It’s not fair to blame marketers for the rise of short-term metrics

Marketers are increasingly using short-term metrics to measure marketing success but is it simply because it’s easier to do so or are they under pressure from senior leaders to deliver immediate results?

Mindi Chahal

Marketers are under increasing pressure to prove their worth to chief financial officers and other senior leaders so is it entirely fair to blame the trend towards chasing short-term metrics solely on marketers?

The IPA claimed in a recent report that short-termism – which it defines as any campaign measured over a period of less than six months – is killing creativity in marketing.

The issue being that although short-term activations such as messages and information around deals, offers and seasonal prompts may be powerful in the short period they are going out live to the consumer, over time that power diminishes.

The alternative being long-term brand building that builds emotional brand associations with consumers, which takes longer to accumulate.

But you have to look at the cause and not just the effect. Why are marketers opting for shorter bursts of activity? One could argue that digital communications is the culprit as campaign results can be increasingly measured, chopped and changed immediately.

Question if it’s right

Marketers have a wealth of tools that allow them to run shorter direct response campaigns but are enough marketers questioning whether these tactics are right for the brand and whether putting budget towards digital is worth it?

WPP’s CEO Sir Martin Sorrell expects growth in digital ad spend to slow over the next few years as concerns over viewability, ad fraud and measurement impacts budgets.

It is also easy to blame the people doing the work for looking at short-term metrics and measures of brand building but there is a bigger picture.

Companies need to decide what marketing means to the business, whether it’s immediate sales or whether it’s brand consideration in the future.

  • Marketing Week will publish an in-depth feature looking at the impact of short-termism on brand building, CMO tenure and agency relationships later this week.