Effectiveness Accreditation

An IPA endorsement that your agency culture is dedicated to business effectiveness.

The IPA Effectiveness Accreditation is an endorsement that your agency culture is dedicated to business effectiveness. It can turn what you already do into a competitive advantage for attracting clients and talent, as well as providing an incentive to maintain existing high standards.

All you need to know

    The submission for Effectiveness Accreditation is now closed and will open again in March 2025. The below is reference information. 


    Key information

    Who can apply?

    The IPA Effectiveness Accreditation is available to all IPA member agencies regardless of discipline or size.

    Why apply?

    Launched in 2021, the IPA Effectiveness Accreditation delivers distinction for your agency in a market where distinctiveness is sometimes difficult. It demonstrates that the agency understands that marketing is an investment which needs a return, and not purely a cost.

    • It helps the industry to create a culture in which effectiveness is not only a goal, but, nowadays, a basic requirement - an expectation between brand marketers and agencies.
    • It can help clients justify their choice of agency, the working processes and, potentially, the work itself to their organisation.
    • The Accreditation is size and location agnostic. It provides validation of your processes and culture, whatever the size or location of agency.
    • It provides support to enable agencies to have robust conversations regarding access to data to demonstrate effectiveness.
    • It helps agencies to position themselves as true business partners to clients.
    • For smaller agencies, or those who work in narrower or specialist disciplines, it offers a recognition of their approach, and/or contribution to a wider process. These agencies sometimes do not have the resource to submit an effectiveness awards paper.

    How do successful agencies use their IPA Accreditation day-to-day?

    • "Gaining the IPA Effectiveness Accreditation was a huge boost for our agency. We thought it encapsulated what we were about, and so to gain the accreditation was extremely gratifying. It’s helped us win and retain business and continue to grow the agency, but really it has changed the conversation and relationship we have with clients to one where we’re even closer than we were before." Running Total Media

    Effectiveness is often (wrongly) seen as something that inhibits creativity. In contrast, the IPA Accreditation helps liberate creativity by demonstrating that we know how to use it profitably.

    • Working towards and getting the IPA Accreditation has really helped establish a culture of effectiveness within the agency. It has also helped demonstrate our commitment to and expertise in creating and measuring effective work to prospective and existing clients. The Corner
    • "The accreditation was a great way to externally validate our client-centric business model, measurement capabilities across research and analytics, our internal training and our bank of client case studies. The IPA kitemark carries great weight due to the high bar of its bi-annual Effectiveness awards and track record of supporting high impact effectiveness research." The7stars
    • "As ever with the IPA, the details were very clear on how to enter and what it meant for businesses. I enjoyed the process, and it was great to encourage all areas of the business to really think about their effectiveness framework and the impact this has on our culture, clients and work." Talon Outdoor

    Being awarded with the IPA Effectiveness Accreditation has been a key support in helping us really embed more of a culture of effectiveness within the agency. It’s also helped give us more credibility when engaging with prospective clients.

    • "Being one of just a handful of creative agencies to be awarded IPA Effectiveness Accreditation in 2021 has definitely been helpful for us. Clients increasingly expect us to have rigorous frameworks in place to demonstrate the flow of effects they should expect from our work, and this accreditation along with effectiveness award wins shows that we have substance to back up the spin." Leo Burnett

    Is there a fee?

    No, the accreditation is offered free of charge to all IPA member agencies.

    Entry requirements

    Access to the online submission portal will be available from March 2025. The submission will be comprised of two parts: a written submission and an accompanying submission in a different format. These should detail the organisation’s philosophy and approach to effectiveness and demonstrate why it’s important to their business. Agencies must demonstrate what actions they are taking to promote effectiveness culture and what impact these actions have had.

    Whilst effectiveness culture can be built over a sustained period of time, accreditation is valid for two years, so submissions should include activities and evidence from 2023/2024.

    Agencies will also be asked for some details on the organisation within the submission, including number of employees, year of establishment and a brief description of the agency and clients. Prior to submitting, it is expected that you will have obtained sign-off from your agency’s leadership team.

    Part One

    A written description of 2000 - 2500 words, explaining the agency’s philosophy and approach to effectiveness and why it’s important to your business.

    You are invited to attach an Appendix with evidence of your agency’s effectiveness culture, as referenced in your submission for judges to refer to. This will not be included in the word count but please keep this material to a reasonable volume.

    Part Two

    This element of the submission can be in any medium, platform or channel other than that used in Part One and should be used as an additional opportunity to demonstrate your agency’s attitude to effectiveness and its impact.

    It is the opportunity to submit something other than a word document, numbers, charts, simple images etc. to show how your focus on results is managed and celebrated. This is supplementary media to the main submission and should not take judges more than three minutes to review.

    We are looking for you to bring to life your effectiveness culture in action. You may consider including your clients, who may be able to help demonstrate that effectiveness is on your agenda day to day, and/or show how you engage, and educate colleagues and new recruits. But neither of these is essential. Be creative.

    It is our intention to showcase a number of these “Part Two” entries at IPA events and promotional platforms going forward. However, we will, of course, ask permission before using them.

