Monday, July 25, 2005

How do you account for that account?

I'm posting this article from the NYT because if you aren't registered with them, you won't be able to read it. I think it's v. interesting - especially note the fact that they say the Sarbanes-Oxley law has affecting the marketing department of companies across America. Random, eh?

How Effective Is This Ad, in Real Numbers? Beats Me

THE results of a survey scheduled to be released today at a conference sponsored by the Association of National Advertisers bring to mind the familiar Mark Twain remark about the weather: Everyone complains about the inability to determine the return on investment from advertising spending, but no one seems satisfied with what is being done about it.

The conference is the most recent in a skein of meetings sponsored by the association, the trade organization for the nation's largest marketers, focusing on advertising accountability. Senior marketers are increasingly intent on figuring out what they are doing right - and wrong - as the cost of peddling goods and services climbs each year, along with the difficulty of reaching potential customers.

The conference, formally titled the 2005 Marketing Accountability Forum, is to begin this morning with a general session at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. To underline what it considers to be the importance of the conference, the association is also promoting it to members of the trade group that represents the agencies that marketers work with, the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

The survey was conducted in April by the advertiser association and two partners, Marketing Management Analytics, part of the Aegis Group, and Forrester Research. In telephone interviews this week, Ms. Mirque and executives from Marketing Management Analytics offered a preview of some survey results.

For instance, 61.5 percent of the survey respondents said it was important to them to define, measure and take concrete steps in the area of advertising accountability. But only 19 percent said they were satisfied with their ability to take those steps.

And 73 percent of respondents were not confident that they understood the effects that an advertising or marketing campaign could have on sales. When asked if they agreed with the statement, "I would be able to forecast the impact on sales" of a 10 percent cut in marketing spending, 63 percent said no.

Back in the day, "marketing had a rock-star mentality, able to do what it wanted," said Ed See, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Marketing Management, which is based in Wilton, Conn.

"But we're not living in a rock 'n' roll world anymore," he added. "Elvis has left the building."

A primary reason for the change, Mr. See said, is what he called the "halo effect" of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, centered on the difference the law is making in the way top managers run companies.

"Marketers were able to do what they wanted because they were given a bye from a corporate governance aspect by the C-suite," Mr. See said, using the shorthand term for leaders like chief executives. "But now," he added, "the C-suite sees marketing as the last bastion of uncontrolled spending, and it's being viewed as a risk, a financial risk."

"It's the old story of the C.E.O. who asks the chief marketing officer, 'What happens if I take 10 percent out of the marketing budget?' and the C.M.O. replies, 'I don't know,' " Mr. See said, "so the C.E.O. says: 'O.K., I'll take 20 percent.' "

John Nardone, executive vice president and chief client officer at Marketing Management, said the survey showed that it was more important than ever for advertisers to give their marketing departments the types of controls, models and "repeatable processes" they use in areas like supply-chain management and human resources.

"Marketers are tracking all kinds of data and they still can't answer basic questions" about advertising accountability, Mr. Nardone said, "because they don't have real models and metrics by which to make sense of it."


At July 26, 2005 11:31 PM, Blogger Brad said... is one of nearly 80,000 websites that can be accessed without registering yourself. is a handy little website that will give you a username & password so you don't have to register for yourself.

if you use firefox, there's a bugmenot extension that works real slick...


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