Carat @ Eff Week: IPA and ISBA Joint Qualitative research into Marketing Effectiveness


During this year’s Eff Week, the IPA and ISBA announced that they would be collaborating to run the UK’s biggest survey into current attitudes and practices relating to marketing effectiveness. Victoria Milligan, Head of Marketing for Media Brands, attended this morning’s outcomes session, presented by Libby Child from Greengrass Consulting.

Eff Week 2018

The results of this culture survey will be the first-ever benchmark for the management of marketing effectiveness, showing us which strategies and structures to improve marketing effectiveness, are being practised, and with how much success.

It is an essential step in our journey to provide agencies and clients with actionable, evidence-based advice on creating an effectiveness culture.

Background: Questionnaires were answered by an equal split between agencies and clients, with a very robust sample size. The research was undertaken to try to understand the current level of effectiveness culture and to hopefully start to establish an industry baseline.

‘Marketing Effectiveness is on many a management To Do List’, but how do we bring it nearer to the top?


POV of Client:

‘There is an energised focus on becoming a data/insight-driven marketing organisation’

‘It’s atop down focus at group/board level’

‘Senior management is valuing it more and demanding more data-driven campaigns’

‘We have recruited specific skill sets, investing in people capability’


POV of Agency:

‘We are driving an agency-wide culture of testing and learning – not just something the analytics team does but relevant to all’

‘It is a major focus, sales tool and aim of our business to be research driven’

‘Our clients are very committed to effectiveness as part of the process of achieving better work.

‘It is something we are not seen to be good at so our own effectiveness must be seen as a drive in the future’


There were 3 Main Themes from the research

Theme 1: Current Marketing Effectiveness Culture is now clearly short-term in focus

Common theme of short-term needs taking priority over longer term objectives, there is a focus on the here and now.  WHY is that? Quotes from marketeers ….

Quotes from agencies ….


What can be done?

  1. The importance of developing an investment strategy rather than an expenditure one
  2. To invest in tools, capabilities and resource which enables us to see the link between short and long-term objectives.  This investment will also enable us to analyse all the various data available
  3. Language – we need to change the language we use. 
    • Define short term as it means different things to different brands, Google thing 3 months is a long time. Most brands work on a 12-month financial planning cycle so are held to this cycle to deliver results.  How long term is long term? 
    • The language is very combatitive: short vs long term, tactical vs strategic, activation vs brand building.  Why does it have to be one or the other?  Every organisation has short and long-term goals, it is understanding how they can work together
    • Can we change long-term planning to ambition/goal/vision? This will give us a north star but ensure we can adapt to changes in consumer behaviour, introduction in new technology and use of digital platforms along the way
  4. The understanding of the longer-term vision needs to come from the top down but many CEOs are from an accounting background so want to see short-term effectiveness in the figures as they are constantly under short-term pressure to deliver.


Theme 2: It is not yet the norm for marketing’s success criteria/KPIs/objectives to be aligned formally, upfront and all across all departments, channels and stakeholders

Both clients and agencies agree that is difficult to define what success looks like, because of a combination of factors: logistics, getting people together from different capabilities and the sheer quantity of data and data sources available. Marketers and agencies agree that there is data overload with not enough resource to analyse it all so they use the measurement metrics of Brand Tracking and Sales data. Agencies also state that it is sometimes difficult to have access to the data as clients are very protective of it.

Only 20% of Agencies say that they receive clear and written briefs from the client.  


What can be done?

  1. Stop saying how difficult it is, we need to start somewhere!
  2. The most successful relationships between clients and agencies are based on honest and transparent regular conversations
    • Discuss what worked well and what we need to do, the relationship needs to be based on trust and integrity
    • Agencies need to push hard to get the client to agree what the measurement of success is going to be. Helpful to create a one-pager, a CEO dashboard, to define together what metrics are important at the start
    • Clients can have many different agencies so it is down to them to define success and set KPIs for the different agencies.


Theme 3: Marketing Effectiveness is increasingly a shared responsibility yet internal ways of working can remain challenging

A quarter of respondents agreed that responsibility for marketing effectiveness is not in a single area such as insight/analytics, it is a shared responsibility we are aiming for.

What can be done?

  1. To Make Marketing Effectiveness a Career: There seems to be a lack of resource and a skills gap in this area so perhaps it is an emerging discipline and function
  2. Establish an Effectiveness Function: O2 and Samsung have this, it has minimised the politics and ensured that teams of different capabilities have come together, not just those with data skills. Collaboration has to be the underlying force
  3. Better communication with the company around what we are trying to achieve, engage everyone and make them committed and excited to share responsibility.  Create a comms campaign with regular progress updates on what we are achieving. At Telefonica, they had a special room to show what marketing effectiveness was and what progress was being made
  4. Again, change the language, from marketing effectiveness to business effectiveness, make it relevant to all


In summary, what are the accelerators and barriers to marketing effectiveness?

Eff Week 2018
^Back to Top