There's an abundance of evidence out there that suggests that the most effective campaigns and approaches to marketing include a balance between short term sales activations and long-term brand building.
In a study by the Financial Times and IPA, despite being responsible for setting marketing objectives across both the short- and long-term, one-third of marketers and more than half of business leaders are not confident in their brand-building knowledge and rate it as average to very poor.
Industry data tells us there has been a shift in marketing investment from long-term activity to short-term activity. “It's about an appraisal, for any given category or product,” says David Buttle, global marketing director, FT. “What is the appropriate mix of long- and short-term activity? And delivering investments around that.
“What we want to do is recognise those marketers who have successfully unlocked investment to build brands and seeing the commercial return in doing so. By recognising that and starting the conversation around that work, hopefully, we can inspire and encourage other people in the industry to follow suit.”
One of the key findings of the study is that the confidence in the ability of businesses to build brands isn't there.
“Why is that?” asks Buttle. “There's a skills component. Are these marketing skills being lost because people aren't practising them? Is this an art which is under threat? There is definitely some causation there. You have to look back at the forces driving this short termism in the first place.”
The study examines some of the causes from an organisation point of view, such as chief marketing officer tenure, which is at an all-time low.
“There's always going to be a temptation to invest in the activity which will deliver a return to you rather than investing in activity which delivers a return to your successor. There is also a lack of brand metrics that can be credibly communicated at board levels in the organisation, which is a barrier to unlocking that investment.”
He suggests that marketers and business leaders need to work out what metrics relate brand health to commercial performance for individual organisations. He adds: “Then have discussions to shine a light on that to the senior leadership of your organisation. If you do that and build familiarity, then confidence and skills will flow from that.”
“We believe in the power of advertising to deliver a commercial return to businesses, as well as the power of brands and brand-building. An appropriate balance of short and long-term activity delivers the best commercial return and by working with the IPA and other partners, we can build up an evidence base around that.”
The Financial Times are a sponsor of The Drum Advertising Awards 2019, the deadline for entries is August 28.