“Accountability” leads to easily measured targets

Posted on: June 18, 2007

The debate over ROI and accountability has taken an interesting turn in the Advertising column in this week’s Media Guardian. The advertising grandee Simon Marquis reviewed a new analysis of advertising effectiveness, Marketing in the Era of Accountability, written by Les Binet and Peter Field, and published by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.
The focus is wholly on marketing and advertising but has interesting messages for those involved in PR and related marcoms activities. Most notably, it is about how ROI and accountability have not necessarily improved advertising effectiveness.
Marquis says: “The obsession with accountability has, the IPA says, actually prompted marketers to pick on single things that can be easily measured. In truth, effectiveness is not predicted by any one metric but by a whole range of them. As we have long suspected, success in advertising ain’t that simple.
And that is the case with PR and marcoms, too. The search for the ‘silver bullet’ of a simple, single metric or a financially-based construct called ROI doesn’t give the answer to effectiveness in below-the-line communications either.
Marquis continues: “A proper focus on profit-generation makes the report authors a bit sniffy about the fashion for ROI (return on investment) in marketing. I’m not convinced the two are incompatible. Indeed, Antony Young, president of Optimedia in the USA, concludes in his new book, Profitable Marketing Communications, by saying: ‘Marketing ROI is not just an alternative term for effectiveness, impact or results. Nor is it a magic equation or formula. It is an attitude about creating profit.’”
To paraphrase Simon Marquis, “success in PR ain’t that simple”. This column recall the CIPR’s 2005 paper that said evaluation and measurement are complex matters in all organisations that aren’t solved by simple, simplistic metrics. Too true!,,2105117,00.html


2 Responses to "“Accountability” leads to easily measured targets"

Tom – this points out the folly of wholesale reliance on AVE, and continues to advance the discussion of how best to determine communication effectiveness. The Holy Grail of Measurement is yet to be found, and may not, ever.

Sean – you’re right. It also points to the need to measure with more than one metric, so you can 360 an issue or campaign. So no Holy Grail.

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