That wasn’t the actual headline from the launch of Newsworks’ new Planning for Profit report, but it might as well have been.
Absolute madness of course, for as Newsworks’ Denise Turner put it, with just a little help from Jane Austen, "it is a truth universally acknowledged that a brand investing money in advertising must be in want of a return..
There’s a lot to like about Planning for Profit. Produced in conjunction with Benchmarketing, it is impressive in the depth of its analysis whilst also delivering clear findings and obvious implications for media planners and brand managers.
The study identifies the optimal levels of spend in print and digital newsbrands for advertisers to maximise campaign profit.
But beyond that there are some lovely touches in Benchmarketing’s methodology and Newsworks’ use of the results that make it highly relevant and practically useful.
Like the creation of five super-categories such as ‘Everyday pickups’ and ‘Shiny new things’, which go beyond traditional category definitions to focus more on consumer need states, allowing the researchers to collect findings across 86% of all categories, covering more than 90% of advertised brands.
Benchmarketing has also come up with a natty way of calculating adspend using a combination of Nielsen data for offline media spend and SMI data for digital media spend to give a more accurate view of the total media landscape.
And there’s the decision to focus on profit return on investment rather than revenue return, along with Newsworks’ creation of a handy PROI optimiser tool, so planners can check the optimal level of investment into print and digital newsbrands, not only by individual category but also at different budget levels.
So, £3bn of potential profit that advertisers are missing out on because they’re collectively focusing on short-term sales rather than longer term profit drivers. Sheer madness.
This report should be a huge wake-up call to our entire industry.
But will it actually make a difference?
Other recent reports from the likes of the IPA, Thinkbox, Radiocentre and Enders Analysis have all reached a similar conclusion.
There’s too much focus on short-term sales and not enough focus on long-term profit, which is ultimately diminishing marketing effectiveness over time.
For all our data-fuelled intelligence we’re getting worse at driving effectiveness, not better.
Not only are we getting worse, but now we know it and yet we’re still not doing anything about it.
It’s not enough to know all of this in some abstract, disconnected way.
If we’re going to claw back some of that £3bn profit gap we must collectively change both our attitudes and behaviours.
The findings from Newsworks’ Planning for Profit study are easy to understand, relevant to virtually everybody, and - thanks to the PROI Optimiser tool - easy to apply.
I urge you to not just read this report, but to also apply the findings in your own work.
Jon Kershaw is managing director of PHD Manchester