At Gain Theory, we believe that good marketing takes you through the short term, better marketing can put you above the rest, but excellent marketing can be the engine that drives long term sustainable growth. In a world of uncertain growth in many sectors, marketing excellence is not a casual matter, nor a task for the faint of heart.
Marketing leaders are tasked with being growth transformers, mastering a fountain of consumer data, talent and endless sources of inspiration. But what are the building blocks of marketing excellence? What marketing leadership characteristics do we need to get there, and what behaviors does the organization need to display to make it happen?
Marketing Excellence In Conversation
On September 23rd Gain Theory’s North America CEO Shawn O’Neal will join Roger Mader, CMO at Subway, and Michelle Froah, SVP of Global Marketing Strategy & Sciences at MetLife on a Marketing Society panel during Advertising Week NYC to talk about marketing excellence.
These marketing excellence pioneers will be revealing how they reached the top of the marketing mountain. Expect to take an all access, backstage tour of their marketing excellence journey. No punches will be pulled, they’ll be going the whole nine yards to show you what it takes to achieve marketing’s holy grail.
What You’ll Learn from This Session:
- How to build marketing excellence in your teams
- Insight from CMOs who have succesfully built and turned around brands
- Skills to drive long term sustainable growth of your brand
Are you a client-side marketer? We’d love to have you as our guest.
For tickets and more information, please contact our Global CMO firstname.lastname@example.org
Amongst the corridors of marketing, one of the long-standing debates is what proportion of marketing budget should be spent on brand advertising and performance advertising.
The issue can be viewed as a pendulum, which swings between the two extremes of pure brand or performance marketing spend or is more often stuck at a point in between. In our experience, there are three reasons behind the pendulum’s resting position:
- Many structural factors will come into play e.g. a brand’s sector, cycle, business model or strategy will all feed in to where the pendulum currently lies.
- The impact of performance marketing spend is often quick and easy to measure, whereas the impact of brand spend can be more challenging to determine. This often tips the balance in favour of performance, where instant results can be easily produced.
- In many organizations there is a prevailing short-term mindset, which brings a focus on short term results. This again means a swing towards performance, as any brand impacts will likely only appear over the longer term.
We’ve worked with brands at various positions on this pendulum, and the results we’ve seen are really interesting…
- What happens when you take brand off air?
If brand spend is cut, there can be a short-term improvement on profitability. However, in the longer term we’ve seen profitability go negative, due to the lost sales outweighing the cut in costs. In one client of Gain Theory, a short term $0.4m gain turned into a $1.1m loss.
Erosion of brand metrics follows: we’ve seen clients where brand metrics have declined for at least 3 years following a cut of brand advertising. It is then harder and takes longer to recover from this and in that client, we subsequently quantified a negative effect on sales of 20%. So, while this approach can be appealing to hit short term targets, it can be hugely damaging in the long run. This leaves one asking: is it worth it?
- What happens when you spend heavily on brand?
Some businesses will invest significantly in brand for a specific purpose, for example to build awareness or tell stories to keep the brand feeling relevant and alive for customers. This type of investment can be a brave decision for marketers without appropriate measurement, as there is unlikely to be an immediate sales result.
One of our clients invests significantly in their brand advertising throughout the year. They view this as crucial to maintaining their strong brand position in the market and place importance on tracking brand metrics to measure its impact. They also see this spend build sales in the long term. To balance out this heavy brand advertising, this client will also pulse with performance campaigns to ensure they are also meeting sales expectations in the short term.
- What happens when you spend heavily on performance?
In some clients, we’ve seen a move towards heavily investing in promotions. Unsurprisingly, this shows immediate uplifts in sales and profit. As well as producing seductive metrics, it can also be very attractive from an investment POV. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that – everyone needs to drive sales. However, taking a longer view, we’ve seen clients where significant spending on price and promotions brought a negative impact on the brand and value for money metrics.
What’s the solution?
Ultimately, there is no silver bullet to determine where you should be on the pendulum swing, and marketers will need to flex according to their business strategy.
But marketers need to remember that accountability is key: finding the right way to measure brand spend in a fair comparison with performance spend will help to conduct this debate objectively.
Our recommendation is to define a holistic measurement strategy as a first step. This allows brands to quantify the impact from all their marketing, providing a view of real financial results. Once this measurement is in place, the best decisions can then be taken to meet total company targets and find the optimal place on the pendulum swing.