    IPA use of materials

    After submission, the IPA will own copyright on the submission. Our objective is to pull together elements of successful practices for publication, to promote the adoption of a better effectiveness culture industry-wide. However, you will be able to indicate which elements of your written submission you wish to redact and not include in any external promotion. We have no wish to negatively affect any competitive advantage that an agency believes they possess.


    Who will assess applications?

    Margaret Jobling, Group Chief Marketing Officer, NatWest

    The submissions will be assessed by a panel of leading brand owners, academics, authors and renowned Effectiveness specialists. The Accreditation Panel will be chaired by Margaret Jobling, Group Chief Marketing Officer, NatWest. None of the assessment panel will work for an existing agency.

    Judging criteria

    Entries will be judged against the following criteria, with the weighting for each criteria indicated below:

    • Focus (10%)
    • People (30%)
    • Process (30%)
    • Data, Tools and Measurement (30%)

    For each criteria, judges will be looking to understand how agencies are approaching challenges within the business, why this is important, and any resulting outcome. Merit will be granted for providing context and showing progress. Effectiveness culture is a journey, and we are interested in seeing what agencies are doing on a day-to-day basis to continuously improve, with evidence of its impact.  

    Each criteria is described below with some thoughts around each topic. This criteria list and the questions and comments around each are included only to provide stimulation and inspiration for your response, rather than a rigid structure for your entry, or a list of points to be addressed.

    Focus (10%)

    A clear vision to marketing effectiveness and how it creates business value, organisational alignment and effectiveness culture.

    • What does marketing effectiveness mean to your agency? How is it defined?
    • Does the agency have a clear roadmap for delivering effectiveness?
    • Does the agency challenge clients who have a lack of focus or poor effectiveness processes?

    What difference does your effectiveness focus make in your relationship with clients?

    People (30%)

    Defining roles and responsibilities, effectiveness training and continuous learning.

    • Where is the effectiveness agenda being driven from? Do you have buy-in across the organisation?
    • How are teams empowered to have better effectiveness conversations with clients?
    • To what extent are people commercially literate and how does this help?
    • How is any learning implemented day to day and how are agency skills kept up-to-date and relevant?

    Process (30%)

    The cycle of increased marketing intelligence, to decision making, activation of marketing activities, measurement, and improved business results. 

    • Do you have a clearly defined planning process? If not, how do you approach client briefs?
    • Is there depth and breadth in the agency effectiveness culture? How is it used internally and externally?
    • To what extent do you collaborate with other agencies and communication partners? What part does your agency play in the wider effectiveness ecosystem for the client?
    • Have you influenced clients in any aspect of marketing planning and effectiveness process? Have they influenced you?
    • Has there been a change in the relationship with your clients due to an improved effectiveness approach?

    Data Tools and Measurement (30%)

    An effectiveness capabilities ecosystem creating increasingly relevant and impactful marketing intelligence, and being fed by quality, accurate and timely data.

    • What data, systems and tools are in place either within the agency or with companies you work with, to create marketing intelligence and meaningful measurement on the agency’s activities? 
    • How do you intend to show the value (short and long term) created from marketing investment and increase the impact on marketing decision making with this evidence?
    • Are the data points and metrics being used and understood for the value they represent, by both agency and client? If not what steps are being taken to address this?
    • How is the collection, sharing and dissemination of effectiveness data managed?

    It is important to stress that the IPA and the judging panel are aware that a successful effectiveness culture is not easy to create. And the data that demonstrates that effectiveness is not always accessible. Judges will not be expecting flawless execution in all areas, rather a proven, focussed effort and mindset to drive and achieve a successful return – whatever the client perceives as “success”. It should be remembered that even the creation of a submission itself can deliver huge insight and reward for agencies.

    Additional Advice from the 2021 Assessment Panel

    Many entries in 2021 stated “Effectiveness is at the heart of everything we do”, or a similar statement. Judges will be looking for evidence not just a list of claims. When stating that you have a process and describing what you believe is important, remember to demonstrate how it is used in practice, and how those beliefs and processes are working day to day for your clients. Just as in the assessment of the IPA Effectiveness Awards, judges will be looking for proof that cultures and practices are being actioned and that they deliver on objectives.

    Including recent client examples and case studies in your submission can be very useful in bringing evidence of your culture to life.

    Assessment outcome

    If successful, your agency will receive an effectiveness kitemark and certificate to use in communications. The selection of accredited agencies will be celebrated by the IPA in press and online.

    Once achieved, the Accreditation will last for 2 years. Agencies will then have to reapply in 2025 to retain their status.

    What happens if my agency is unsuccessful?

    Those agencies who put forward a submission and are not awarded Accreditation will receive feedback from the Assessment Panel on which areas did not meet the necessary level and/or additional comments on their submission content. The names of these agencies will be kept confidential.

    Key dates

    • Mid-September: Announcement of successful agencies
    • Week of 9 October: EffWorks Global 


    Please get in touch if you need any help or more information.

    Alexandra Green

    Alexandra Green, Head of Effectiveness Programme | 0207 201 8270 | [email protected]

    Last updated 01 May 2024