What makes for effective marketing and how to measure it?

Top marketers from some of the UK’s leading brands – and Marketing Week Awards judges – share what they believe are the secrets to effective marketing.

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To maximise marketing effectiveness and give campaigns the best chance of success, marketers at some of the UK’s leading brands agree everything must start with a clear and well-planned brief.

It may sound “obvious”, says Marketing Week Awards judge and Morrisons chief customer and marketing officer Rachel Eyre, but without a solid brief that everyone understands brands will be setting themselves up to fail.

“In fast-paced environments it can be easy to ‘save time’ by skipping the formal briefing. But taking the time upfront to align on objectives, measures of success, insight and context will save pain (and time) further down the line,” she says.

“Put the brief in writing and then get the key group – internal and external – together to discuss, debate and resolve questions on it, making sure everyone leaves that session crystal clear on the ask.”Marketing Week Awards deadline extended

But having a tight and well-planned brief doesn’t mean it should be short, points out Sam Day, CMO at Confused.com. “It means condensed from a lot of hard work,” he says, adding “focusing your mind focuses the work”.

Having a “really tight brief” is also paramount for Mars Petcare’s European portfolio marketing director for natural and health brands, Chris Rodi.

“Within the brief consider the full consumer journey and their attitudes/behaviours along this. Be super clear on the brand fundamentals that need to be the hero of the content, i.e. the brand benefit and the distinctive assets to reinforce the key memory structures for the brand,” he says.

He also advises brands to brief creative and media partners at the same time to ensure content is consistent and fit for platform.

For goodness sake be interesting. You want customer attention and it is hard won these days.

Sam Day, Confused.com

Rodi says Mars always assesses creative against three objectives. It must grab attention – “consumers are always distracted so capturing attention early is critical”; it must drive emotion – “consumers are more likely to watch it if it is emotional”; and it must be remembered for the brand – “the brand should be the hero of the story and the distinctive assets reinforced”.

Confused.com’s Day puts it even more simply: “For goodness sake be interesting,” he says. “You want customer attention and it is hard won these days.”

Anouschka Elliott, managing director and global head of marketing at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, agrees strong creative is critical to drive impact, as it “has been proven to be the most important determinant of success by far”. But she says it’s also critical to clearly define your target audience and strategically combine channels to ensure reach.

Measuring success

When it comes to measurement, Rodi says Mars is “outcomes obsessed”.

“Sales and penetration are the ultimate measures,” he adds. “To assess our campaigns we leverage sales uplift methods or proven behavioural proxies such as view through rate.

Elliott at Goldman Sachs Asset Management says budget measurement is critical, as well as metrics that align back to objectives “so you can demonstrate marketing ROI”.

“Depending on the campaign, your KPIs could include brand awareness, customer engagement and/or lead generation and how each of these have driven bottom-line growth,” she adds.

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Day at Confused.com advises brands to spend time researching and gathering customer insight to get a clear idea of what people currently think of the brand, as well as articulating what you want people to do from the campaign.

“That can be increasing spontaneous awareness or consideration – or plain increased sales – but be specific and have quantified measurable outcomes,” he explains. “Also try to be single minded. The kitchen sink can wait.”

For Eyre, what Morrisons measures depends the campaign, but she says “regulars” for her are short-, medium- or long-term sales, profit and brand impact, key message take out, reach and attribution.

“Be as clear, succinct and transparent as possible, with everyone working on the campaign [clear] what business problem or opportunity you’re trying to solve,” she adds. “It can (and often will be) more than one but challenge yourself to articulate the relative importance of the objectives, and wherever possible quantify the goal.”

The deadline for the Marketing Week Awards has been extended to 8 June. The Awards, sponsored by The Ozone Project, celebrate the most effective, creative and innovative work in the industry. Brands, agencies, PR firms and analytics and marketing technology companies are all invited to submit their work. Visit the website to download an entry pack.

MW Awards 2022