Wednesday, June 25, 2008

'Integration' Offers Effectiveness Measurement Methodology

This blog is mostly about technology. But I haven’t finished the research I had intended this week, so I’m going to point you to an interesting methodology instead. This is from a vendor called Integration, about which I know nothing except what I found on their Web site. They are cool if for no other reason than being headquartered in Cyprus. But they also appear to conduct detailed studies of the effectiveness of different marketing contacts—something they refer to as a Market ContactAudit. (Why they make that two words instead of one or three, I have no idea.)

The Web site contains a detailed evaluation of their technology by the Advertising Research Foundation. The steps are:
  • define a set of brands and contacts to assess. This is based on discussions with company managers and focus groups with consumers.
  • survey consumers to find identify the “clout” of each contact type (specifically, its ability to convey information, create emotional bonds, and influence attitudes and behavior), and to find which brands they associate with which contacts
  • use the results to calculate ‘Brand Experience Points’ (the clout of each contact x the number of brand associations with that contact), and the ‘Brand Experience Share’ (the target brand’s share of total category Brand Experience Points)
  • apply these measures to other analyses such as identifying the most influential contacts, position of the brand vs. its competitors, and spending efficiency (cost per Brand Experience Point)

Compared with some other brand valuation methodologies, the Integration approach is quite straightforward. Much of the simplicity derives from its use of consumer surveys, which avoids the work of gathering actual data on media spending, competitive products, company financials, and so on. Of course, this comes at a cost: it requires relying on the accuracy of consumer perceptions, and doesn’t factor in elements of the marketing mix that are invisible to consumers, such as distribution. Thus, it will not provide anything close to the precise of a marketing mix model. Nor does it allow calculation of a financial measure of brand value.

Still, having a “common currency” to measure the value of contacts across touchpoints is critical to making effective resource allocations. Combining the Brand Experience Points with company media spending is easy enough and gives good tactical guidance. According to the audit, the Brand Experience Share has correlated closely with market share over hundreds of projects, so the basic consumer input seems to be fairly reliable.

The ARF audit also says that Integration provides detailed materials describing the process, which can even be executed without an outside consultant. Speaking as a consulant, I'm not 100% sure I like that, but I suppose it's a good thing from the client perspective.

The Integration Web site lists “global alliances” with a number of major ad agencies and consultancies, who presumably have deployed or adapted the methodology in-house. This gives the approach additional credibility. It also seems that the Market ContactAudit is part of a larger strategy process offered by Integration, which in turn can be part of a larger business planning process. There's even some marketing management software involved which includes activity based costing and management dashboards.

In any case, It's probably best to let Integration speak for themselves. Take a look at their approach if you have a moment.

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