Three marketing experts on how to achieve ‘effective share of voice’

The first event in the Festival of Marketing’s Currency of Effectiveness series discussed how brands can use media strategy and creative effectiveness to turn excess share of voice into “effective share of voice”.

The basic formula is simple: build excess share of voice through advertising, and growth in market share will follow. But with today’s fragmented media landscape, there are now additional factors marketers need to consider to deliver the most powerful business impact, experts at Ebiquity, System1 and Boots have explained.

“If you think of it really simply, it [excess share of voice] does just mean you’ve got more budget, and more budget should allow you to do things that ultimately lead to growth,” explained Ebiquity’s group director Priya Patel, speaking during the first of the Currency of Effectiveness sessions being held by Marketing Week’s Festival of Marketing, sponsored by Ebiquity and System1.

“But something one of my colleagues came up with the other day is if you can take that excess share of voice and convert it into effective share voice, then you’re really winning.”

Developing the right media strategy for your brand is a key part of doing that, Patel said. As linear TV’s reach has declined, particularly with younger audiences, and the cost of media continues to rise, brands now need to take a multimedia approach to achieve the same level of broad reach.

“The question that we have to ask ourselves is, if you’re spending a million pounds now and you get [a certain amount of] reach, if you now need £1.1m to do that next year, do you invest that £100,000 in [linear] TV and take the hit on ROI or… could you do something else in other channels that will deliver that incremental reach more efficiently?” Patel said.

“We still are big fans of [linear] TV, but we have to be realistic and really think about the challenges that brands are facing in the future and about what other channels could help close that gap.”

You need brand building advertising for broad beam attention on broad reach media.

Orlando Wood, System1

Asked by moderator and Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson whether now marks an opportunity for digital video to step in and fill the gap, Patel confirmed that in her view, it does.

Comparing Ebiquity’s latest ROI benchmarks for linear TV and other media channels against its benchmarks for 2019/20, using the same brands for both waves, shows linear TV’s ROI is “holding up”, with ROI growth of 3%.

However, the ROI of video-on-demand (VOD), including broadcaster VOD, connected TV and YouTube, grew 15%. While TV’s ROI is still higher than VOD, the latter is “catching up”, according to Ebiquity’s data.

Source: Ebiquity

Patel explained: “What we’re seeing from this latest wave is that the other channels’ [ROI] are definitely increasing. They’re picking up the momentum. And there is room for these channels to be playing an active role on that media plan now.”

What multimedia solution is right for each brand will vary depending on sector, country, share of online sales and creative assets, she added, but broad reach media and making sure a brand’s message is “reaching lots of people” is important for all brands.

“Being super targeted with media channels rarely delivers the ROI, especially when we look at it from a long-term perspective,” Patel said, explaining that brands need to ensure they are speaking to the consumers of tomorrow, not just today, which means broadcasting their message beyond the market they currently serve.

“There definitely has to be a role for brands to help increase the funnel at the top and for performance media to continue to do that conversion at the lower end,” she explained. “And it’s very much that they should be working together to do that job rather than working against each other.”

Creativity’s impact

Meanwhile, System1’s chief innovation officer Orlando Wood, author of Lemon and Look Out, argued that creative quality is also an important factor in driving effective share of voice.

Wood demonstrated his theory with two charts, both comparing predicted and actual market share growth as a result of excess share of voice. The second chart also factors in how creatively effective a brand’s advertising is as measured by System1’s star rating system, which predicts the long-term effectiveness of ads based on viewers’ emotional responses.

According to research company Nielsen, on average, marketers can expect a 10 percentage point difference between share of voice and share of market will lead to 0.5% market share growth.

Source: System1

“The chart on the left really shows the relationship between what you’d expect to see from that principle in predicted growth and the actual growth of these brands over the following period,” Wood explained.

“And then on the right, you’ve got what happens when you factor in the quality of the advertising… for the exact same brands in that period.”

Accounting for creative quality “improves the relationship between the model and the real world effects”, he said.

Calling back to an observation made previously by effectiveness expert Peter Field, in which he used effectiveness data from the IPA database to show the relationship between excess share of voice and market share gain was weakening, Wood blamed “the general shift in advertising style away from the broad, brand-building style… towards mechanistic advertising”.

While brand-building advertising appeals to the right side of the human brain, which offers “broad beam attention”, performance advertising appeals to the left side of the brain, which offers “narrow beam attention”. The former doesn’t assume an existing interest in the product being advertised, Wood explains, while the latter assumes interest and seeks to “nudge” consumers towards purchase.

“These two types of advertising look and feel very different. They have different types of goals. They also result in different types of business effect,” he explained.

“This broad beam attention on the right, this brand building advertising, this sort of advertising has been disappearing gradually. But it’s the more important type of advertising in budgetary terms, and particularly in a digital age.”

He added: “You need brand building advertising for broad beam attention on broad reach media.”

Agreeing, Patel added that measuring share of voice is an “absolute minefield right now”, especially in digital media.

“But it has to make sense that if you are spending more and you’re doing it wisely and you’re doing it with the right creative and you’ve got a good media strategy behind you, you should grow and you should get effective share of voice as well,” she said.

Advice for small brands

Asked how smaller brands can secure effective share of voice without the budget to buy broad reach media, Boots’ vice-president and marketing director, Helen Jeremiah, advised marketers to first demonstrate the ROI of a small level of investment to secure the extra budget needed.

“One thing that we’ve done that’s worked quite successfully is demonstrate a return on a small level of investment, by working with your CFO. So if you can demonstrate a return on investment to your finance team, they will quite quickly go, ‘Wow, I can see and feel the results’. And then offer more,” she said.

Wood added that while many startups and scale-ups start by driving growth with performance marketing and “grow quite well up to a certain point”, they then reach a “plateau”.How Oddbox grew its brand on a startup’s budget

“It’s at that point often that they decide it’s time to go for broader reach, brand building work and then you take that step up,” he said.

“That’s what tends to happen. In fact, the work I’ve done shows that those brands [that are] scaling up, their advertising tends to look very left brain, so it’s a case of relearning what’s needed for those huge TV ads.”

However, Patel warned small brands not to expect to achieve the scale of growth they achieved in year one in subsequent years, as growth lessens as a business matures. Marketers must ensure they are making sure their CFOs and CEOs are made aware of that when the conversation around brand-building first starts.

“We have so many brands which grow very fast in the early days and don’t really understand where it’s coming from. And then they go, ‘Oh, I spent a lot of money and I didn’t get the return’,” she said.

For more information and to register for the other free events taking place as part of the  Currency of Effectiveness series, part of Marketing Week’s Festival of Marketing, click here. Speakers include top marketers from B2B and B2C brands such as NatWest CMO Margaret Jobling, Diageo’s chief digital officer Susan Jones, EY’s UK CMO Rebecca Hirst, PZ Cussons CMO Andrew Geoghegan, SAS CMO Jennifer Chase and CALM CMO Matt Jennings.

To watch the session in full click here

The Currency of Effectiveness is brought to you in partnership with System 1, Ebiquity, Salesforce, Digitas, Ozone, Little Dot Studios