Comment: Time now for effectiveness to step up to the plate

Measurement and accountability. For those of us old enough to remember, this is the platform on which the digital marketing industry was built. Barring the occasional marketing director blinded by the lustre of the dotcom boom, this promise enabled us to claw away marketing spend from all-important TV and press budgets.

With only a decade having passed since the industry's birth, one would think that this heritage would still be firmly in our sights. So I ask then, is anyone else concerned by the fact that effectiveness has failed so completely to become the yardstick with which digital agencies and campaigns are measured by the industry?

Indeed, agency of the year leagues are largely decided on account wins, creative awards and turnover. But what about effectiveness? Why does it not sit at the top of the judging criteria too? Has our striving for a piece of the pie caused us to forget what got us here?

Don't misunderstand my plea; I am not asking for us to focus exclusively on effectiveness, leaving creativity behind. I am just concerned that, in the place of effectiveness and accountability, toilet humour jokes are becoming the reputation by which our industry is branded.

So I am pleased to hear that, for its award's tenth anniversary, Revolution is refocusing its criteria to be more effectiveness-driven. As the marketing and advertising industry as a whole continues to place more importance (and spend) on digital channels, the time is now for accountability to take centre stage again.

This year I was proud that TribalDDB led by example by taking home four IPA Effectiveness awards, but I was also saddened that we were the only digital agency to win on the night. The IPA Effectiveness awards are one of the highlights of the awards year, with many press inches and talk generated around who makes the shortlist, who wins what and why. They are notoriously challenging papers to write, and not just because of the time it takes to get one ready for the judges' eyes. So why were we the only digital agency to officially enter? Clients at our table that night were shown that we know how to get the most from their digital marketing budgets. Why were we alone in wanting to showcase our effectiveness?

The true worth of effectiveness can only be measured and valued when the whole industry is held to it.


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