How a System of Record Increases Collaboration and Transparency
Increasing collaboration and transparency is vital to an organization’s ability to grow and succeed. Gurnek Bains, CEO of global change consultancy YSC, says, “I don’t come across many businesses these days where the CEO or senior leadership team doesn’t believe that the next stage of their growth requires a massive increase in collaboration. A lot of senior leaders feel they’ve exhausted the gains they can get from driving change in a silo and squeezing out efficiencies.” How does a marketing system of record fit into increasing collaboration and transparency?
Campaigns that transcend multiple channels are complex beasts to manage. Even single channel campaigns may involve coordination between the marketing department and the agency of record that handles media buying, campaign execution, and performance optimization. Adding to the complexity, a budget is sometimes split across multiple media agencies.
When multiple parties and channels are involved, information asymmetry becomes an issue. Certain parties may only present data that paint themselves in a good light. Your display vendor may present a completely different picture of “display vs. paid search contribution” compared to your paid search vendor. These discussions are a time-consuming distraction that expend a lot of energy and dollars—and ultimately, they don’t do much to improve the performance of your campaigns.
This is why transparency matters. Brands have been much more vocal about demanding transparency from their agencies. Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer, stated at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s 2017 annual leadership meeting, “The days of giving digital a pass are over. It’s time to grow up. It’s time for action.” Marketers discovered that their media agencies were making money off of the “float”—the difference between what agencies were paying publishers vs. what P&G was paying its agency.. Pritchard took action, too, as he announced at this year’s ANA meeting, saying P&G had reduced spending “with several big players” by 20 to 50 percent and that these cuts had helped P&G eliminate 20 percent of its ineffective marketing and increase reach by 10 percent. What if there had been a system of record in place before all these problems between P&G and its agencies and other partners arose? Perhaps this whole situation could have been avoided if an SoR’s transparency and collaboration had been able to identify the most efficient way to use P&G’s marketing dollars.
Having a marketing system of record gives marketing departments the tools to create a much more transparent and collaborative environment for all stakeholders. When key stakeholders have visibility across all the important performance and cost metrics they need to optimize effectively, then the opportunity to take advantage of information asymmetry diminishes considerably.
Of course, marketing leaders still need to make the extra effort to communicate the need for collaboration and instill the right culture and expectations across the various parties they work with. Change management is an indispensable ingredient to the successful deployment of a marketing SoR.
The importance of change management is exemplified by how P&G has handled its agencies amid the rollout of stricter transparency guidelines. Upon further digging, P&G found that its agencies were inflating costs because the fees that it was paying the agencies for services weren’t enough to cover the agencies’ expenses. P&G called on its agencies to communicate the issue and collaboratively try to resolve the problem that led to this financial distortion. P&G and its agencies took the necessary steps for realignment and revisited existing agency contracts—and are still making adjustments.
The lesson? If marketing leaders take the necessary steps to add transparency through a marketing system of record and implement change management steps required to facilitate that transparency throughout the organization, then they can effectively create healthier, more aligned relationships between marketing teams and their agencies. The dismay, discord, and distrust that resulted with P&G’s recent situation can be avoided with transparency and collaborative efforts in place, which allows marketing spend to go into efforts that get results instead.
Implementing a marketing system of record increases the power of data transparency, motivating all stakeholders to align themselves with key priorities. When data is transparent, openness and trust among all the interested parties can increase. A system of record enforces transparency, giving marketers the right tools to enforce a unified view of their marketing data that can be a shared view across all stakeholders. Marketing leaders need to underscore how data transparency yields more collaborative advertiser-agency relationships, and is a win-win scenario for all, and not a “win for the marketer/loss for the agency.” Collaboration and transparency are key to achieving marketing success—and a marketing system of record can help you achieve them. For more insights into how a system of record or SoR improves your marketing, download our eBook, Four Ways You Win with a Marketing System of Record.
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