Clients and agencies differ on data

21 March 2012

NEW YORK: Brand owners and agencies disagree on how best to establish and monitor metrics that determine campaign effectiveness, a new study has revealed.

Forbes and Effie Worldwide polled 127 marketers and agency executives on the judging panel of the North American Effie Awards, a group which included representatives from Campbell's Soup, ConAgra Foods, eBay Gatorade and Citi.

Almost 65% of clients said that CMOs had to define, oversee and take responsibility for identifying appropriate performance indicators.

By contrast, just 8% of their agency peers took the same view. Rather, 51% thought insights teams or chief analytics officers must lead this process, reaching 25% for social media or digital specialists.

"To me it is crystal clear: the client owns the data," Carl Johnson, founder of Anomaly, the agency, said. "There's a deeper question, which is, do they trust the agency? If they do, then the agency should have widespread access so they can be the best possible partner to the client."

Andrea Fairchild, global vice president marketing for Gatorade, the sports drink, further argued that the "interesting discrepancy" between agencies and their customers was hard to explain.

"We have a strategy and insights director and then a team; we run our analytics and consumer insights strategy work through one foundational group that feeds into our marketing arm. And they are working with the agency specifically so that it's kind of a two-pronged approach," she added.

Elsewhere, 31% of interviewees stated that social media would see the largest increase in expenditure this year, a figure standing at 17% for mobile and 8% for television.

However, TV claimed the top spot when it came to providing the strongest payback, afforded such a status by 19% of contributors. Around 18% of the sample gave social media an equivalent role.

Upon assessing the social and digital properties now attracting the most interest, 41% of participants pointed to Facebook. Twitter, the microblogging platform, posted 16%.

Google+, the social network launched last year by Google, received 12%, while Pinterest, a rapidly-growing photo-sharing platform, scored 10%.

"Throwing a tonne of money at something unproven is risky. But not paying attention and doing nothing is also risky. It's about staying in touch. Being aware," Johnson said. "Experimenting but not gambling huge amounts of money."

Data sourced from Forbes; additional content by Warc staff