April 2, 2019

Are you prioritising short-term impact over long-term effectiveness?

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Research shows the majority of businesses are focusing on short-term tactics over long-term strategy, which is impacting the effectiveness of their marketing.

According to a survey of the marketing industry by the IPA and ISBA, 75% of marketers agree that short-term tactical needs often take priority over longer-term objectives. Some 58% of marketers also agree that marketing direction regularly changes to meet the demands of the marketplace.

Just 14% of marketers “strongly agree” that marketing objectives focus on the long-term (the next one-to-three years), yet 59% “strongly agree” they have a short-term (one-to-six months) plan in place.

This is mirrored in finance professionals’ experience of marketing. None of those questioned “strongly agree” that the marketing objectives they sign off are long-term, while 50% say they sign off short-term plans. Some 20% “strongly disagree” that marketing plans are long-term in view.

Meanwhile, while 76% of marketers place “great importance” on being able to demonstrate ROI, 70% say that focus is on reviewing and reporting individual campaign/activity/channel effectiveness and 68% believe their measurement approach is fragmented. A further 67% describe their approach to data analysis as “ad-hoc”.

A focus on short-term tactics rather than long-term strategy has been shown to have an impact on marketing effectiveness. According to the report ‘The long and the short of it’ by Les Binet and Peter Field, on average marketers should invest 60% of their budgets in long-term brand building and 40% in short-term sales activation to achieve the best return on marketing investment (ROMI).

(See Reasons why a strong brand is important for more information)

Short-termism in the marketing industry is one of the areas that needs improving if marketing effectiveness is to increase. Currently, marketers rate their effectiveness at six out of 10 (where one is poor and 10 is excellent), but the majority of those questioned are looking to improve this over the next two years.

Some 61% want to increase this score by two points, with 75% expecting to score themselves eight or above and a third wanting to score themselves nine or 10.

To achieve this, marketing is increasingly looking to work across the business rather than seeing effectiveness as the remit of marketing alone. A quarter of marketers say insights and analytics professionals should be responsible, while 22% believe it is a “shared responsibility” to improve ROI.

Yet just 40% of marketers agree their company is prioritising having the right mix of resources to support marketing effectiveness. Senior management commitment, the need to eradicate silos, and the establishment of a test and learn mentality were common challenges highlighted by the research.

The depth, detail and variety of responses highlight the complexity of the challenges facing marketers as they strive to improve the effectiveness of their marketing activity.

What challenges are you facing with improving the effectiveness of your marketing? Get in touch with James to see how we could help.