Over the years, integration has forced us to learn the importance of time management for meetings. So we know that, for most companies, as integration becomes more of an issue, so will time management. Our time, as related to integration might be categorized as:
- Time lost – which could have been avoided with proper meeting management.
- Time invested – developing true integration by improving our processes.
- Time spent together working on the integration of our clients' marcom.
Who pays for the additional time required for item 3 above?
The client might think, "If I buy all these services from one agency, I'd expect them to come up with something that all works together and not charge extra for it." The agency side might say, "To be competitive with single-discipline competitors, we have to keep our margins thin. But delivery of quality IMC requires additional time. It's not as easy as developing just an advertising campaign or an editorial angle to pitch."
The answer as to what is fair lies in the particulars of a client/agency relationship. So, if both sides are aware of the processes and appreciate the additional time required to develop proper IMC programs, there's a better chance of striking a fair arrangement. And the ROI can be healthy for both sides.
Another good exercise to contrast the inefficiencies of having separate agencies for each of the disciplines with IMC:
In the multiple agency scenario, each agency has account management that should be leading its team through the situation analysis, establishing objectives, determining targets and messages, measuring results and making unbiased recommendations. If a client has a different agency for the disciplines of advertising, direct, public relations, promotions and interactive, not only are there significant redundancies in the tasks listed above, but there can be a problem with inconsistent targets, messages and timing because the right hand isn't coordinated with the left. Financial and creative turfs get protected. It's what is called the "not invented here" syndrome. (If it's the other agency's idea, it can't be as good as ours.) The result is that developing and implementing consistent programs becomes like herding cats!
Conversely, on a self-directed IMC team, you have one team leader and the member's goals are in alignment. Whatever it takes for the client's success also will be good for the team.
That's efficiency. And in the end, the client gets the best value from this organizational model.