Carat @ Eff Week: Why it’s “Effectiveness Week” & not “Efficiencies Week”
Alison Drummond, head of insight and effectiveness kicks off Carat UK's Carat @ Eff Week series with our agency perspective on balancing the short and long-term.
Research carried out within Carat UK suggests that despite the general belief that brand investment is key to driving long-term profit, Marketers are more focused on short-term sales than ever before.
Many cite tremendous pressures that are resulting in few achieving what they would consider being a healthy and optimal balance of brand-building communications and short-term marketing activity. With every penny of marketing spend being scrutinised, the setting of short-term goals and targets and pressures to demonstrate sales and ROI quickly. Unsurprisingly this has led to a focus on short-term metrics that do not necessarily tell the whole story, especially when it comes to understanding the impact of your brand-building efforts.
This focus is frustrating for Marketers. Studies such as those carried out for the IPA by Les Binet & Peter Field and Byron Sharp’s work resonate across a range of sectors and brand sizes. Most clients share an innate belief that the key to unlocking growth is to focus on brand-building, but some are now having to rely on former brand-building “glories” due to budget constraints. And of course, that obsession with short-term ROI is ever present.
“Brand-building work often comes under pressure when budgets are tight.”
– Senior Planner
Few would challenge the idea of a 60/40 rule in favour of longer-term branding activity, but achieving the optimal balance is far from easy. Definitions of long and short-term activity are inconsistent so how do you know, for example, whether a Gondola in a supermarket is working for you in the short, medium or long-term and how do you measure the ROI? And we shouldn’t forget that there have been highly effective shorter-term (i.e. Digital) campaigns designed to build brand equity in the longer-term. So it’s not about switching out of Digital entirely in a bid to avoid “marketing to bots”, or indeed going to the other extreme and becoming 100% Digital. The key, as with many things in life, is to try to achieve a healthy balance.
But in doing so, we also need to focus more on our short game. We should use data to optimise and evidence the short-term, but also learn how things are working in the medium to longer-term. And, we need to develop multi-speed effectiveness frameworks that capture and report fast moving metrics and lead indicators and allow for more in-depth brand measurement and understanding, the likes of which we will showcase later this week when we feature our Brand DNA approach. Also, keep an eye out for practical tips on developing a meaningful effectiveness framework.
So, in a nutshell, this is why we have “Effectiveness Week” and not “Efficiencies Week”. Whether you are trying to balance the long and short (don’t worry the 60/40 ratio is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule), or waiting with baited breath for the next instalment from Les & Peter which looks at ratios by category and brand size, or you believe that Digital advertising is killing the art of brand-building, or you know from experience that Digital can be an effective channel for building brands, treat yourself to a week of focusing on effectiveness instead of efficiencies!