Tony Mattson, Managing Partner in Strategy at UM, reveals why the Eff Test is a fundamental piece in the industry qualification puzzle.
I sat the IPA Eff Test last autumn as part of the IPA Excellence Diploma. Last year was my 13th in the industry, and yet it was the first time I had heard about the Eff Test. I am very pleased that our paths crossed.
Thirteen years is considerably longer than the three-to-four-year minimum suggested in the IPA’s marketing collateral.
However, I found the content to be useful and relevant. I was helpfully reminded of some things, surprisingly introduced to others and overall found it to be a fantastic learning programme.
Those with less experience will benefit from an introduction to key concepts and methodologies, whereas those with more experience will undoubtedly benefit from a comprehensive refresher.
Last year, I was the only person from UM London to sit the Eff Test. This year, I am pushing to get 15 people signed up and I hope involvement will continue to grow in the future because this is not a take-it-or-leave-it topic.
Effectiveness should be of paramount importance to everyone involved in planning and executing marketing campaigns. However, more often than not, people discuss the wrong metrics, apply inappropriate methodologies or simply think about effectiveness too late in the day.
Effectiveness is vital for marketers.
The job of the CMO is a difficult one. Angela Herrin put it well in a paper entitled ‘The Changing Role of the CMO’ published in the Harvard Business Review back in 2011.
“The CMO is tasked, among other things, with delivering the most powerful, insightful, innovative and efficient marketing for every product to exactly the right customer, for exactly the right price all the while demonstrating the best return on investment for marketing in the history of mankind!”
No mean feat.
The issue becomes all the more apparent, when you consider the gap that exists between what marketers need and their ability to deliver it and the resulting issues that CEOs have with their marketers.
Let’s start with the gap. Only 20 – 25% of firms calculate the profitability of marketing (1). 75% of reasons cited for marketing budget cuts relate to an inability to deliver ROMI or meet objectives (2).
Only 20% of marketers believe they can accurately forecast the sales impact of a 10% budget cut and only 20% believe senior management would be confident in that forecast (3).
This last point highlights the issues that CEOs have with their marketers. In 2011, the Fournaise Marketing Group conducted a survey amongst CEOs called the Global Marketing Effectiveness Program. The results were striking.
77% believed that marketers were unable to link brand values and equity to results that really matter – revenue, sales, EBIT or even market valuation.
73% believed that marketers focus too much on cost-cutting through economies of scale or reducing fees rather than top-line growth generation. 67% simply do not think that marketers think enough like business people.
So, marketing itself needs to pay more attention to effectiveness. And, as a result, so do agencies.
Agencies do not want to be intermediaries; they want to be business partners, judged on their contribution to business performance.
In recent years, agency leaders have become very vocal in this regard. While Global CFO of IPG Mediabrands, Jeff Lupinacci wrote that “we’re paid to drive business results”.
And Tracy de Groose, CEO of Carat, has said that “with budgets tight, agencies must be able to give clients confidence about how their media investment will deliver business results right from the off”.
The Eff Test serves as an excellent introduction to and reminder of the critical nature of effectiveness to the work we do in this industry, irrespective of discipline or role.
I think it should be essential for everyone, akin to the exams that people working in other professional service industries – such as accountancy, banking and law – have to sit before being able to practice.
That may be an ideal at this stage, but the more people who are aware of the qualification and the more people who sit it, the better and more respected our industry will most certainly become.
1) 2009 ed. of annual Lenskold Group Marketing Accountability Study
2) 2009 ed. of the CMO Trends Survey, Michael Leander
3) 2009 ed. of the ANA/MMA Marketing Accountability Study
Tony Mattson is Managing Partner of Strategy at UM London.
Learning is free for IPA members but you need to book the Eff Test exam to identify planning, and effectiveness measurement techniques.
Last updated 23/09/2014