How marketers can find the perfect blend of efficiency and effectiveness

As Procter & Gamble goes back to basics to kick-start revenue growth, Campaign asks four leading marketers how best to achieve the winning combination of efficiency and effectiveness.

When Procter & Gamble’s president and chief executive, David Taylor, announced in the summer that his company would be increasing its advertising budgets for the forthcoming year, it seemed that P&G was relearning one of its own fundamental beliefs: sales are fuelled by shrewd and sufficient marketing investment.

Unveiling financial results for the year to the end of June that revealed an 8% slump in sales to $65.3bn, Taylor admitted cuts to P&G’s adspend had dented market-share growth. Des-pite a huge 49% increase in profits to $10.5bn, he did not shy away from the sales wobble, acknowledging that it was particularly no-ticeable where investment in sampling and the promotion of new products had been reduced.

"In a small business you are not deploying capital, so how do you create opportunities?"

So P&G aims to kick-start revenue growth by "making consumers aware of its products and communicating their benefits". Doing this means revisiting some marketing -basics. Taylor said: "Reach and frequency is needed, along with the right message. We’ve adjusted our communications to TV, digital and any way appropriate to reach consumers that can make a big difference."

The company needs to get back to focusing its marketing efforts on point of entry and point of market change, Taylor added. "That was down in many categories, which was showing up in lower shares with entry-point consumers. That does not bode well. The right way to build the company is to bring consumers into the category when they first have a need," he said.

It’s almost shocking to hear the head of the mighty marketing machine that is P&G hint that it took its eye off some of the basics of -marketing effectiveness. In the rush for cost-cutting, did the company lose sight of its own marketing principles? That 49% boost in profits has perhaps come at too high a price. 

Mind you, while P&G’s chief financial officer, Jon Moeller, echoed Taylor’s promise to focus on "maximising category growth", he admitted that the company would still be chasing efficiency savings – from its agency and advertising costs – and will "sharpen its focus" on budget deployment. "We are not looking for cuts, but to shape spend to increase efficiency and -effectiveness," he said.

And there it is exactly, the core tenet of marketing: the harmonious union of efficiency and effectiveness. Scratch any good marketer and they will bleed a potent blend of those two -ambitions. Certainly, neither one is worth much for very long without the other. But how are marketers achieving this mix at the moment? What are the enduring principles that, for them, guide the pursuit of effectiveness? And what  are the strategies and techniques that they -believe will underpin effectiveness over the next few years? 

Bonin Bough

Former chief media and ecommerce officer, Mondelez 

What is your ultimate measure of marketing effectiveness?

The ultimate measure is the growth of the business. 

Is creativity still the biggest driver of marketing success? In the drive to build efficiency are we at risk of learning the reach of any given piece of communication and the value of nothing?

Reach matters. They both matter. But here’s the problem: the conversation we’re having now is one driven by organisational structures. Just look at the guy we dropped out of the sky, with no parachute on. (In July, Mondelez’s Stride Gum brand sponsored skydiver Luke Aikins to jump 25,000 feet from a plane without a parachute or wingsuit. Aikins completed the stunt, aired live in the US on Fox.) Not only did we televise him, but there were social elements of virality and creative genius.

All those things must work together, it’s not one or the other. 

I don’t think that [the focus on] reach is creating a situation where it will challenge creativity. The challenge we have is that things have not operated together. It has been so disintermediated, where creative does creative and then that’s handed off to media. This is not the way you create success. That’s the challenge – media is not at the creative table. 

You worked at Mondelez and PepsiCo and now you are working with small businesses. Are the drivers of marketing effectiveness consistent? 

They are vastly different. In big business, you’re deploying a tonne of capital on a continual basis. And the key is really how to deploy it most efficiently to garner the greatest reach. In a small business you are not deploying capital, so how do you create opportunities and experiences, how do you use channels that are less costly, and how do you make sure they have greatest virality of reach? A lot of it is customer experience. Your marketing is when someone comes through the door – you make sure they have the best experience possible and share it. It’s really about being on the ground, understanding how you use a retail environment. It’s more a hand-to-hand combat thing.

What do you believe will be the key drivers of effectiveness in marketing in the future? 

It will still be relationship development. The reason you’re asking this question is because reach is being challenged, because many channels don’t provide the same reach that they used to. So the driver, or metric, of effectiveness will continue to be reach – can I reach a large percentage of the population, be it through viral or sharing? The other piece is: have I built relationships, and can I manage those relationships with consumers? 

 Brad Davis

Executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, Opus Bank

What is your ultimate measure of marketing effectiveness? 

It can be summarised as A+D+S:

Awareness among our target market.

Distinction: does our market know how we are different from the competitor down the street and unique?

Salience: does the dimension that makes us unique matter to our target audience?

And, obviously, there is bottom-line growth and profitability. We were founded at the end of the financial crisis (2010), and since then have become one of the fastest-growing banks in the western region of the US. In terms of assets, of the 5,500-plus banks across the nation, we are now among the top 200. 

Is creativity still the biggest driver of marketing success?

I would say it’s employee engagement, which is the ultimate force multiplier in the market. Everyone is part of the marketing team, and genuine value creation is everyone’s job. Do our teams understand our purpose – why we exist, and how we make the world a better place for our clients by relieving pain, which represents an impediment to their achieving their goals and vision for their company? If so, every touchpoint becomes a powerful marketing tool.

