Agency Management: Integrated marketing confronts pic’n’mix - Saatchi and Saatchi Rowland, an integrated PR, advertising and direct marketing group, has been launched to provide clients with the option of a complete marketing service under

While large integrated marketing agencies like Joshua, part of the Grey Communications Group, or Interpublic’s outfit Interfocus, bill themselves as ’multi-discipline’ communication companies, PR is rarely invited in.

While large integrated marketing agencies like Joshua, part of the

Grey Communications Group, or Interpublic’s outfit Interfocus, bill

themselves as ’multi-discipline’ communication companies, PR is rarely

invited in.



Interfocus managing director Matthew Hooper simply does not believe PR

fits in. ’We offer design, corporate identity, packaging, advertising,

sales promotion and direct marketing. PR is not an area we embrace. We

only use PR agencies as and when they are required.’



The reason? Interfocus’ clients operate in industries as diverse as

pharmaceuticals and electronics and Hooper feels PR is too ’specialist’

to adapt to this breadth. ’PR relies on an in-depth understanding of a

marketplace and ability to build close relations with journalists, but

when you work for Sony or the Savoy Group internationally, it is

difficult to find PR people who will satisfy both of those demands.’



At the heart of this reluctance to welcome PR into the integrated

marketing mix lies an additional issue which has dogged the industry for

years.



’It is so difficult to quantify PR’s effect,’ complains Hooper. ’The

intangibility of it frustrates some clients.’



But last week, The Rowland Company and Saatchi and Saatchi Business

Communications launched a joint attempt to buck the trend with Saatchi

and Saatchi Rowland - a PR, direct marketing and advertising joint

venture.



Rowland president and CEO Mark Weiss is heading the Saatchi and Saatchi

Rowland brand alongside his role at The Rowland Company. He says that no

one marketing discipline will dominate unless the client wants it

to.



The new brand will have offices in Paris, Brussels, Geneva and

Rochester, New York, but not in London and New York City, where PR and

advertising teams already collaborate regularly and will remain separate

entities.



’There may be more PR than advertising in some campaigns or vice versa,

but we start from a communications-neutral position,’ says Stephen

Colegrave, Saatchi and Saatchi marketing director for Europe, the Middle

East and Africa. ’We work as a team, looking at the brief and deciding

on the appropriate medium for communicating it.’



Recently integrated projects in London include a campaign for the beauty

brand Olay and the European Space Agency.



Rowland CEO Beverley Kaye believes the integrated entity will have

specific benefits. According to Kaye, clients are saved the time and

expense of shopping around and they are more likely to receive unbiased

advice on marketing solutions as no one is fighting over the budget.



Kaye hopes the venture will create a new breed of multi-disciplined

staff who are as happy writing a press release as executing a poster

advertising campaign.



She believes that it may be some time before other PR and advertising

firms integrate, mostly because advertising people still don’t

understand PR. ’Most still see PR as a publicity-led offering,’ explains

Kaye. ’That is the biggest hurdle our competitors will face if they try

the same thing.



Instead of advertising and PR people looking quizzically at each other

over the board room table, each should find out what the other actually

does. It’s not rocket science.’



But do the marketing components need to be under one roof to produce

integrated campaigns? Many PR agencies successfully work alongside an

advertising ally.



Ogilvy PR Worldwide frequently meets with advertising arm Ogilvy and

Mather and its direct marketing sister Ogilvy One to create an

’integrated service’ for the likes of IBM.



’We are separate companies who can speak with the same voice,’ explains

Ogilvy UK managing director Donna Zurcher. ’Working in one building may

save time in a taxi, but being separate doesn’t hinder the process. We

all go to the same briefing sessions and sit down together as if it were

one office.’



Zurcher adds that although Ogilvy provides every discipline, clients

often don’t want it all. In this sense, she says, Saatchi and Saatchi

and Rowland are taking a chance.’The majority of clients are not ready

for it yet,’ says Zurcher.



Alison Saunders, director of PR agency 360 Degrees has dabbled in direct

marketing and sales promotion. At the same time, her agency works with

external advertising and media-buying agencies. Saunders believes

clients still prefer to ’cherry pick’ the best people from specialist

firms when planning an integrated attack.



’A big advertising agency has dozens of creatives and a media-buying

agency is full of media experts to choose from. A client can put them

together as a team,’ says Saunders. ’I can’t imagine a one-stop shop

that could match that.’



Shell has done just this by ’marrying’ advertising firm JWT with PR

company Fishburn Hedges - not only separate agencies but part of

different parent groups.



However, the main block to a widespread adoption of integrated

communications by clients is that in larger companies, there does not

tend to be one director overseeing PR and advertising. Until these two

elements of the marketing mix are integrated more closely in-house,

there is unlikely to be a massive demand for agencies to provide both.



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