Long-Term effects of Advertising: Gain Theory’s research for the ProfitAbility report click here
Marketing Effectiveness Strategy: commissioned by EffWorks in conjunction with brands representing £7bn in ad spend click here
If Marketing is the engine of business growth, the boiler room of decision making requires a ‘best-in-class’ effectiveness strategy.
WHY READ THIS?
- Having the right Marketing Effectiveness Strategy will help create the right culture, make the right decisions, avoid wastage and maximise impact.
- Focus on what really matters and create strategies that will ensure Marketing Effectiveness becomes an established part of how you do business.
- Lead change within the organization by creating the political and emotional fuel required for the journey; adopting a crawl, walk, run approach; and having the right ecosystem in place.
Many organizations struggle with Marketing Effectiveness. Indeed, many are still trying to figure out which adverts are working; and how marketing in a broader sense, beyond advertising, is helping generate business growth.
This paper has been created by Gain Theory and commissioned by EffWorks, an initiative that champions accountability in marketing and promotes a culture of Marketing Effectiveness from C-Suite, all the way down through organizations.
The purpose of this paper is to generate momentum and direction around Marketing Effectiveness Strategy – to help marketing and insight executives maximise the impact of marketing.
In creating this paper, 40 senior marketing and insight executives from a cross section of leading brands were interviewed, representing a UK advertising spend of more than £7bn.
TO GET THE PAPER CLICK HERE
Watch Jon Webb, Managing Partner at Gain Theory talk about why this matter really matters in today’s marketing world.
Episode 1: Taking Effectiveness Strategy to the Next Level
Episode 2: How should a CMO think about Marketing Effectiveness?
Episode 3: How can we drive business growth through Marketing Effectiveness?
Episode 4: What is the Journey to best-in-class Marketing Effectiveness?
Episode 5: How to structure a Marketing Effectiveness programme
Marketing is the engine of business growth and in an age of digital transformation, marketing effectiveness requires the right strategy – the right mindset, plans and tools – to help marketers make the right choices, in the right order at the right time.
As an unbiased marketing effectiveness consultancy, at Gain Theory we continue to invest in the marketing community. Our aim is to constantly drive improved conversations around the topic of effectiveness, giving marketing and insight executives the confidence to make faster, smarter decisions.
Cue our partnership with Effworks – an initiative that champions accountability in marketing and promotes a culture of marketing effectiveness from C-Suite, all the way through organizations.
We are excited to have been commissioned to lead on a Effectiveness Strategy white paper which will be released at this year’s EffWorks conference – Marketing Effectiveness in the Digital Era, Oct 9th 2018, at the Code Node in London.
The paper addresses the state of the nation for effectiveness strategy and is a result of a collaboration between various industry leaders and interviews with over 30 client side marketing and insight executives.
In advance of the release, we will be sharing a series of videos, brought to you by the lead author Jon Webb, Managing partner at Gain Theory.
Watch the 1st video below:
The introduction of GDPR in May 2018 is going to cause a significant shift in how companies carry out personalised marketing.
However, for savvy marketing leaders, it represents an opportunity to significantly improve customer engagement. Those companies who are prepared, are thinking holistically, and who can demonstrate value back to their customers, are well-placed to succeed in this new world.
Restricted use of Personal Data
An increasing number of marketing channels use Personal Data, such as Programmatic Display and Addressable TV (and online identifiers such as cookies will be considered as Personal Data within GDPR). This type of targeted media does not always use personal data which is controlled by the advertiser, but still requires the use of personal data collected by a third party. The new regulations do not solely impose obligations on data controllers but also on data processors i.e. advertisers buying in personal data from a third party.
This means that advertisers will be obliged to apply much greater scrutiny to the way in which the third party has communicated to the consumers whose personal data it is now selling on. There is a real risk that the pool of available third party data will be considerably reduced. All marketing that uses Personal Data (including third party data) should be identified, and then reviewed from the perspective of the customer.
Add Value to Customers
The increased requirements in obtaining consent for the use of personal data to direct marketing activity has the potential to lead to a much lower percentage of customers that can be marketed to. Therefore, marketing content will need to be viewed in a positive enough light by customers that choose to receive it.
