and constantly stick to process guidelines and strategic plans utilize their marketing rupees significantly better. Some relevant indicators tracked regularly in form of CMO level spend efficiency dashboards can help estimate the magnitude of the issue – number of unplanned additional campaigns launched, number of campaigns with budget overruns, number of campaigns with success rate in terms of reach and frequency, etc. Best practice companies adopt process frameworks even for tactical initiatives which can have built in flexibility to ensure spend optimization without compromising time to market.
Limited focus on building internal media capabilities: Marketing teams have traditionally focused on activities that are generally considered to have a significant bearing on top-line such as consumer insights, market research, innovation channel / distribution management and the like; media is viewed often as a ‘cost’ item that needs to be optimized, but not necessarily as a lever that can actually improve returns based on micro-targeting of the consumer. Hence, marketers today may not necessarily understand the intricacies of media industry and its business models