Research Marketing

With integrated marketing communication growth is four times faster

, by Fabio Todesco
A research by SDA Bocconi's Marketing Department with Enel Energia investigates the impact of marketing on companies' performances

Big companies with solid integrated communication competences in both online and offline marketing record definitely better performances than the rest (with an average ROS – return on sales - of 3.2% vs. 1.91%).

The use of the web, and of non conventional communication in general, for marketing campaigns is gaining momentum also in Italy and companies which integrate online marketing communication in their communication strategies have an average turnover growth four times higher the rest (3% vs. 0.75% in the last three years). Investments in web communication are on the rise and 28% of the companies convey to it more than 20% of their communication budget, but there is still insufficient familiarity with tools useful to measure campaigns' effectiveness: the most widely used metrics are rooted in the dynamics of web 1.0 and have neither been adapted to the evolution of web 2.0 nor been integrated into the measurement systems of traditional campaigns.

It's one of the conclusions of the web&communication focus of Transforming marketing competences into successful performances, a survey of 300 Italian companies conducted by SDA Bocconi's Marketing Department with the cooperation of Enel Energia, presented this afternoon. The research, presented by Paolo Guenzi, Gabriele Troilo and Silvia Vianello (DOWNLOAD the presentation in Italian), shows the importance of marketing competences and their relations to metrics and performances. It proves, first of all, the importance of the implementation competences (the execution), which have the strongest direct impact on company profitability. The goal to render marketing action effective ("a marketing which counts" as stated by Enrico Valdani and Fabio Ancarani, respectively directors of Università Bocconi's and SDA Bocconi's Marketing Departments) is reached when usingmetrics apt to record its impact. 92% of the sample uses basic market analytics (sales growth rate, market share, new customers etc.), but 87% uses also customer satisfaction and loyalty metrics and 65% brand management metrics.

Competences regarding online marketing are among the most innovative and useful to overcome the economic crisis. That's why they are at the centre of a research focus in the survey.

Investors are polarized: a good share of them are strong users of web communication (28% of the companies invest in web communication more than 20% of the communication budget) and another substantial chunk are only a marginal user (33% are under 5% of the communication budget).

There is strong evidence, on the one hand, of the relation between the use of online campaigns and company growth (the users grew 3% in the last three years, with the rest at only 0.75%) and, on the other, of the relation linking online campaigning to the command of marketing competences, but the use of specific metrics is still critical.

The most widely used metrics are: web site traffic (80% of the companies), number of hits (60%) and ROMIO (return on marketing investment online, 51%). "The tools used by the best part of the companies", said Silvia Vianello, moderator of the focus along with Maria Carmela Ostillio, "are the ones suitable for web 1.0, based on data as the number of visitors, pageviews and so on. But the goal of web 2.0 campaigns is the involvement of the users and the right metrics consider also qualitative elements such as interaction time and the activities the user makes following the campaign (sharing, digging, tagging, downloading ...) and the multiple possible accesses, from browsers to RSS readers and mobile devices, and are focused on websites optimization, social media activities and direct e-mail marketing (Dem)".

The use of the best metrics is one of the tools needed in order to transform companies' marketing competences into effective execution and successful performances. Thanks to the right metrics companies can modify and correct the campaigns, considering the language peculiarities of the chosen media and immediately understand that a modern integrated marketing communication campaign goes well beyond banners.

Share of the online communication investment of the total communication budget

Online share Companies
0-5% 33%
5-10% 21%
10-15% 8%
15-20% 7%
Più del 20% 28%
Non indica 3%


Metrics Companies using it
Web site traffic 80%
Numero di hit 60%
Romio 51%
Response rate 50%
Conversion rate 50%
Click-through rate (Ctr) 50%
Gross ratings points 46%
Customer acquisition cost 46%
Opt-out-rate 43%
Cost per message 40%
Cost-per-click (Cpc) 37%
Cost-per-action (Cpa) 37%
Response time 37%
Cost per thousand impressions (Cpm) 30%