In practical terms, GDPR is making us stop and think harder about marcoms, going back to basics and re-evaluating key questions such as ‘do our customers benefit from receiving our marketing?’. If the answer is ‘no’, then this type of marketing activity will no longer be viable in the post GDPR world, as why would any customer actively choose to receive marketing that does not benefit them? If the answer is ‘yes’, then the customer has a reason for choosing to receive marketing, and for many customers it will be in their best interests to do so.
So, in the run up to GDPR, marketers need to think about how their content and communications demonstrate value to customers. Consider the following points:
- Authenticity: marketing must be clear and honest in its purpose. Content should offer customers genuine value. For example, avoid embellishing an offer which sounds good but has lots of restrictions.
- Personalisation: demonstrate to customers that their personal information is being used for their own benefit, by providing tailored content that meets the customer’s needs.
- Creative Execution: try to make the content stand out to ensure it is seen (but not at the expense of authenticity).
- Frequency: as tempting as it might be to push out as much content as possible before GDPR comes into force, this might be counterproductive. Lower frequency but high impact (authentic, personalised and valuable) is the best strategy to influence customers’ perceptions of marketing content.
Think Holistic and Cross Platform
Personalised and direct marketing needs to be viewed as part of a holistic marketing strategy, not just in isolation. Whilst non-personalised marketing such as above-the-line advertising will not be directly affected by GDPR, it still plays a key role in influencing customers’ brand and marketing perceptions. Think about the messages you are putting out in the run-up and around GDPR to help underscore value in the customer’s mind and ensure your cross-channel messages tie up. If direct marketing is not aligned to other marketing content, it will appear inauthentic regardless of the truth of the content.
Whilst it is easy to view GDPR negatively it is, in fact, driving many good practices in marketing and not only in the day-to-day stewardship of personal data itself. A truly customer focused approach to marketing has been an ambition for many companies, and will now become a necessity. By forcing marketers to think hard about how to improve the perception of their marketing amongst their customers, this regulation will help companies become more customer focussed and lead to an improvement in the overall quality of individual marketing.
GDPR AT A GLANCE
What is it?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the new EU-wide regulation for personal data that takes effect on 25th May 2018. This regulation will give individuals more control over how their Personal Data is collected, stored, used and deleted. Note that Personal Data includes a wider range of information than PII (Personally Identifiable Information), especially when it comes to online identifiers.
The primary concern for any business should be to be operating legally within the GDPR as soon as the new regulation comes into force, as failure to do so could lead to a heavy fine. Many companies that use personal will have a Data Protection Officer who is responsible for compliance with GDPR (this is a legal requirement for some types of processing activity only). A good starting point for any marketer would be to talk to your organisation’s Data Protection Officer (if you have one).
What this means for marketers
The most important consideration for marketers is that they must have a legal basis for processing personal data. Where they rely on consent as the legal basis the new regulation raises the bar for that consent and it must be “freely given, specific, informed” and signified by an “affirmative action”. This means individuals must actively signal their agreement to the use of their personal data (pre-checked opt-in tick boxes and offering an opt-out tick box for example, are unlikely to satisfy the regulations). It also means that clear, plain English language, must be used to explain what the individual is agreeing to and the specific use cases need to be carefully explained. Furthermore, at the same time as obtaining consent individuals must be told how they can later withdraw their consent at any time.
This will impact any marketing activity that uses personal data, so the largest impact will be on Direct Marketing (both direct mail and email). Online advertising using customer information that falls within the GDPR description of Personal Data, such as programmatic display, will also be affected. Companies must assess in respect of all customers (new and existing) what the legal basis is upon which they rely to validly use their personal information for marketing purposes – to use it without a legal basis will be unlawful.
Finding a balance between business objectives and financial return has become harder to justify for many marketers. With the plethora of marketing channels available today, an increasing pain point is identifying which media work to drive KPI and their role in short and long term business impact.
Gain Theory has produced a research study for ThinkBox as part of the Profit Ability report, which addresses the problem of how to effectively measure the long-term impact of media investment. This is the first study of its kind that discusses the issues involved, moving beyond the often-misleading ROI ratios, and showing the genuine difference that advertising makes.
In an interview with The Times Gain Theory Partner and senior practitioner, Matthew Chappell who led of the research said “Advertising spend has been a hot debate in marketing for some time. There is more data floating around than ever before. However, there tends to be a focus on short-term metrics, which is why this study is so important.