How do you drive marketing effectiveness at Opus Bank?

This is what we believe: stop selling your products and services, and start engaging your communities on matters that are important to them. We are a commercial bank, so our audience is concerned with business growth and expansion, and with the political and economic environment that enables this growth. 

Our social channels provide counsel on growth. Our bankers are trained to understand our clients’ vision for the growth of their companies – and to bring not only the  capital, but also the counsel required to achieve it. All of our communications reflect this commitment. We engage more than 150,000 influential decision-makers a year, in person, to advance economic, political and business topics that are important to our target market. 

What will be the key drivers of effectiveness in your future marketing?

Communicating genuine value to our clients and prospects. Value has little to do with what you pay. Value creation is driven by what you get – quality, quantity and an experience – relative to what you pay, which includes not only money, but also time and emotion. When you capitalise on the time and emotion components of value creation, it initiates a powerful force multiplier in the market. 

Also, simultaneously, employee engagement. Our team members have to know what behaviours drive value creation, and what pain their actions relieve, which sets them apart from every other competitor in the market. 

Ben Rhodes

Director of customer marketing, Royal Mail 

What is your ultimate measure of marketing effectiveness?

At its heart, marketing effectiveness is about generating incremental revenue profitably. Depending on which business we are looking at, in Royal Mail this may be gauged through a series of measures, including deal or sales value growth, gain in market share, new customers acquired and an increase in customer retention rates, as well as increases in multi-product usage rates.

All of this is driven by encouraging changes in consumer behaviour.  

Is creativity still the biggest driver of marketing success?

Creativity is a huge driver of marketing success – it engenders impact and memorability among consumers. This refreshes branding, and when done well, increases a brand’s salience. Increased brand salience leads to brand growth. 

But there are other equally important drivers. Media placement is vital. To have marketing success, brands need to invest in reaching all their target audience across multiple touchpoints. For example, we have found that direct mail can multiply the effectiveness of a marketing campaign significantly. 

Finally, distribution is a vital ingredient of marketing success. Making sure your brand is available across as many channels as possible is a key part of any effective marketing strategy. We are constantly expanding our sales channels and making our services more available to our customers. 

All three of these criteria need to work in harmony. If any one is missing, growth will be restricted. 

How do you drive marketing effectiveness at Royal Mail?

There are several parts to this at Royal Mail. Managing costs, as well as ensuring that we get the best value from our agency partners, is a key approach that we have adopted. Recently, this has involved focusing our  supplier base to achieve better value, expertise and unit costs across our campaigns. It has also included auditing media activity closely and continuously improving how we plan, buy, measure, learn and act on campaign activity. Having great agency partners is a vital ingredient in improving marketing effectiveness. 

We are simplifying the campaign process to ensure that teams and agencies work in one consistent way across a uniform campaign development process. This helps to enhance the quality of work as well as drive consistent measurement and reporting. 

We are also developing a marketing academy to ensure that all our people have the training and tools in place to do a brilliant job. 

What will be the key drivers of effectiveness in your future marketing?

Ultimately, the success of our marketing will be down to our people and their decision-making abilities. Ensuring that we have the best people, with the best capabilities, who are  empowered to nurture our brands, whether they are at our agencies or in-house, will be the biggest determinant of our marketing effectiveness.

Ash Tailor 

Global brand and marketing director, Britvic

What is your ultimate measure of marketing effectiveness?

No one single measure or metric can evaluate it. I look at marketing effectiveness through three different lenses. The first is the business-goal lens, ensuring that I see growth through revenue and profit. The second is the marketing lens, looking at consumer behaviour through penetration, average weight of purchase or frequency.  And lastly through a communications lens, looking at how effective my campaigns are in driving the right conversations, engagement or reach. 

Brands must take a broad view – if they fail to look through these different lenses, they will never get a true picture of marketing effectiveness.

Is creativity still the biggest driver of marketing success?

A campaign can be incredibly creative and original, but if it doesn’t hit the bottom line or have an impact on consumer behaviour, then it’s not a success. In a world with so much noise, it’s more important than ever to achieve cut-through with consumers in an engaging way, but, sadly, it doesn’t always guarantee success. Creativity is a core component, but can’t be a sole driver for marketing success.

How do you drive marketing effectiveness at Britvic?

I look at marketing effectiveness through accountability, behaviour and culture. Accountability is key – knowing what we are doing, why we are doing it and the results we expect to gain. Behaviours comes through leadership and coaching. For example, Britvic’s internal marketing university is open to the entire business and overseen by our own marketing leaders, not external consultants. We have developed the "Britvic way of marketing" and we build it into the way we work every day, right through our internal training courses. And lastly, culture. At Britvic there’s a strong culture around creativity and effectiveness, as well as courage. We recognise and celebrate great creativity and marketing effectiveness through internal awards and showcasing.

What will be the key drivers of effectiveness in your future marketing?

Continuing the path of marketing effectiveness through accountability, demonstrating the right behaviours and ensuring the right culture, is critical. These have been, and will continue to be, the key drivers for marketing effectiveness. I’m also passionate about our role as clients working in partnership with our agencies. Having a great relationship where there’s mutual respect and trust and people aren’t afraid to challenge ideas is key to driving marketing effectiveness. I’m proud of how that’s working within Britvic and the team culture we are creating with our agencies. It has led to some exciting work over recent months and there’s more to come.