Marketers need to justify spending or face cuts

Marketing Week Live: Marketers need to strictly measure the return on investment from campaigns or face having their marketing budgets cut, according to Virgin Atlantic’s sales and marketing director, Paul Dickinson.

Virgin Atlantic campaign
Virgin Atlantic campaign

Speaking at the Marketing Week Live event in London today (July 1), Dickinson says finance directors need metrics to justify sanctioning marketing spend in an economic downturn “not emotion or commentary”.

“Yes, have great creative and media planning, but if you are not holding onto your budget you have nothing at all.”

He adds the money spent on this year’s 25th anniversary activity has been justified by an increase in ROI, up from £6.55 for every £1 spent in 2007/08 to £10.84 in 2008/09.

Search activity, brand buzz and advertising awareness have also increased since the campaign launched in January, he says.

Dickinson adds that spend on the TV ad, set in 1984 and featuring glamorous Virgin cabin crew, was the “biggest thing” to justify.

He says the campaign was being planned during a “perfect storm” – the financial crisis, record fuel prices and falling passenger numbers – for the airline industry,

In the absence of any new routes or services to promote, the airline had to find what it could “squeeze” from its anniversary, which was effectively, he adds, “a non-event”.

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