“If you publish a video, say, on a social-media channel, you see that it gets a certain number of likes and shares within the first half hour. But how do you know that it is building long-term success? It is very easy for marketing departments to see what’s driving short-term success, and put all their money in and focus on that. In doing so, though, you run the risk of losing sight of what is propping up the long-term business value.”
Mr Chappell says there is a long-term multiplier effect that many chief executives may not know about. “The findings show that there is often a multiplier to short-term impact,” he says. “For example, if the multiplier is two and you generate a million sales within the first three months of a campaign, then you are likely to make two million in three years.
“Bearing that in mind, we looked at the whole plethora of channels and the results showed TV tends to come out as the strongest medium.
“The numbers we have created are robust, and should provide confidence to chief executives and chief financial officers, and show TV advertising works best in the long and short term. Hopefully this study will add to and shift the conversation away from those short-term, easily measured metrics.”
Watch Matthew discussing the Long Term study:
Watch the full Profit Ability launch event session where Matthew presents the study:
To download the study, please click on the download button on the top right.
This year’s Marketing Society Excellence Awards displayed the UK’s bravest and most impactful marketing achievements. Direct Line, Mars, John Lewis, The National Lottery, ITV and many more can now be added to the marketing hall of fame providing inspiration for years to come.
Reading the case studies, you get a real sense of vision and purpose. But what about measuring impact – the numbers behind marketing excellence? What role does measurement play in the ad campaigns that steal headlines, generate sales, and win awards?
In a world where a marketer’s currency isn’t solely focused on creative anymore, the data gold rush has taken its hold. A rush to measure, validate, optimise and manage based on the insights from the data mine.
Before we marshal marketers towards the fountain of eternal data and insights, let’s stop and think about the end goal. Why we’re doing it, how and when we should do it, the impact on marketers and crucially the business.
Research carried out earlier this year, conducted impartially by an ex-CMO with senior marketers in the US representing brands with a total of $1.9bn advertising spend, confirms a number of marketing measurement pain points: Metrics overload, or analysis paralysis; short termism, organisational structure and the need for one source of truth.
With this mind, the Society and Gain Theory have been collaborating to explore these challenges and how we solve them with senior marketers across global hubs – New York, London, New Delhi & Singapore.
Over dinner, high atop the London skyline at the lofty heights of the Gherkin, the Society convened Excellence Awards judges, winners and a wider group of senior marketers to take a 30,000 foot look at the choppy marketing measurement waters. We were in good company with marketers including Jaguar Land Rover, Direct Line, Samsung, HSBC, Wiggle, Hiscox and more.
Metrics that Matter
There was broad agreement on the following fact: we have so much data we can now measure the arse out of marketing.
The increase in channels available to marketers is leading to an increase in the number of metrics used for reporting. This firehose of analytics has crippled many marketers with “analysis paralysis” whereby there’s not enough time, resource, and skillset in a day – or a month – to go through all the numbers, identify the key statistics and discern lessons from them. One marketer sagely remarked, “Just because you can measure, doesn’t mean you can manage.”
In addition, some of the metrics are not sufficiently linked to business outcomes. As one marketer said ‘We have too many metrics that are not financial’.
The consensus is to focus on the metrics that really matter. One marketer said that her view on measurement was simply, “Do they see our comms and will they buy more as a result?” Everything else, it would seem, is salad dressing.
Then, there are metrics that we need on daily basis to understand and manage business impact of marketing to the ones that help us manage stakeholder expectation. Using the right ones for the right ‘internal audience’ was another solution provided around the table.
Other marketers highlighted that in the sea of available metrics “ROI is the easiest metric – it’s a winner.”
Another view was around digital – Google, Facebook et al all were name dropped, of course. The thinking here is that yes do it, but learn from it. To quote one marketing effectiveness leader at the table ‘Go play, but please measure’.
More advice around the table included:
- Think about the “So What?” factor – only measure things you can do something about
- Talk soft metrics and the board are not interested! Focus on metrics that give you credibility
- Define the 6 things that drive value creation
- Where measurement is concerned, it’s incumbent on marketers to set the agenda
Is Brand Marketing Dead?
