We published Culture First, an initial examination of the prevalence and level of effectiveness culture in brands. At EffWeek 2018 we followed up by releasing two pieces of research which delve deeper, with a wider range of brands.
One of the five prerequisites of a marketing effectiveness culture identified in Culture First was a focus on language, on how we communicate with other functions. It highlighted a need for marketers to ensure that the language and metrics used with other functions, particularly finance, was associated with an agreed value. Words like “brand halo” need to be underpinned with an understanding of the specific role it plays in, for example, customer satisfaction, market share protection, or churn reduction. It also highlighted that given the focus on marketing effectiveness being seen across many organisations, there was a need for improvement in the communication and understanding between marketing and finance.
This year the improvement of that relationship between marketing and finance has been a focus for one of the research pieces. Fran Cassidy has done further work on this issue and will be presenting her findings at EffWeek. Complementing her presentation will be a quantitative survey of brands in partnership with ISBA, which seeks to benchmark the progress towards effectiveness culture and better understand where we are now.
Understanding finance teams today
Finance departments themselves are in a state of flux. Finance roles are migrating right across organisations. No longer solely a “number-crunching” function, their role is being transformed, partly by an intense focus on the use of resource, and partly by automation, which is taking over many basic reporting tasks. “One online respondent put it well,” says Fran. “They told me that they are no longer doing the numbers in the back office, while everyone else is at the strategy meeting. They are now organising and running the strategy meetings.
Fran’s research found that this greater integration of finance was leading to some positive changes. “We found that there was a huge increase in CPD training, both formal and informal, taking place between finance and marketing disciplines,” she says. “Both disciplines are learning each other’s languages.” Although this was, in general, a positive trend, she still came across the complaint that financial literacy is still an issue. There’s still a need to take note of Professor Patrick Barwise…
Understanding finance for long-term marketing effects
The other standout finding of the research involved a striking evolution in the way that some organisations are thinking about budgeting.
“This change is very much about applying a different mental attitude to marketing effectiveness expenditure,” says Fran. “It isn’t a change that is necessarily easy for organisations to implement and will no doubt require some trailblazers. However, there were a couple of big brands that indicated they were exploring adopting this mindset. If they did I think we would see a significant shift in the way marketing is budgeted for, and a far greater understanding of the long-term benefits and risks associated with it. There was evidence that marketers wanted to move away from the concept of the marketing funnel. It suggests too much of a conversation ratio for all marketing activity. As one of my respondents put it, ‘we need to start thinking about, and understanding more about how to raise the water table of brand value, not focussing on the flash floods of short-term promotion.’”
“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