The Marketing Democracy is a consulting firm that helps marketers, marketing services agencies, and the media integrate their various marketing assets into powerful, integrated marketing solutions. We have specific expertise in finding the powerful intersection between creative (content) and media (channel).

Lessons learned from the Euro

January 27th, 2009

What could the story of the Euro possibly have to do with advertising and integrated marketing solutions? I believe that the industry needs its own version of the Euro! We need to let go of our fixation with “proprietary branding/channel valuation processes” and create a common measure for determining the value of what really counts: the power of our ideas in the marketplace. It’s quite strange: we create a Black Box around valuation, but we give our ideas away through the transfer of intellectual property rights as “work for hire”. This doesn’t quite make sense.

Pardon my simplicity here, but when you boil the story of the Euro down to the basics it may go something like this, “European countries see the benefits of creating a uniform monetary system to create a common basis (aka shared belief system) on the value of goods and services. A base of common understanding and acceptance will open up markets for the benefit of all.” The Euro did not homogenize the unique experiences, goods, and services bought and sold in each country that converted its unique monetary system to the Euro; rather, the Euro created a more universal alignment regarding the relative value of those unique goods and services.

Why do marketing services agencies go to such great lengths to make their brand and/or channel valuation processes proprietary while they give away their ideas? I’ve been scratching my head over this one for quite some time now. Every agency (creative/media/marketing services) is fueled with the intellectual capital and the data analytics to measure outcomes. But by keeping our “valuation” processes so close to our own vests, we are, in essence, creating a closed economy that cannot truly ascertain the value of our work. Wouldn’t we be better off with our own version of the Euro that measures brand value in a way that all can admire the outcomes of our brilliant ideas? At the end of the day, isn’t the business of integrated marketing an “idea” business? I would rather hold ideas as the most highly coveted and proprietary element of our commerce and give away the analytics.

This idea isn’t new. There already exist certain common standards for measurement and commerce in the industry. The Audit Bureau of Circulations is a prime example where industry leaders from all sides of the business came together to set standards for measuring the integrity of magazine circulation. And, we all benefit. The principal mission of The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) is “to improve the practice of advertising, marketing and media research in pursuit of more effective marketing and advertising communications.” What if we shifted the mission of the ARF? Can we and/or should we use this body similar to the ECB (European Central Bank) that sets monetary policy for the Eurozone? Is our pursuit of research purism stifling our ability to focus on the commerce of our business: the valuation of brands that are fueled by brilliant ideas?

Imagine measuring the power of a brand idea in our own version of Euros! All of a sudden, a broader marketplace will take notice. And our business of ideas and solutions will be all the better for it!


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