How to balance long-term and short-term strategies

Les Binet and Peter Field

One of the biggest challenges for marketers is balancing the need for short-term sales improvement with long-term brand success.

Our previous research has shown that campaigns that perform well when judged by longer-term metrics, such as profit and share growth, do not necessarily perform well at generating short-term direct responses (Binet & Field, 2007). And the converse is also true: campaigns that drove short-term direct response most strongly, tend to underperform on longer term metrics.

This issue has increased in importance in recent years as the growth of new online channels has focused attention on short-term results and metrics. In this piece we briefly clarify the nature of short and long-term effects to enable marketers to develop a balanced approach with optimum results. Long-term effects are generally over two or more years; short-term effects are epitomised as occurring within a year.