Our headline nods to kilt-clad New Romantics Spandau Ballet, with a clear message from the conclusion in the latest IPA report by Les Binet and Peter Field, “Media in Focus – Marketing effectiveness in the digital era”. Be aware that devoting too much thought and energy chasing a short-term ROI/ROMI at the expense of long-term brand promotion may not cause an advertiser to ‘mislay their wits’, as the 1980’s song goes, but it will cause an advertiser to lose brand share and ultimately risk losing their company. To avoid any confusion, report authors, Binet and Field, are not known for their enthusiasm for the kilt but are very well known for their detailed mining of the IPA Effectiveness Awards’ Databank. They analysed over 1,700 advertising effectiveness case studies dating back to 1980, to produce three key pieces of advice for advertisers and agencies.

“Adopt a longer-term strategy” – looking through a microscope at impressive short-term ROI/ROMI is very tempting, but it’s crucial to raise your gaze to look over the wider market landscape. The report says that “only 3% of short-term cases generated very large market share growth, whereas 38% of 3+ year cases did so”.
“Focus on profit, not ROI/ROMI” – short-term strategies focus on harvesting the ‘low-hanging fruit’ to achieve growth. However, the report finds that these strategies underperform when it comes to profit growth. For long-term growth, use business metrics like brand metrics and market share growth.
“Ensure the right balance of brand building/ sales activation expenditure” – in 2012, 55% of campaigns were focussed on direct sales objectives. By 2016, this had increased to 72% of campaigns. The report finds that a 60:40 brand to activation expenditure balance is best, however.

Another observation from the report concerned video advertising, which was identified as the “most effective brand-building form”. And despite the ability to micro target audiences, the report finds that the most effective advertising is via mass market media channels to reach as many current and potential users/ customers as possible. This approach increases market share which is a “key driver of profit”.

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