Unilever, L'Oreal, John Lewis on how marketing effectiveness culture drives business success - new IPA report

An organisation with a strong marketing effectiveness culture makes it fitter and better able to deliver its targets. This is the overarching finding from Culture First a new IPA report, launched in partnership with CIMA* and Telefónica, which details the current behaviours of over 20 prominent brands, including John Lewis, Unilever, TfL and L’Oreal - on their journey to understanding marketing effectiveness and identifies the key behaviours that others can adopt to achieve success.

According to the findings of the study, significant additional resource and focus have been invested by these organisations into better understanding which marketing levers are driving their desired business outcomes. Furthermore, there are five behaviours and practices prevalent in the more successful effectiveness cultures. These are:

Collaboration - At the heart of the changes in behaviour, in the more mature and successful organisations, is an increase in collaboration between Finance and Marketing teams, particularly regarding decision-making on marketing investment.

Language - Whilst respondents from both the financial and marketing teams felt they ‘used’ the same language when reporting on effectiveness, the value and meaning attached to the lexicon was clearly different for each party. If the marketing industry wants to increase the credibility and understanding of its brand health and customer metrics among financial teams, it should consider changing its language to reflect the commercial benefit it drives.

Process – To improve the effectiveness of marketing investment, processes include:

  • Making Effectiveness the beginning not the end of the process
  • Having a shared view of customer and measurement priorities
  • Finding the metrics that matter and being consistent
  • Having a meaningful feedback and learning cycle

Toolbox - The more advanced companies are now including short and long-term metrics into their models. The report further documents the development of the integration of datasets, and the move from a reporting culture to a learning culture.

Capability - Skills development in effectiveness is an essential requirement across the marketing industry. The choice for organisations is whether to create a new centre of excellence, or develop existing marketing and research teams or some kind of combination of both. What is certain, is that there is a skills gap, as in all areas of data and analytics, particularly for individuals with client-side experience.

The report documents the knock-on effect of these behaviours for agency and client relationships, asserting that by putting effectiveness at the heart of day-to-day operations agencies can drive positive improvements for their clients’ and their own businesses.

It also outlines the ways in which the IPA, in collaboration with CIMA, will be helping to facilitate this change. This includes the development of a three-speed framework, in addition to other action points.

Says Janet Hull OBE, Director of Marketing Strategy, IPA: “The needs of brands and the changes in the communications landscape have accelerated the need to not only showcase the best in effectiveness, but to help develop a framework and capability to improve the process and behaviours to deliver effective marketing investment. By bringing together, for the first time, the views and experiences of agency, marketing and finance professionals, we have been able to pinpoint what good looks like, how to make it happen, and what difference it can make.”

Says Sandra Fazackerley, Director of Customer Data, Insight & Experience, Telefonica UK and member of the IPA EffWeek Client Advisory Board: “At Telefónica the discipline of marketing effectiveness is managed as a separate department reporting into Marketing. This gives us autonomy and independence but enough visibility and connection to day-to-day practice to provide sound stewardship to the business. Our aim in marketing effectiveness is to provide the evidence the organisation needs to switch from a reporting culture to a learning culture. That’s why this report is so timely. It provides a model for culture change and growth, validated by some of the best in the business.”

Says Dr Noel Tagoe. EVP Academics, Management Accounting: “The main objectives of our syllabus and examinations are to equip management accountants with the competencies employers expect. These include the business and analysis skills needed to make the right investment decisions, including marketing investment. This research is designed to help support this role and to foster a spirit of collaboration and common ambition among finance and marketing professionals.”

The free report is available to download from the Eff Works website www.effworks.co.uk  

Join the conversation on Twitter at #EffWeek

Notes to editors:

*CIMA – the Chartered Institute of Marketing Accountants

The report was officially launched at the cross-industry Eff Week 2017 Conference today (10 October) by report author and research consultant Fran Cassidy.

Eff Week is the flagship event of the EffWorks calendar, the IPA’s new cross-industry Marketing Effectiveness initiative that seeks to create a global industry movement, to promote a marketing effectiveness culture in client and agency organisations and improve day-to-day working practices in three key areas of marketing marketing, managing marketing and monitoring marketing. Find out more at www.effworks.co.uk


Last updated 21 January 2022