‘75% of marketing strategies underperformed in 2014’

Three quarters of marketing strategies and ad campaigns underperformed last year because marketers focused on “how to say it” over “what to say”, applied “fluffy” engagement KPIs and misused data, according to Fournaise Marketing Group.

Lack of customer value

The study, based on the 2014 performance-tracking data from global marketing performance measurement and management company Fournaise Marketing Group, claims that in 88% of cases, marketers built strategies, campaigns and ads around weak and unattractive customer value propositions by prioritising “how to say it” over “what to say”.

The study showed that marketers failed to ensure strategies were answering the needs and wants of their target consumers, and instead focused on the look and feel of their strategies as well as digital and social aspects.

Focus on “fluff” engagement KPIs

Seventy percent of ads failed to build a high enough level of audience engagement to create incremental customer demand for the products advertised, with marketers relying too heavily on creativity.

Marketers and agencies continued to judge their ad performance based on what Fournaise calls “fluff” engagement KPIs such as likes and tweets. While these measures don’t prove solid business returns, marketers continued to equate high awareness with campaign success.

Misuse of data to determine campaign success

Marketers often used the wrong methods of data collection for the wrong purposes, therefore leading to incorrect results and decisions, according to the tracker. They often developed their creative and strategies before looking at data, using it as a secondary method to justify their ideas.

For example, many ads claimed that they tested positively using small, non-representative audience samples, when the campaigns ultimately delivered poor returns.

Further, in 67% of cases, even though marketers possessed large amounts of data and reports, they requested more from researchers and analysts.

Strategies failed to deliver expected results

These mistakes resulted in 75% of marketing strategies and ad campaigns underperforming by failing to deliver expected business results, including more sales, market share and conversions.

The results are consistent with research carried out by Marketing Week and sister brand Econsultancy last year which showed that the vast majority of finance directors feel they are unable to quantify the return on investment (ROI) that their organisation receives from its marketing spend.

Further, a 2012 report by Fournaise found that 70% of CEOs had lost trust in marketers’ ability to deliver growth and prove ROI on campaigns.

Formula for success

Jerome Fontaine, global CEO and marketing performance chief of Fournaise, says there is a formula marketers need to apply in order to succeed:

“You first optimise what you say, to whom, why you say it, and in which order, and then you optimise how you say it and where using the appropriate science and tools,” he says.

“There are two types of marketers: the ROI marketers faithfully apply the formula and usually succeed at delivering true business performance and climbing the management ladder. The traditional marketers don’t, or incorrectly, apply it.”

The 2014 study demonstrates slightly better results than 2013, which showed that 79% of marketers failed to prove that their marketing spend delivered the uplift expected from management.

Fournaise uses six marketing performance tracking and boosting tools annually to evaluate the effectiveness of over two and a half million marketing strategies, campaigns and ads across all media in 20 countries, 13 industries and 11 languages.

The study determines which strategies and ads work, which ones do not, when, where and why. It also advises marketers on what they should do to deliver better results, performance and ROI.

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