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Would your business benefit from an extra CEO?

by James Davis

November 23, 2022

Ian Gibbs (director of insight at the DMA) offers five reasons why a 'chief effectiveness officer' can help businesses to conquer the marketing measurement gap.

With an increasing number of data insights and performance metrics, there is a growing need to better integrate measurement, effectiveness, and business performance. This is why many advertising and marketing professionals will acknowledge the need for a specialist leader in effectiveness. So, could a 'chief effectiveness officer' help your business overcome its marketing measurement gap?

Speak the language of the boardroom

Measuring marketing effectiveness has never been simple. It has always been, in part, a process of grappling with different measurement methodologies and doing your best to create as coherent a picture of what has and hasn’t worked with the available pieces of the jigsaw. It’s how well we’re able to tell this story and use language (and measures) the board room can truly understand that is the key challenge the industry must overcome.

For example, according to analysis from the DMA’s Intelligent Marketing Databank, 41% of the metrics used to measure campaign effectiveness are campaign delivery and digital vanity metrics. Meaning that marketers are all-to-often falling at the first hurdle by not even using measures that truly represent the business, brand or response effects of their campaign. That’s even before trying to explain these impacts in a way the C-suite can relate to.

Finding the right measures

Another challenge for many marketers trying to measure their effectiveness is that people keep throwing more pieces of the jigsaw into the box for you to fit in, as you attempt to complete the picture. Multi-channel media consumption, the death of third-party cookies, data silos, and walled gardens – each present a unique set of challenges to the contemporary measurement practitioner.

Multi-channel marketing can also create a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it enables advertisers to take advantage of significant effectiveness multiplier effects, yet on the other, it creates a world of increased complexity with each channel battling to prove attributable and incremental effects.

The fact that the measurement of marketing effectiveness is an increasingly complex task can often be a dispiriting situation for the average marketer. However, the simplicity of what practitioners are trying to quantify remains the same: Clear incremental effects attributed to marketing activity.

How a new CEO can help

The DMA’s Intelligent Marketing Databank provides a unique perspective on the challenges of sub-standard campaign measurement, and its overall impact on marketing effectiveness. The recently released Mind the Measurement Gap whitepaper (in partnership with JICMAIL) provides unique insights and views from industry professionals on many of the challenges we face today.

While some may be able to appoint a new CEO (chief effectiveness officer), many organizations will not.

For those organizations who can appoint one, or even those able to internally expand someone’s remit into effectiveness, there are five key areas that they should seek to address across the business:

1. Focus on the business

A CEO will always have an eye on business objectives. Creating a universal language and measures that are understood and relevant to the business’ performance. It can be described as communicating in the language of the boardroom.

2. Planning

Plan your campaign measurement upfront and make it link back to business objectives as much as possible. Every time you create a campaign plan, put a measurement framework in place. Every time you put a measurement framework in place, put a test and learn framework in place. Remember, less is more, as too many campaign metrics creates an incredibly complicated measurement landscape.

3. Strip away all jargon

The CEO must remove technical jargon that is not relevant to the wider business, especially when communicating effectiveness to other departments. Businesses must not allow the marketing industry to drive them into silos about what does and doesn’t work when it comes to driving business performance.

4. No silver bullets

A CEO should not be afraid to have multiple measurement methodologies in play and work out how to make them sync together. There is no magic measurement silver bullet, and they won’t always sync together perfectly, but having one team/person across all these elements will help there be a better chance of doing so than a more fragmented approach. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good.

5. Joined-up thinking

Channels, campaigns, objectives, and metrics shouldn’t sit in silos. Siloed thinking incentivises counter-productive business behaviour. Marketing automation might help here, but business leaders need to take responsibility for breaking down these silos through a shared vision of marketing effectiveness.

This advice highlights how, whether your effectiveness knight in shining armor arrives to save the day or not, there is plenty you can start to do that will showcase the value of marketing within the business.

While larger organizations may want to hire someone specifically for this role, it is an extensive yet rewarding task to undertake, smaller organisations may want to expand a particular person’s remit so they are tasked with implementing these five solutions.

Not only will this help the wider business to truly understand the effectiveness of its marketing campaigns, but will also prove the value of marketing to the CEO (chief executive officer) that is already in place.


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