A challenge that was cited repeatedly, is the sharp pendulum swing towards short-term activation. It feels like marketers are bemoaning a lack of focus on long-term impact, and thus the demise of brand marketing and subsequent impact on long term growth. One view was that this is being caused by C-Suite and shareholders expecting instant results.
Another perspective is that digital has been a pariah to long term effectiveness with one marketer saying “Digital allows us to activate sales quickly.”…“Brand marketing is dead.” Said another “We are so short-term focused – it’s all about instant results. If our campaign isn’t generating sales after 5 hours, its pulled.”
So, marketers are left wondering: how do we highlight how brand marketing can impact growth?
One solution offered was using the right language and metrics when communicating to the business and especially the C-Suite. Marketers must be able to communicate growth via metrics that impact both top and bottom line. So, it follows that even long term brand impact must be able to show an ROI.
Ultimately, we all agreed that short term is not a bad thing but rather that it’s not a battle between short vs long but more a case of re-evaluating short term within long term.
Magic vs Logic
There is a place for hard metrics and a place for being brave and trying things that are not measured or measurable.
There was a sense that if you’re able to walk into the board room with a great creative idea then your short term ROI worries go out the window. Big, bold executions still win hearts and minds of consumers, and after all after isn’t the goal for marketing to change human behaviour?
As one marketer said, “We all know that the number one driver of ROI is creative.” Gemma Greaves, Global CEO at the Society, cited the Cadbury’s gorilla campaign which apparently didn’t initially receive a great reaction internally – there were reservations:
Lee Rolston, Cadbury’s director of marketing at that time, is quoted to have said, “We had a pragmatic concern that it was just too far for Cadbury to go from where they were at that point; that there had to be some sort of stepping stone. But then we thought, ‘You know what? This is an opportunity; we should do what we feel is right rather than what we think they will think is right.’”
Apparently, the board were tasked to take the creative home for the weekend and show it to friends and family. Come Monday, the emotive, game changing power of the creative execution and its potential was clear: everyone loved it and the creative was given the go ahead.
What was truly great about the dinner in London was how open everyone was about their challenges, views and crucially how happy they were to offer a solution to each other. This is what makes the peer network of the Marketing Society so great.
There are a few key takeaways. Firstly, it’s imperative to focus only on the metrics that matter and that you can do something about. Secondly, it’s about managing a portfolio of risk both short and long term. Finally, even in a time of Big Data, there are occasions when tossing out the spreadsheet and going with your creative gut can move hearts and minds and ultimately ROI.
My final thought is that marketers are well placed to set the agenda for measurement. Not only do we have the data and resources to hand to measure top and bottom line growth but we also possess, in my mind, the biggest power of all: the ability to tell compelling stories that touch the hearts and minds of people. We must be braver and bolder in using the story telling ‘super power’ more with internal stakeholders, remembering to utilize the right language for the right audience whether C suite or across the organisations.
Read the original article here.
As marketers, many of us start our careers mastering our craft and learning the art of marketing, advertising and communications. A few years pass and we start managing teams, and with this comes the development of new craft: balancing the needs of the day-to-day job whilst inspiring our colleagues and team members to help them achieve their full potential.
Then, there’s leadership – not just leadership of large marketing teams but leadership within the organisation, flying the flag for business growth and the ability to inspire everyone with a vision that will rally the troops towards a common goal. Unfortunately, that’s not a skill that is directly taught but, it’s an area where most of us want to be successful.
However, the path to becoming a marketing leader presents inherent challenges which can, in part, be progressed if we have honest, uncomfortable and brave conversations around the topic with peers and leadership experts.
With this setting in mind, the Marketing Society and Gain Theory partnered to host a dinner for marketers in Delhi, India addressing two topics:
- Marketing leadership
- Challenges and pain points around measuring marketing’s value
Our 20 high-calibre dinner guests spanned a range of industries – banking, telco, tech, retail – and passionately took part in the conversation. The opinions expressed were lively and arguments were passionate – there was no place to hide for those lacklustre in opinion.
The table was set and by god, the conversation was going to crackle throughout the evening.
Find the Value Creation Zone
To set the scene, Thomas Barta – a marketing leadership author and speaker – spoke about what it takes to drive business impact and career success based on research of over 8,600 leaders in 170 countries worldwide. He highlighted 12 specific ‘marketing powers’ that help mobilize your boss, colleagues, team and yourself. Amongst many inspiring insights, some of the truths that resonated with us are:
- Marketing is often perceived as a cost, the ‘fortune teller’– with little tangible value attributed to efforts, specifically value defined in business metrics that impact the bottom line
- Many marketers spend time on things that don’t really matter to the business
- You have to find the ‘value creation zone’ – projects that matter to your CEO and your customer. Where the two overlap should be your point of focus.
