By common consensus, tightly integrated campaigns, broadcast across multiple media, are more effective than "non-integrated" campaigns, which either advertise on a single channel or take a laissez-faire approach to merging channels. But new research - commissioned by the IPA, based on analysis of 250 case studies from IPA Databank, and published in an upcoming book - challenges this point of view.
It seems that, on hard business metrics such as market share changes, loosely integrated campaigns actually perform better than campaigns that are integrated around a central communication idea. Meanwhile, for soft metrics such as awareness, the opposite is true. One of the researchers, Kate Cox of MPG, has written up her findings for a paper that appears in the upcoming issue of Admap - available as a free link here. She also spoke to me about the research - and about its surprising findings.
But this doesn't mean that marketers should turn away from integrated campaigns and focus instead on single-channel campaigns. The fact the additive benefits of integration don't have an immediate impact on the client's bottom line doesn't mean these benefits don't exist, Cox says. And there's an argument to be had about whether clients take enough account of the longer-term effects of channel integration.
The June 2011 issue of Admap, which focuses on integrated channel planning, will be with subscribers soon - and will be available on warc.com from next week.