“To weather the tough times, we must focus on what works.” This is the rallying call to arms from new IPA Chair for Scotland, and Client Services Director at Republic of Media, Gill Jarvie, who sets out her detailed Effectiveness agenda.
From new Effectiveness research, to bespoke effectiveness-focused events, to signposting the wealth of available effectiveness resources, Gill’s agenda will work to help her community become even stronger, more resilient and successful.
"In tough markets, good agencies do better because advertising is more important, not less important. That works in favour of the agencies that can do more effective advertising. The pressure shifts from what’s in vogue to what works. And that’s what truly good agencies are about."
This is something the late, great David Abbott once wrote for an ad placed in The Wall Street Journal. And is something I vehemently agree with.
What’s important about this quote is the acknowledgment that Effectiveness isn’t just about the work we produce, it’s about our raison d’etre. It’s about putting effectiveness at the heart of what we do; how we embed the culture into our agencies. As he says, it’s what truly good agencies are about. And I am a firm believer that what we put in, we get out. This is why, as new Chair for the IPA in Scotland, I am making Effectiveness the focus of my agenda for the agency community here.
We are living through undeniably tough times.
The coming months will see marketing budgets come under increasingly severe pressure. In Scotland we are already seeing it within the retail and leisure sectors. And it’ll be interesting to see what next month’s Q3 IPA Bellwether Report will reveal regarding the overall picture of UK companies’ marketing spend intentions and confidence levels. While overall revisions to marketing spend were in positive territory last quarter, a number of media category budgets saw downward revisions, and worryingly, main media stagnated. Crucially, business confidence levels of UK companies’ – which are often a barometer for their subsequent financial actions – also took a severe hit.
With inflation set to rise further and the cost-of-living crisis set to deepen, along with the UK at real risk of a recession, this pressure will no doubt intensify. As S&P economist and Bellwether author Joe Hayes acknowledges: "Risks are clearly skewed to the downside as the intensifying cost of living crisis weighs on disposable incomes, while firms face difficult decisions regarding their spending at a time when their cost burdens continue to inflate."
To help clients navigate these uncertain and tumultuous times, and for agencies to stand themselves in best stead, it will be vital for us to focus on what works and to embed effectiveness into everything we do. Fortunately we have a strong start for this… And this is where I want the Scotland community to capitalise.
Today, as you may have seen, marks the publication of the 2022 IPA Marketing Effectiveness Roadmap. A free, comprehensive report that details the marketing effectiveness competency within the industry and one that crucially sets out a clear model for future success.
By heeding the recommendations within the report, you will better understand how to embed a marketing effectiveness culture into your company - from your focus, to your processes, to your data, tools and measurement, and to your people, and in doing so we firmly believe you will experience better longer-term business success.
So my call to action to the business, especially my Scottish community, is to download the report and start your effectiveness journey. Please also join us for our dedicated Roadmap event in Edinburgh this autumn where we will provide you with more practical advice and tips.
By embarking on this journey, I also hope that it will facilitate more Scottish agencies to apply for and acquire IPA Effectiveness Accreditation – a badge that demonstrates to clients that your agency culture is dedicated to business effectiveness. Submissions for this open in spring 2023 and successful agencies will be rewarded for demonstrating their effectiveness culture across seven criteria including their people, process, collaboration, challenge mentality, commercial literacy, achievement and credibility. I intend to lead from the front on this by submitting our agency’s application next year. As IPA President Julian Douglas has said: "By investing in effectiveness across the board, we boost business performance, as well as reaffirm our own value."
Again, to help you achieve this, I will be organising face-to-face support groups on the run up to the application deadline.
And finally, as part of my agenda, I must remind you of the additional bank of IPA resources that can help to improve your effectiveness.
First off, we have a wealth of evidence from the IPA Effectiveness Databank of award-winning effectiveness cases to show us the way – seek them out, read them, borrow from their best bits – and look out for the 2022 winners this October of course. We also have the subsequent much heralded reports from Effectiveness gurus Les Binet and Peter Field, along with Orlando Wood, teaching us core lessons on how to make our advertising work hardest. We have the IPA-FT partnership of reports and ads promoting the value of advertising to the boardroom, and, crucially, we have the invaluable outputs from EffWorks.
EffWorks is a cross-industry global initiative, spearheaded by the IPA, which champions effectiveness marketing and provides access to new research and evidence into how brand advertising builds businesses. This year’s flagship EffWorks Global 2022 Conference takes place on 12-13 October where I shall be participating and representing Scotland. I hope that many of you will be able to join me there, if not in person, virtually.
We will also be looking to run a Scottish Effworks event in spring next year bringing up the best speakers and talent in this area for member agencies and their clients. It would be wonderful if you could join us.
There is no doubt that the coming months will be tough and uncertain. What isn’t uncertain is that achieving and demonstrating advertising effectiveness has never been more important. And this is where we can help ourselves. As the Marketing Effectiveness Roadmap shows, just starting on the journey can boost your marketing effectiveness.
So I hope you will join me in embarking on and progressing our pathways to effectiveness. By investing in what works, I truly believe we will weather these tough times and come out stronger, more resilient and successful.
Gill’s role at Republic of Media is to ensure our clients are receiving the very best service. This means ensuring each client has the right levels of resource and experience but also working with the teams to ensure new ideas and thinking are continually developed.
With over 20 years’ experience with agencies such as Feather Brooksbank and Carat she has worked across a number of high profile clients such as Scottish Power, Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Life and The Scottish Government. Gill’s key strength is in strategic planning and this was recently recognised by being awarded the Media Gold Star at this year’s Marketing Society Star Awards for her work with Food Standards Scotland.