Strategic Communications: Seeing Outside of Your Swim Lanes

The Saint ReportNIMBY, Planning and Zoning, Saint Consulting Links, saintblog, UncategorizedLeave a Comment

(Owen Eagan has been writing about strategic communications. Click here for earlier segments)

By Owen Eagan, The Saint Consulting Group

It is worth noting that your integrated marketing efforts shouldn’t be seen in isolation.  There is certainly value in knowing the ROI of each of these
education and outreach methods, but, if they are run simultaneously, you’ll need to measure how these methods interact.

Wes Nichols, the cofounder and CEO of MarketShare, a global predictive-analytics company, calls this type of approach analytics 2.0 (see “Advertising Analytics 2.0,” Harvard Business Review, March 2013 at  Using this approach, companies are able to assess the effectiveness of each type of advertising in real time, understand how these ads complement each other and attribute specific outcomes to each medium.

So, if a company is utilizing TV, direct mail and online advertising to support a development project or land use campaign, marketers can get a better picture of what is working and change strategies as the campaign is being executed.  Moreover, marketing resources can be reallocated, generally without increasing ad spending, and improvements of 10-30% in marketing performance can be achieved.

Nichols states that this process involves attribution, optimization and allocation.  Attribution entails quantifying each method of advertising, optimization consists of using predictive-analytics to develop scenarios for business planning, and allocation comprises redistributing resources among marketing activities.

The challenge is two-fold.  The first is finding the right data, but Nichols suggests that most companies are already awash in data.  They just need to know where to look for it.  The second is a cultural issue, as getting your company to adapt to new ways of doing business is never easy.

As an example of the way we assess what Nichols calls “assist rates,” we can typically measure how well different media work together in driving traffic to our clients’ websites by comparing whatever method we’re currently employing with search engine results.  Moreover, you can even determine assist rates within different types of media.  For instance, when utilizing social media, we can track not only which messages work but which distribution channels are most effective and how they interact.

Therefore, seeing outside of your swim lanes can improve your ROI both between and among the methods you employ.

Owen Eagan is a Senior Consultant for Saint Consulting, an international management consulting firm specializing in land use politics.  He is also an adjunct faculty member at Emerson College, the nation’s only four-year institution dedicated exclusively to communication and the performing arts. Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *