NEWS3 June 2011

Metrics ‘not doing justice to participation-led campaigns’

News UK

UK — A lack of appropriate metrics may be letting down marketing campaigns based on consumer participation, according to a report from advertising body IPA.

The report on “new models of marketing effectiveness” encourages companies to embrace a more flexible approach to “orchestrating” their marketing campaigns around participation or abstract brand ideas, rather than around a particular creative execution.

Data is key to making the most of this, the report says, because “understanding how the different elements of the campaign fit together requires harnessing all the data that exists around the organisation”.

But it goes on to say there has been “stunningly little increase” in participation-led campaigns despite the buzz around conversational marketing and social media. Such campaigns tend to underperform on hard business metrics like sales and customer acquisition, while doing better on softer ones, which makes them difficult to measure and — particularly in a tough economic climate — a hard sell for advertisers.

The report questions whether current marketing metrics are appropriate for participation-led campaigns at all.

“We suspect that these campaigns are a curious, and newly emerging, hybrid between two potential communications disciplines: advertising and direct marketing,” the report says. “For this reason, metrics used to measure this type of activity have on the whole not kept pace with the emerging model. They tend to fall short on typical measures on which advertising performs well, such as brand tracking and econometric modelling; however, the link has not yet been made through to sales, so that traditional direct marketing measures, such as customer lifetime value, are often impossible to apply. It may be for this reason that they are not currently demonstrating effects in more traditional ways – but may prove to be in the future.”

The IPA’s report is based on an analysis of 250 case studies from its Effectiveness Awards from 2004-2010, and will be published on 20 June. It has been written by Kate Cox of MPG Media Contacts, John Crowther of Publicis, Tracy Hubbard of I to I Research and Denise Turner of MPG Media Contacts.