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Clare Hill is the Managing Director of the Content Marketing Association. The organisation has just released its report: Measuring Effectiveness. Clare argues for a greater focus on developing the marketers measurement toolbox.

Key findings from our report suggest that as an industry, we haven’t got this measurement thing wrapped up yet – there’s still work to do.

It seems apt that this finding should come at a time when initiatives like Effectiveness Week are launching. I suspect that one of the hottest topics at the conference at Bafta this November will be measurement. The CMA is platform and sector agnostic so the opinions of our members reflect wider trends in marketing. And what they are telling us is that both the industry and clients need to focus more attention on getting measurement right.

CMA_EffWeek_Infographic

Every single person who responded to our survey agreed that measurement is essential in content marketing strategy. But, only half of them believe that it is possible to accurately measure content marketing ROI.

So what are the barriers? Why is it so hard? Well, a lot of people were frustrated that they couldn’t access the right data. But there was also a telling reaction against the dominant quantitative and immediate metrics of the last decade. Almost everyone agreed that content marketing effectiveness metrics can gauge long-term brand health measures, such as favourability or likeability, trust, consideration and propensity to buy.

“Over 70% of our respondents believed that emotional engagement should be a key part of reporting”

In general I believe the digital measurement revolution has been a very good thing for marketing. It has enabled brands and agencies to be more bullish when demonstrating the impact on consumer behaviour of the content they produce. But it has also arguably resulted in the neglect of metrics that have stood marketers in good stead for years. Or it has addicted us, and our clients, to short term outcomes and immediacy in our assessments.

And then there’s emotion. Over 70% of our respondents believed that emotional engagement should be a key part of reporting and there is certainly a time coming fast when emotion-metrics will be more accurately measured. In his thought piece for our report Mark Thompson, Account Director at ITN suggests that we will soon be measuring the impact of our content by capturing people’s ‘galvanic skin response’ or appraising the very beats of their heart. New technologies from neuro-behavioural science make this future genuinely foreseeable.

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But right now it’s not clear how to do that. And once those technologies are at our fingertips we will once again be faced with the challenge of integrating those new metrics with older ones and ensuring we are making the right decisions based on the evidence they give us.

“Both the industry and clients need to focus more attention on getting measurement right”

I am optimistic that the industry will rise to this challenge. Our report shows that marketeers clearly understand the challenges that face them and events like Effectiveness Week demonstrate our determination to tackle them.

Effectiveness Week was an event 31 October – 04 November 2016, which brought together senior marketers and decision-makers from both agencies and clients. The week tackled some of the big questions around making marketing more accountable and enabling the discipline to deliver value to the business through foresight and evidence-based decision-making. You can browse the learnings and key content from the week here.

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“Just what the industry needs, great collaboration between clients and agencies on the topics that drive business growth.”

Bridget Angear, Joint Chief Strategy Officer at AMV BBDO

“It’s great to see the IPA in the UK bring the whole industry and particularly the trade bodies together to focus on effectiveness. This new Marketing Effectiveness initiative will enable people across the industry to work together to build on best practice.”

David Wheldon, Chief Marketing Officer, RBS

“Effectiveness is a team sport, so it was great to see the industry in the widest sense, come together. In an increasingly diverse and fragmented world, only by using all parts of the brain will we solve effectiveness challenges and design our campaigns to deliver short and long term value. That’s why what happens next is important – if the IPA can help facilitate progress on this with a long-term initiative around Marketing Effectiveness, we’ll definitely crack it.”

Bart Michels, Global CEO Kantar Added Value and Country Leader Kantar UK

“The time spent at #EffWeek was extraordinarily effective. It was great to hear the diverse views from all areas of the industry. All tied together with the common themes of accountability and effectiveness.”

Andrew Canter, Global CEO, BCMA

“It has been a privilege to be part of the inaugural Effectiveness Week. The agenda is one which we at O2 UK feel passionately about. To see and hear perspectives across the industry demonstrates how the breadth of marketing effectiveness is increasingly being valued within businesses. Data, insight, social, customer experience, test and learn, ROI, these are all fundamentals and were covered expansively at the event”.

Sandra Fazackerley, Marketing & Consumer, Telefónica UK Limited

“The full week of effectiveness events brought into clear focus the need for marketers to use data and insight to achieve the key business objectives of growth and profits. Marketers today are in a better position to quantify their knowledge of customers and measure the ability of investments in marketing to increase brand and shareholder value.”

Chris Combemale, Group CEO, DMA