Marketers ‘living in la-la-land’ by mistaking awareness for conversion

Some 76% of marketers are using the wrong measurements to track and prove the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns, according to a new study.

Mobile customer engagement

Too many marketers are confusing engagement with conversion, according to Fournaise

The analysis by the Fournaise Marketing Group tracked 500 marketing strategies in the first half of the year found and branded the results as “shocking”.

It claims that 77% of marketers consider generating awareness a critical way of proving effectiveness because they assume that if a target audience sees a campaign it will automatically engage with them. However Fournaise claims this is wrong altogether.

“Awareness is nothing if not specifically built to generate interest, desire and ultimately action that have a direct positive impact on the company’s top line and/or bottom line,” says the report.

After awareness, 71% of marketers believe the next best way to prove effectiveness is through engagement. They do this using measurements such as website traffic, video views, open rates or likes and tweets.

Again, Fournaise says marketers are focusing on the wrong metrics as “engagement is nothing without conversion”. Plus, in a finding that Fournaise calls “the most alarming of all”, many marketers actually mistake engagement for conversion.

The report says 86% believe engagement KPIs prove that they generated more sales even though there is no link to actual revenues.

Jermo Fontaine, Fournaise’s global CEO and marketing performance chief, explains: “The question is simple, when are marketers going to finally realise that their job is to generate incremental (measurable and P&L-quantifiable) customer demand for their organisation’s products and services?

And when are they going to start tracking their marketing effectiveness accordingly?”

Too much focus on the ‘how’

Some 74% of marketers believe a campaign’s success is dependent on “standing out” through creativity, media placements or innovative digital activity. But the report found this placed the focus too much on the ‘how’ and not enough on the ‘what’.

This leads to brands neglecting their message and unique proposition in favour of high-profile campaigns.

“If marketers want to be taken seriously and have a bigger, stronger presence in the boardroom, they need to stop living in their la-la land and start behaving like real business people,” concludes Fontaine.

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  • Colin Sneath 22 Sep 2015 at 9:14 am

    Fournaise’ position, whilst correct in an obvious sense, is as unremarkable as it is lazy. Marketers of course recognise that conversion is king but also appreciate that to get there the crucial stages of awareness, understanding, engagement, preference and conviction have to be travelled through. Measuring performance in all these areas AS WELL AS conversion is essential for understanding what’s working and what isn’t. The notion that the only marketing activity you should invest in is the one you can directly see conversion from is “Swiss Tony” Marketing. Its nonsense and denies the efficacy of an integrated approach.

  • Zbiggy 22 Sep 2015 at 10:16 am

    Colin, completely agree. Quite frankly I’m sick to the back teeth of people who should know better stating that somehow creativity is not a commercial activity. The simple fact is that to build exceptional products and services it requires a truly creative approach and mind. The reason for me that Marketing doesn’t get the credit it deserves is exactly the opposite of what this article infers. It has tried too hard to position itself as a science, rather than an art with a bit of science thrown in, completely killing it’s most important USP re the boardroom. As for “research” I’ll be polite and state it is like a chainsaw, occasionally useful to clear things up, but in the wrong hands normally fatal. +90% of new FMCG product launches fail within 12 months. I wonder why?Research that!

  • petermccormack 22 Sep 2015 at 12:32 pm

    As Jeremy Sinclair famously said “In advertising language, this means that a campaign only succeeds if it ultimately helps to create new sales for the client, and does so effectively and economically.”

    Problem is if they focus on conversion they will realise that the majority of their work is waste of money. Agencies are not designed to understand the connected customer, they are designed to sell ads, ads anywhere.

    Equally marketeers in traditional businesses don’t understand why their marketing isn’t working anymore and feel like they must spend money on every channel.

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