The top goal for multinational advertisers is to be able to deliver campaigns seamlessly across all channels, but new research from the WFA shows that fully integrated communication remains some way off.

A report from the WFA and consultants OxfordSM – Designing for Integration: Global Marketing Communications Organisation Research – was based on responses from more than 20 multinational companies with a total global ad spend of $32 billion.

This found that many are turning to new marketing structures, moving away from traditional functional and hierarchical approaches in favour of organising around the customer experience and the customer journey.

More than one-in-four (42%) now regularly work in cross-function teams and 30% said they regularly work in self-organising agile teams – often using stages and sprints to speed up delivery of projects. Fifty percent said they sometimes had agency staff embedded in their teams.

Despite these changes, however, few have significantly progressed their digital transformation journeys: 19% said the process was highly advanced and 9.5% claimed the process was completed.

Most of the rest (43%) are still at the initial stages of deploying their strategy, while 10% have developed a strategy but have yet to start putting it into action and 5% remain in the planning stage. There remain 14% for whom this is still ‘on the agenda’.

The research found that where digital often exists as a standalone function, delivering integrated campaigns is much harder. A key goal for transformation, then, should be to move to a fully integrated structure as early as possible.

Ten of the companies said they relied on a separate team for digital marcoms with just seven reporting that digital expertise was already woven into all teams. Ten respondents said they were working to have the latter in place.

“Digital roles within many organisations should have been made redundant by now and while they will remain a necessity for some, the goal for the majority should be moving to integration of these skills,” said Stephan Loerke, CEO at the WFA.

“The ongoing transformation of organisations and required skills-sets is, for good reason, a huge priority area for our industry’s marketing leaders,” he added.

The biggest gaps in responding companies’ armoury were in their ability to personalise communication and deliver “real-time” marketing, where the research found a 50% deficit when comparing current and desired performance levels.   

Sourced from WFA