NEWS18 June 2010

COI ponders payment by results

Government UK

UK— Market research companies employed by the the Central Office of Information could soon be subject to a system of payment by results.

The government’s marketing communications arm is looking at introducing a payment-by-results system across its agencies, and a spokeswoman said research agencies will be invited to contribute to the consultation. No further details are being released at present.

It is easy to understand how government advertisers could fit in to such a system – they will be paid by the success of their campaigns in changing people’s behaviour, whether that be smoking less, eating more healthily or looking before crossing the road.

But if research agencies, of which the COI has a framework of 108, are going to be clubbed together with advertisers and marketers, it is less clear how the success of their work would be measured or how responsibility might be shared between media, creative and research agencies working on the same campaign.

On the other hand the introduction of such a system could provide a steady stream of work for research agencies to measure the success of advertising and marketing campaigns.

The idea was first mooted earlier this year by George Osborne, then shadow chancellor, who said in a Guardian article that under a Conservative government any public bodies carrying out marketing campaigns would be required to state how they intend to change behaviour and that some of an ad agency’s fee would be linked to the outcome.

The COI spent more than half a billion pounds in 2008-09, with research accounting for £29.4m. The Conservatives have long argued for a reduction in its budget, and with cuts at the top of the coalition government’s agenda the COI will be under severe pressure to justify its spending.



14 years ago

Clearly the mark of a nervous COI. They need to justify their existence, to all of us. More often than not they are a 'go-between' who are not required in the research process.

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14 years ago

I have never worked for the COI but good client side researchers are essential to producing quality actionable market research and I am sure the COI researchers are more than worth their cost. However I would love to be a fly on the wall as they work out how they might devise a system of paying research agencies by results. If the aim of the new govement is to pay ad agencies by results then this could lead to much larger expenditure on market research to evaluate the campaigns. Intersting times ahead!

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