LONDON: A majority of marketers wrongly assume that awareness and engagement are ways of proving effectiveness and many even mistake engagement for conversion, according to a new research.

The Fournaise Marketing Group, a marketing performance and measurement business, analysed more than 500 marketing strategies – including strategy documents, campaign briefs and effectiveness reports – during the first half of the year and branded the results "shocking".

It reported that 77% marketers considered generating awareness a critical way of proving effectiveness as they assumes that if a target audience sees a campaign it will automatically engage with them.

But, said Fournaise, "Awareness in itself is nothing if not specifically built to generate (measureable) interest, desire and ultimately action that have a direct positive impact on the company's top line and/or bottom line".

Marketers have a similarly erroneous view of engagement, with 71% believing that they can prove effectiveness through engagement KPIs, such as website traffic, video views, open rates or likes and tweets. But, "Engagement is nothing without conversion," Fournaise stated.

The emphasis on awareness also meant that three quarters focused on standing out through creativity, media placement and digital, with form and style taking precedence over content and message.

The "most alarming of all" finding, however, was that 86% of marketers thought their engagement KPIs proved that they generated more business for their organisation even though they could not prove this was actually the case.

Jermo Fontaine, Fournaise's global CEO and marketing performance chief, was highly critical of the marketing world, and demanded to know when marketers would realise their job was "to generate incremental (measurable and P&L-quantifiable) customer demand for their organisation's products and services.

"If marketers want to be taken seriously and have a bigger, stronger presence in the boardroom, they need to stop living in their la-la land and start behaving like real business people," he said.

Data sourced from The Fournaise Marketing Group; additional content by Warc staff