Marketers Strike Back
By Claudia Sestini, Global Head of Marketing & Communications, Gain Theory – November 2016
What we saw in November was the start of something I can only describe as an uprising.
Senior marketers and key industry bodies led by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) gathered to rally around the topic of marketing effectiveness at the inaugural Effectiveness Week
Genesis Conference in London. The advisory board constituting of senior marketers from John Lewis, RBS, Diageo, Telefonica, Unilever and several more had identified key challenges facing the industry ranging from short and long term effectiveness to media optimisation and everything in between.
How to define effectiveness? As Jan Gooding, Group Brand Director at Aviva eloquently put it “Did it work? Every organization makes choices about how it invests its money. For marketing to get its share, it needs to prove value”. Given the amount of data, technology and agencies available, one would assume that marketers have all the tools at their disposal to answer this question. So, why is this an issue at all? What roadblocks are marketers facing when answering the simple question of ‘did it work?’.
First off, sustaining growth is becoming harder. As Bart Michels, Global CEO of Kantar Added Value put it “All the easy growth has gone. Clients are trying to find growth in uncomfortable places and what that means is new segments, new markets, new routes to market and different business models”. As I wrote in the Marketing Society Conference round up, consumers are looking for purpose and meaning and their expectations are fueled by disruptors like Uber. The rules of play have changed.
To this point, we heard some great case studies from Jeremy Elis, Marketing & Customer Experience Director, TUI and Nathan Ansell, Global Director Loyalty, Customer Insight and Analytics at Marks and Spencer around how each brand is investing in customer experience to drive growth.
Long & Short Term Effectiveness
Secondly and much discussed at Effectiveness Week, is the issue of effectiveness over a short and long term period. What was interesting was that the definition of long term varies – from 3yrs to 5yrs +, every business is different but marketers need to get clear alignment from CEOs and Boards.
Les Binet & Peter Field highlighted that the marketing pendulum has swung dangerously in favour of activation and therefore short term effectiveness, which in turn hurts long term growth. They advised taking a more balanced approach.
Another much discussed topic is the need to drive an effectiveness culture. Why? With departments increasingly living in silos, which is especially evident in larger organisations, there is a danger that with all the tools, tech, data, insight and recommendations the one barrier to growth is our own organisation. Data living in silos, disparate KPIs and strategies and worst still teams that are not built to optimise marketing effectiveness all act as barriers to maximising value from marketing. As Nick Milne, Head of Marketing Effectiveness at Telefonica’s O2 put it “Marketing effectiveness will exist as a team in organisations until we, as effectiveness practitioners, are successful enough in embedding effectiveness thinking out across the organisation.”
Marketers as Growth Guardians
Alan Bloodworth, EMEA CEO at Gain Theory and technical judge at the 2016 IPA Effectiveness says “Effectiveness Week and initiatives such as the Effectiveness Institute have come at the right time. We live in uncertain times where marketers need to have foresight and act as the growth guardians for their organisations. Marketing effectiveness can only be achieved if addressed in totality – with peer and industry support, having the right partners in place and building an internal effectiveness culture.”
One thing is for sure, it feels like marketers have decided to take matters into their own hands and along with key industry players like the IPA and agency partners lead a revolution to drive growth through customers no matter how challenging times have become.
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