During the inaugural IPA Effectiveness Week, a raft of brand-side marketers spoke about the challenges in producing work that not only engages people, but impacts the bottom line.
For some, it’s about getting the right organisational structure in place while others talked up the shift in mindset that needs to happen as more budget is invested into digital channels.
The Drum’s key takeaways came from four global brands, which have all experienced heavy disruption in their respective sectors and are being guided by senior marketers that have been forced to open up to better ways of working.
Integrate and collaborate
To extract more value from its advertising, Jaguar embarked on the bold move of taking a 50% stake in Spark44, an independent creative agency which would be solely dedicated to its needs. According to Ian Armstrong, global head of advertising at Jaguar Land Rover, this has allowed the car marque to place bigger bets on things that it believes will pay off as the agency and brand are more embedded in the other’s success.
“We’ve been able to consolidate around the world so we’ve been able to reduce that cost base and have a great deal of transparency. That has brought a level of alignment and consistency so we end up doing thing theoretically fewer bigger better,” he said.
“Spark44 sits in meetings in our organisation that you wouldn’t expect to see an agency in and vice versa. That has reduced a lot of barriers to the way we work.”
It’s also overhauled its own internal structure to and moved from having separate Jaguar and Land Rover communications teams to a model that focuses on paid and owned. Armstrong leads its paid ads strategy while his colleague Dominc Chambers managed the team that produces its own content.
“It forces integration,” Armstrong said.
But launching something as complex as Spark44 isn’t possible for the majority of agencies, the principles of better integrating and collaborating with adland partners stands.
Marks and Spencer’s said brands should stop thinking of agencies as a separate entity and instead embed them as much as you can into brand teams.
“We make a point of having our agencies with us in the office as much as possible,” Nathan Ansell, global director of loyalty, customer Insight and Analytics, M&S.
Break the short-term addiction
Measurement was the main topic of the two day conference and what emerged was that the rise of digital is breeding a new kind of marketer that puts too much focus on short-term solutions to bigger business challenges.
As Unilever global director of creative excellence, Dan Izbicki put it: “We’re increasingly becoming short-termist, which is driven by our own behaviours, measurement systems and even our awards.
“We’ve become addicted to short-term measures. Shares and likes are very exciting and it’s great when you launch a new campaign to see all that stuff. It’s not to say that it’s not relevant, but there’s lots of evidence to show it doesn’t have much correlation to a brand’s success in the long term," Izbicki explained.
Jaguar Land Rover seemed to agree with the sentiment when Armstrong admitted that it is probably tracking too many measures. Although he didn’t go into detail about which metrics it works against, he does believe the brand would benefit from distilling them down.
Meanwhile, O2 is trying to tackle the issue through a dedicated ‘marketing effectiveness team’. It’s comprised of 80 people from across its customer, brand and commercial divisions and aims to measure effectiveness in real time.
Take the Moneyball approach to media spend
Of course, the influence of data was never far from the conversation during the conference. Pepsico’s Tim Warner, vice president of insights and analytics and its global executive innovation practice suggested, businesses are “just skimming the surface” in terms of how they are exploiting it.
“It’s not the panacea but it has a role, it can inform and focus creativity, it can optimise, it can do a bunch of things,” he said. “but it has to come from the top of the organisation. There are some people are deeply distrust data and see it as a barrier to instinct and creativity but there are others who think it can be an enabler.”
Pepsico, like many other brands, is being asked to demonstrate how it can get more out of a reduced marketing spend. Warner's approach was likened to that of Billy Beane the famed general manager of the Oakland A's baseball team who was the first to really apply data and analytics to the game strategy. A film, Moneyball, was released in 2011 about his success.
“We’ve almost taken a Moneyball approach to our media spend,” said Warner. “We spend billions globally, if you were a trader you wouldn’t be making some of the decisions big advertisers historically make, you’d be much more thoughtful of the analytics. So we are trying to do that in a way.
“We have a 70/20/10 approach, which means how we take the core spend on media and drive effectiveness from that so that we can to unlock 20-30% of money that can be much more experimental. We are going to get from the 70% what we got from the 100% because we are doing it in a much more measured way.”