NEW YORK: Measurement remains a "lagging competency" for brands compared with the increasingly sophisticated slate of tools available for creating content, a leading executive from AT&T has argued.

David Christopher, AT&T Mobility's chief marketing officer, discussed this subject at Advertising Age's Digital Conference 2015 in New York.

"Measurement is a challenge," he asserted. "I think measurement is a lagging competency in the industry." (For more, including some recommendations for tackling this problem, read Warc's exclusive report: AT&T dials up the measurement debate.)

More specifically, he suggested that the processes and systems used for making content have developed very rapidly. "There's great targeting; there's a lot of sophistication in a lot of these partners," he said.

But the equivalent offerings employed to prove out the results of such efforts have not progressed at a similar pace, meaning marketers frequently struggle to justify their expenditure to senior management.

AT&T - which is one of the biggest advertisers in America, spending $1.6bn in 2014 according to Kantar Media - is determined to resolve this issue.

"We're relentless about trying to understand the efficacy of each dollar we spend," Christopher said.

"We've got to push our partners - the media agencies and our other partners, whether it's Facebook, or Twitter, or Google, or whoever - to really help us understand the return on investment of these dollars.

"A common currency is really critical, or a more common currency … We're sitting here, asking questions, pushing our partners to deliver that for us, because it is so important."

Rigorous and reliable measurement currencies, he further ventured, will benefit the entire industry by encouraging brands to boost their expenditure.

"There's so much opportunity there to get to work on the currencies where marketers like me are much more willing to invest than we are today," he said.

"Even though we are investing heavily, we know that we are still at a relatively nascent stage."

Data sourced from Warc