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“We like what we see, but give us more US data,” was the message from our friends in the US. This year’s IPA EffWeek round-table in New York may pave the way for a higher presence of North American brands and campaigns in our research.

Executive Director of EffWeek, Janet Hull OBE, and this year’s convenor of judges at the IPA Effectiveness Awards, Neil Godber, took the EffWeek message across the Atlantic with a New York visit. They hosted an effectiveness round-table at the offices of our partner Gain Theory.

“The IPA is often seen as a ‘British only’ organisation,” says Janet, “but our effectiveness awards feature many global campaigns. Effectiveness is a universal message, and one that we want to communicate everywhere.” At a similar event in New York last year, Janet discovered an appetite for the subject.

This year she returned and was joined by the US reps of two of our closest partners; Chris Necchi from Gain Theory, and Brent Snider of System1 Group. Both Gain Theory and System1 have played a huge part in the content strategy for this year’s EffWeek. Each organisation has spent the last year researching two of our key themes, measurement and creativity. Together with Janet, they presented the results of their research to their peers in the US, along with a summary of other findings from the event. Their findings were enthusiastically received and some interesting points of difference to the UK market were revealed during the discussion.

Chris Necchi of Gain Theory and Brent Snider of System1 Group presetning at the IPA EffWeek roundtable in New York
Chris Necchi of Gain Theory and Brent Snider of System1 Group presenting at the IPA EffWeek roundtable in New York

Elle Graham-Dixon, a strategist at BBDO, attended. “I’m a huge fan of the  IPA Effectiveness Awards,” she says. “Competitions like this are important training grounds for junior planners to start writing case studies”. In the US the Effies command a lot of respect, and many of the agencies present entered them. This highlights one of the differences between the UK and US markets – the prevalence of short-termism.

Short-termism in the US

The Effies in the US ask for campaigns with a maximum of one-year timespan. Very few case studies in the US look at the long-term. In comparison, the IPA Effectiveness Awards has no maximum. Entries have included 35-year case studies, a reflection of the different cultures. In the US quarterly reporting is mandatory and dominates the business landscape. There isn’t the ‘time’ for effectiveness. Shann Biglione of Zenith Media has recently arrived in the US. “After four years in China, I am struck by the short-term nature of both markets,” he told the room.

Does this mean that EffWeek’s message about short-termism will fall on deaf ears? Not necessarily. Tom Morton of R/GA, and IPA Effectiveness Awards judge attended the roundtable. “I think that the focus on the tension between short-term ROI and long-term profitability is a good message to deliver to the US market,” he says. But there was a consensus that including data from North American campaigns would help us to deliver that message. Marni Gordon of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) also felt that marketing’s long-term value in the US tends to be explored through a focus on purpose-driven brands, something their organisation has championed.

Building the relationship with finance

Our benchmarking study into marketing effectiveness culture and our research into the relationship with finance also provoked a lot of debate in the room. “This dominated a lot of the discussion,” says Neil Godber, “working out how to value brand in a meaningful way to finance. Price reduction is becoming more of an issue, so the group were interested in seeing our take on price elasticity and the value of price maintenance or price premium, making it easier to understand and apply.”

L-R: Liz Saunders - Google, Yn Chung - BBDO, Neil Godbet - JWT, Tom Morton - R/GA, Tom Callard - 72 and Sunny
L-R: Liz Saunders – Google, Yin Chung – BBDO, Neil Godber – JWT, Tom Morton – R/GA, Tom Callard – 72 and Sunny

Long-term creative assets

Brent Snider of System1 Group presented the research into fluent devices that we released at EffWeek earlier in the year. The research provides a technique-led solution to the problem of short-termism and this resonated with the group. Machine-led creative is becoming more pervasive and is restricting creativity in the market. Demonstrating the value of long-term brand assets and optimising creative effectiveness is a way of providing a positive counterbalance.

We’ll be back…

“It was great to see that US marketers hold IPA, EffWeek and our content in such high regard,” says Janet Hull. “We want to build on our relationships with our friends in the US and bring greater relevance to our content for them. And I can promise that we will be discussing what we discovered in our New York visit as a priority back home in the UK.”

With thanks to our partners Gain Theory who hosted our New York visit…

… and to all our attendees from:

System 1 Group
72 and Sunny
Zenith Media
Publicis & Leo Burnett (Canada)

“Just what the industry needs, great collaboration between clients and agencies on the topics that drive business growth.”

Bridget Angear, Joint Chief Strategy Officer at AMV BBDO

“It’s great to see the IPA in the UK bring the whole industry and particularly the trade bodies together to focus on effectiveness. This new Marketing Effectiveness initiative will enable people across the industry to work together to build on best practice.”

David Wheldon, Chief Marketing Officer, RBS

“Effectiveness is a team sport, so it was great to see the industry in the widest sense, come together. In an increasingly diverse and fragmented world, only by using all parts of the brain will we solve effectiveness challenges and design our campaigns to deliver short and long term value. That’s why what happens next is important – if the IPA can help facilitate progress on this with a long-term initiative around Marketing Effectiveness, we’ll definitely crack it.”

Bart Michels, Global CEO Kantar Added Value and Country Leader Kantar UK

“The time spent at #EffWeek was extraordinarily effective. It was great to hear the diverse views from all areas of the industry. All tied together with the common themes of accountability and effectiveness.”

Andrew Canter, Global CEO, BCMA

“It has been a privilege to be part of the inaugural Effectiveness Week. The agenda is one which we at O2 UK feel passionately about. To see and hear perspectives across the industry demonstrates how the breadth of marketing effectiveness is increasingly being valued within businesses. Data, insight, social, customer experience, test and learn, ROI, these are all fundamentals and were covered expansively at the event”.

Sandra Fazackerley, Marketing & Consumer, Telefónica UK Limited

“The full week of effectiveness events brought into clear focus the need for marketers to use data and insight to achieve the key business objectives of growth and profits. Marketers today are in a better position to quantify their knowledge of customers and measure the ability of investments in marketing to increase brand and shareholder value.”

Chris Combemale, Group CEO, DMA