COI ready to rise to the challenges ahead

Rosie Doggett is quite right to ask how I am going to ensure that COI “maximises the effectiveness of (its) marketing spend” (MW 22 October).

She raises three important issues. First is the possibility of halving COI’s budget. This is difficult because COI doesn’t have a budget. All of our activity is commissioned by our 400-plus clients. They hold the budgets and pay us for the work we do on their behalf. They have responsibility for the message being communicated. Our role is to ensure that their message is communicated effectively and at the best value for money.

Second is how we buy viral, search and social media campaigns. Embracing digital engagement is a must for most organisations, but for government the need is acute if we are to communicate effectively with our many diverse audiences. We are well aware that the emergence of innovative paid media formats will continue at an ever-increasing rate. And we have some of the very best talent – both in COI and among our suppliers – ensuring that we deliver the most innovative, effective and efficient online solutions to our clients.

Finally, Rosie suggests that there have been mixed messages about our marketing frameworks (rosters). COI’s position could not be any clearer. We wish to offer our clients four things/ easy access to the very best suppliers; a more flexible choice of how they work with COI and suppliers; the very real benefits of aggregating government marketing expenditure; and guaranteed compliance with all EU procurement regulations.

Our clients have responded very positively to the recent launch of our flexible offer. They seemed equally positive about the audited savings of £240m which we delivered to them in 2008/9.

But we are not complacent. We recognise that, like our colleagues across government, we will be required to deliver more for less in the challenging times ahead. That is why we will be using our framework renewal process to streamline the way we work and to negotiate even better value for our clients and for the taxpayer.

I’d be delighted to update Rosie on our progress.

Mark Lund
Chief executive

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