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Jonathan Harman is Managing Director at Royal Mail MarketReach. He is positive about the future of marketing effectiveness, arguing that our industry is one with a great legacy in measurement behind it. We talked to him in advance of his appearance at EffWeek 2017 on the measurement think-tank.

Our industry has a legacy of measurement. Think back to the eighties, when people like Les Binet and the big agencies were measuring TV campaigns to within an inch of their lives.

“We must constantly remind ourselves, both in agencies and client-side of the value of measuring effectiveness.”

So it isn’t a new thing. For me, growing up as a direct marketer in the early nineties, it’s very familiar to measure whether different customers behave differently in different circumstances. To think about what to test and how to optimise that. It’s simply a mindset and there’s lots of digital marketers today who believe and practice the same thing.

I don’t think it’s as complex a skill as some people think. But we must constantly remind ourselves, both in agencies and client-side of the value of measuring effectiveness. We must not be tempted to take those costs out of our budget, even when we are under pressure.

Marketing effectiveness at scale in an organisation has to be a cultural thing. It’s not just about communications, it’s about every touchpoint that the customer has.

A lot of those considerations won’t be marketing issues so, for clients, it really does take a organisation-wide desire to measure and then optimise. And that is ideally led from the top. Marketing, acting as the voice of the customer, should be the driver of that. That means being more than just communications, more than just a cost to the business.

There are very few organisations where people don’t want to know what works. But there is a pressure to measure short term metrics.

“It takes courage and a cultural inquisitiveness about measurement to really crack effective marketing.”

That’s understandable. It’s hard to make a decision that won’t lead to immediate profit. It’s difficult to take a longer term point of view especially in an uncertain world. Your model is telling you that if everything else stays as it is, “we predict with X degrees confidence that we will get X back from X investment over X time period.” But of course the only certainty you really have is that you’re going to invest more now. That’s sometimes a difficult thing, particularly for the finance community to get on board with, and particularly at times when they are reviewing budgets.

So it always has to be a mix of the short-term more quantifiable measures and the less certain long-term ones. At that point measurement and the effectiveness agenda, become as much an art as a science.

We’ve been working with the IPA, ISBA and Whistl to create a new industry standard measurement for mail – the precursor to a Joint Industry Committee. To lay the groundwork for this Kantar TNS carried out some research into the reach of mail pieces.

infographic of key results from TNS study into mail effectiveness - the science of marketing
But our commitment to the effectiveness agenda is not just about mail. We recognise that no media works in isolation. We want our customers to get the most out of their investment in mail, but to do that, their whole marketing mix needs to be working. We’ve worked with Peter Field who looked at the he IPA Databank and found that campaigns that include mail achieve a 12% higher ROI than campaigns without. Mail is the original one-to-one channel and it has a new relevance as a physical, customisable channel in a world where digital media have created a greater focus on the one-to-one.

It takes courage and a cultural inquisitiveness about measurement to really crack effective marketing. But organisations that do it right are backing their long-term decisions up with real data and insights.

Jonathan will be speaking at EffWeek 2017 in an interactive thinktank on measurement which will present and discuss with the audience the results of a new green paper on measurement strategy. To be part of the debate and to influence where the research goes next book tickets for the flagship EffWeek conference on 10 October 2017

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Effectiveness Week 2016

“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