Proof Prevails - By Guest Blogger Sally Stanley

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One of the biggest challenges faced by marketers is in demonstrating the value of marketing within their organisations.

By its very nature, creativity is not a finite commodity; rather it is an infinite variable. The purchase and evaluation of creative development services can never be an exact science, although pre-campaign evaluative tools are widely deployed to enhance the likelihood of success.

The expertise of a creative assessor in the form of an experienced qualitative researcher should never be underestimated or the research phase in the creative development process be neglected.

Good marketers can inherently distinguish between good and weak creative; that is a personal asset that either exists or doesn’t. While research will guide the process, the ultimate arbiter of creative is the target audience, so enabling the creative development process to be steered under the supervision of a marketer who appreciates creativity should lead to a stronger result.

Beyond creativity, another consideration which causes consternation among the marketing community is the internal demand for short term impact.

Very often, the timelines during which marketing is seeking to influence audience behaviour is longer term than within the confines of a solitary financial year. In those circumstances, the potential for fund access becomes challenging and marketers have to be able to communicate the rationale for investment persuasively and with expertise.

Additionally, isolating the impact of marketing from associated marketplace variables is not easy and while some marketers may benefit from econometric evaluative tools, the majority will not; many need to find alternative means of evaluation.

All of this presents marketing practitioners with considerable challenges within their organisations to ensure that marketing achieves an appropriate share of investment.

Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of marketers to develop a strategy and implement their work in a structured manner, such that the objectives are clearly understood and the output can best be measured.

Over the years, methodologies for the evaluation of marketing activities have become increasingly sophisticated. Perhaps also, the fragmentation of media has aided marketing evaluative techniques, notably in the sphere of social media, where participant interaction can be measured virtually any which way.

Still, only the minority of marketers in Scotland are in the position of managing multi-million pound marketing budgets or benefitting from data analysis, research and insight services on a daily basis.

Whatever the scale of the business or organisation represented, it is the marketer’s duty, together with agency support, to ensure that all marketing activities have defined and measurable objectives prior to the start of any campaign and that the evaluative techniques are agreed in advance.

In recognition of this continuous requirement to validate marketing investment, the theme of “Proof Prevails” has been adopted as the Marketing Society’s theme for the 2015 Star Awards. This aligns perfectly with the Marketing Society’s vision of helping to build a world leading marketing community in Scotland.

Proof will prevail.

By Sally Stanley, Chair of the Marketing Society Star Awards