Why brand plays a key role in marketing effectiveness

Brands need to have a mixture of short- and long-term KPIs to get the most out of their marketing investment and ensure they are driving profitable growth.

Brands that want to improve marketing effectiveness need to balance long- and short-term effects and ensure they don’t forget about the importance of creativity, according to marketing effectiveness experts.

Speaking in the final episode of our series on marketing effectiveness, created in partnership with Thinkbox, Mark Ritson says: “It comes down to having one, maybe two objectives that are about delivering the kind of dollar return next year that will keep everyone happy. [And then] we normally add in maybe one more objective, which is longer-term brand building, less immediate return, as well.

“As long as I can get my budget to cover the short-term return and the longer-term impact that will set things up for future years, we are in good shape.”

However, Matthew Chappell, a partner at Gain Theory, warns that the proportion of brands doing a “good job” of measuring long-term value is nowhere near as high as those measuring short-term impacts. That leads to short-termist behaviour that can damage a brand in the long run.

Royal Mail’s global marketing director Ben Rhodes is clear on the issue. It invests in brand marketing to ensure it maintains its market share. If it doesn’t, it soon sees a hit to short-term metrics.

READ MORE: ‘There’s no magic formula’: The challenges of measuring marketing effectiveness

“It’s really important we do that because we’ve seen that when we don’t, the conversion rates at the performance end of the funnel tend to degrade relatively quickly. [That means] it’s quite important that we have a balance across the two,” he explains.

For Annabel Venner, global brand director at Hiscox, brand is a “very key element” in driving profitable growth. “You need to be very cognisant in terms of what consumers think of your brand and what do you need to change about your messaging and what behaviour you want to drive. You need to start with that.”

We can’t say that now we’ve got this [marketing effectiveness] system creativity doesn’t matter anymore. Actually it matters even more than it did before.

Andrew Geoghegan, Diageo

The decision to focus on brand building has paid off at Direct Line, according to its CEO Paul Geddes. While the insurance market in general was seen as a commodity marketplace where companies had to make the product cheap and sell it on price comparison sites, it chose to do the opposite, investing in both the brand and the proposition. That decision, he claims, has helped turn around Direct Line’s performance.

“We made a big punt at Direct Line,” he says, adding: “that has really turned it from a brand that was declining to one that’s growing. It’s our most valuable brand, our customers love it and it’s a proper piece of marketing and brand investment of the school that I would have understood when I was at Procter & Gamble all those years ago.”

For marketers looking to boost effectiveness, Thomas Barta has a simple solution – plan an effectiveness day every six months where marketing and finance come together and look at all the areas of marketing to see where they could do better.

“Go through the effectiveness funnel – segmentation, messages, media mix, execution, consistency – and have a look at what you could do better. It’s simple things like this that will raise the bar of effectiveness in companies.”

And don’t forget about creativity. “Creativity, ideas, all the magic of marketing becomes just as important in the future. We can’t say that now we’ve got this [marketing effectiveness] system creativity doesn’t matter anymore. Actually it matters even more than it did before,” concludes Andrew Geoghegan, Diageo’s global head of consumer planning and customer marketing.

For more insights into ROI and the efficiency versus effectiveness debate, watch the video above. And head here to watch the other videos in the series.

Ebiquity and Gain Theory’s report on making the business case for advertising can be downloaded here.