- Spend time getting commonly agreed metrics in place, to validate marketing contribution to the business
- …and articulate marketing value in business KPI terms
Mad Scientist Effect
When it comes to focusing time on the right things to become a marketing leader, a few bemoaned the ‘Mad scientist’ effect where many spend time following the latest shiny marketing toy which, in the end, distracts them from becoming a leader. One marketer said, “you need to heavily prioritise what you take to your CEO/CFO/CIO.”
However, the lesson is simple – when it comes to investment in innovation, test and learn and rather than wait to sell in change, just get on with it prudently under the radar with small portions of budget. One marketer at the dinner said, “Cypher off an amount of investment in your annual marketing budget for innovation and see this as ‘under-the-radar’ investment.”
Balancing the Spinning Wheels
One of our guests pointed out that whilst we try to become leaders, marketing is under immense pressure to answer a multitude of questions. Who are our high value customers? How do we cross-sell across category? How do we invest in innovation? How can you deliver and exceed customer experience?
Then there is the tug of war between short term results and long-term effects of marketing activity.
There is no other department being asked such a range of questions.
One solution offered was to balance the expectation of these questions, how they ladder up to business objectives and agree metrics by which to measure them.
When the conversation shifted to the trend that marketing initiatives and budgets are getting the last slot at the board meeting, there were a number of empathic nods around the table. There’s an expectation for marketing to come into the Board meeting with the fun campaigns, the pretty pictures and talk about softer metrics which don’t resonate with business language used in that forum.
One marketer said we need to ‘de-glamorise marketing’ and present the numbers that ladder up to business key performance metrics. Once you do this, the Board will start to lean in and take notice of the value that marketing brings in. Marketing can then start to be perceived as an investment that has tangible impact on the P & L instead of being perceived as a cost.
Marketing Value – Challenges & Pain Points
Manjiry Tamhane, Gain Theory’s Global CEO shared some insights from an independent research commissioned earlier this year with CMOs from brands representing over $1.9bn in advertising spend. The research revealed several marketer challenges and pain points around marketing measurement. A sample of quotes from the research were:
- “Can’t agree on which few metrics to measure or focus on”
- “Too many data points = paralysis”
- “We are making observations versus true insights into what’s driving the business”
- “Still too many silos in our organisation and not enough sharing between the data scientists and marketing”
- “We need one source of truth, a True North, that will drive our metrics and resulting insights”
- “No agreed method for cross media attribution”
Many of these quotes resonated with our dinner guests but on the last point,
one senior marketer pointed out that Marketing Attribution – understanding which marketing investments are working, in real time – is a real challenge and there is no common standard. There’s a need to understand which tech platforms to invest in, education around the topic and a need to invest in the right skillsets.
Metrics – the Cornerstone of Success
Metrics were a recurring theme, underpinning most conversations during the evening. Thomas pointed out that agreement on the key success metrics takes time, it might even take a year, but is worth investing the time.
“Ask sales what is meaningful to them in terms of metrics and work hard to satisfy and if not exceed this” said one marketer. Another said “It is your job as a marketer to set expectations. Satisfaction is ultimately about managing expectation and matching that with the right delivery”.
What we learned
As W.B. Yeats once said, “Education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire.”
Whilst the take outs listed above are all immensely helpful to our journey in becoming leaders, W.B. Yeats’s quote rings particularly loudly in relation to our dinner in Delhi. Mostly because the fire that was lit that evening through honest, uncomfortable, passionate and brave conversation led to the education of all around the table.
This article was originally published on The Marketing Society site.
Through Q1 2017, the major talking point in marketing, especially in the U.S. and U.K., was brand safety. This is a challenge which has existed for years, but two events caused a brighter light to be shone on the issue.
First, Marc Pritchard of P&G called for more transparency in media buying, honestly admitting that he did not know where and how some of his advertising was being used. Second, a front page on the Times, a U.K. newspaper, revealed that some of Britain’s top brands were being seen alongside unsafe often highly explicit and violent content, setting off a chain reaction of brands boycotting platforms like YouTube.
