Marketers Think They’re Marrying Short- and Long-Term Goals, but Measurement Is Out of Whack

October 17, 2018

Some three-quarters of advertisers, agencies and media companies are confident that their organization has achieved the optimal media mix, representing an uptick in confidence from last year, according to Kantar Millward Brown’s 5th Annual Getting Media Right study [download page]. But there’s one mix that some are a bit less confident about: the balance between brand building and performance marketing.

It’s true that close to three-quarters of media/publishers (73%) and agencies (74%) feel confident that they’ve achieved such balance between long- and short-term goals. But advertisers are far more skeptical: just 52% are confident that they’ve struck the right balance.

Part of the problem seems to be with ROI measurement and proof, which continues to be the biggest strategic challenge facing the marketing community. Currently, 56% of respondents monitor and measure ROI for most or all activities, leaving close to half unable to do so.

And ROI measurement isn’t aligning with expectations. Fully 85% of respondents believe that the most important measure of ROI is a mix of both short-term sales and long-term brand. However, just 52% are using such an approach to ROI measurement.

Instead, respondents display an over-reliance on short-term sales relative to the importance they plan on them. While just 8% feel that the most important measure of ROI is mostly short-term sales, five times more (40%) use that as their primary approach to measurement.

That may be a reflection of greater ease in tracking ROI over the short term. Traditionally, marketers have been more confident in quantitatively proving the short-term impact of their marketing spending than the long-term impact, according to the biennial CMO Survey.

Research tools are also lacking, per the Kantar Millward Brown research. Compared to current usage, many respondents point to gaps in availability and quality of solutions in areas such as multi-touch attribution, conversion ROI, and marketing mix modeling. Research from Nielsen likewise finds low usage of marketing mix models, even among large B2C brands, leading to troubles optimizing marketing budgets.

Lack of Consistency in Measurement Continues

Another problem is that different channels are using different metrics, making consistency a challenge. In fact, almost 8 in 10 agree that it’s tough to assess how well brands perform across channels.

Linear TV, for example, is measured far more frequently via reach and frequency metrics than by ROI or sales metrics. Online ads, as well as mobile ads and apps, for their part, are as likely to be measured by ROI or sales as by reach and frequency.

Younger Marketers Are More Skeptical

Various results from the survey indicate that Millennial marketers either have less confidence than their older counterparts or are more demanding than them. The optimistic viewpoint would suggest that they’re more demanding, which will lead to better solutions over time.

In any case, almost half (48%) of Gen Y respondents (born 1980-1994) lack confidence that their organization has the right balance between brand building and performance marketing. That’s more than twice the share of Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) who lack such confidence.

Moreover, one-quarter of Gen Y respondents believe that their media strategy is not integrated into their overall brand strategy, about twice the proportion of Baby Boomers respondents (13%).

And Gen Y respondents are more likely than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers to perceive gaps in research in all channels, including cross-device, in-app, online and traditional.

Finally, 40% of Gen Y respondents aren’t confident their organization has the right balance between digital and offline media (versus 29% of Baby Boomers), and 29% lack confidence their organization has the optimal media mix (versus 14% of Baby Boomers).

Hopefully having recognized these problems, they’ll also be ready to come up with some solutions…

About the Data: The results are based on a global survey of 468 senior marketing leaders at advertisers (166), agencies (216) and media companies (86). About one-third (155) belong to Gen Y.

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