Since then, as we would expect from marketers, there has been a lot of chatter. But is online brand safety the only issue here?
The short answer is no. The main issues in digital marketing are still viewability, robots and bad measurement, all of which have their roots in short-termism. Here’s why:
Let’s consider, for a moment, the type of people who would be consuming unsafe content for brands. There’s an argument that frequent viewers of this kind of stuff are beyond reproach to start with; if they already have such a low opinion of themselves, then who really cares what they think about a Jaguar XJ or Head and Shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo?
However, what is true is that this advertising is wasted, because if you think they’re contemptible enough to not care for their opinion, then you shouldn’t be advertising to them in the first place.
So this media buying goes into the waste basket, alongside non- or barely-viewed videos or display ads.
As an aside, let’s take a second example. Let’s say a German discounter takes out a full-page ad in a leading right-wing tabloid newspaper, which goes directly opposite a Brexit polemic. Suddenly, a 2 million-strong group of people will associate, consciously or unconsciously, this company which is not from Britain with the very closed-ranks Britishness of the Brexit tribe.
Which is more damaging to a brand? Two million people or a single loser?
But what does this have to do with short-termism? Short term KPIs, such as conversions, or clicks, or impressions or reach, can easily, and badly, be achieved with a spray and pray approach. This kind of approach often results in low levels of viewability and an unsafe environment — making it tricky to deal with.
A lot of companies use white or black lists — the difference being that white lists aggregate sites on which you can advertise; blacklists, conversely, identify which sites should be avoided. The challenge for blacklists is that bad sites continue to proliferate and, for whitelists, there will be some sites previously labeled safe which suddenly become unsafe due to some regretful content. Keeping both lists up to date can be a Sisyphean task.
And even if the buying is against a specific audience, be it demographic or behavioral, showing no care for which sites the content ends up on, or where on that site it exists (i.e. if it’s viewable or not), is going to get you into trouble.
The bigger picture
This is why brands should focus beyond short-term, easily measurable metrics, and into the complex but ultimately more rewarding world of long-term payback. Remember, not everything that can be counted counts.
The best brands are those which are salient, different, and meaningful; the best brands outperform the market. No brands achieved salience, difference or meaning by having un-viewed or bot-viewed advertising, or by being in unsafe environments.
The real concern for advertisers should be about how to change hearts and minds of consumers by telling a great story to the right audience. Brand safety is only one part of the puzzle, and when advertisers are trying to measure payback, they need to look at the whole picture.
Read the original article here.
In February 2017, the Warc Media Awards took place to recognise comms planning which has made a positive impact on business results. The fast-paced change across the media landscape is having seismic shifts on communications planning. As a result, some of the most pioneering thinking occurs at this stage of the process.
Through these awards, Warc captured communications planning best practice, showing how brands, their media agency partners and media owners are using new tech and platforms to help meet business objectives. The awards recognise brands that are getting the most out of their collaborations, as well as showing how data and analytics are revolutionising communications planning in real time.
In recognition of Gain Theory’s authority in data and marketing effectiveness, Jon Webb Managing Partner acted as a judge on the ‘Best Use of Data’ category alongside a mixed jury including Sital Banerjee, Global Head of Media at Philips.
This category sought to recognise the role of data in an effective communications strategy and saw numerous entrants from leading brands globally.
Here are Jon’s insights from his judging experience –
The top entrants within the “Best Use of Data” awards were very strong, with the papers submitted making a strong and clear link between how insights from data can play a fundamental role in driving additional value from media and marketing campaigns. It was good to see that the successful entrants placed as much emphasis on using the data to tell a compelling story around the path to purchase as much as on more complex issues surrounding programmatic. And for those entrants who weren’t successful this year, there were some clear guidelines…
- Make the data a fundamental part of the story, not tagged on as either an after-thought or to justify pre-determined action
- Insights from data can be very simple as well as very powerful – the grand prix winning entry was a great example of this
- Some marketing initiatives take great courage to launch – using real time insights on customer feedback from social media is a great way of course correcting to stay on track
Overall the caliber of entrants were high and I have every confidence that next year the bar will be raised even higher.
Grand Prix –
Narellan Pools, Australia
Hindustan Unilever, India
Destination Canada, Canada
Royal Philips, China