channel effectiveness

Nowadays marketers have many different ways to target consumers and buyers. With the rise of digital channels, subsequent ad options, and trackable interactions the temptation is to throw money behind metrics and proclaim these channels as the most effective at our disposal.

With the rise of marketing’s role in influencing real sales and being an innovative business partner, the pressure has been on throwing money behind efforts that appear to contribute to direct sales via the latest digital trend and channel.

Our infographic summarises some key channel insights when it comes to usage and effectiveness.

channel effectiveness infographic

People may even dismiss more traditional channels as passé and predictable, in terms of use rather than results.

Therefore, channels such as radio, newspapers, magazines, out of home, and direct mail can be overlooked in terms of effectiveness. Even the original digital communication email is now considered old hat, despite research often highlighting it as the top performing tactic in the mix, particularly within B2B.

And it seems us marketers can be the ones most susceptible to overestimating effectiveness in favour of the latest trend. Not surprising considering we’re often briefed on a desire for the new and experimental over the tried and tested.

So, when Ebiquity released an evaluation of traditional vs more modern marketing techniques (Re-evaluating Media) that revealed marketers underestimate the effectiveness of the traditional methods which are often seen as ‘dated’ we were interested in the results, and of course methodology.

The research established the most important media attributes to growing a long-term brand are:

  • Targeting. Important to ensure you get your ad in front of the right people, at the right place and the right time.
  • Return on investment (ROI). Whether a decrease in Cost per Acquisition (CPA), more sales orders, influenced pipeline, or increased market share, what the campaign results in vs the cost matters.
  • Connects the audience with the brand in a positive way. It goes without saying that increased brand preference, perception, or likelihood to buy from the brand is a good thing.
  • Increases the brand’s relevance within its target audience. Helping people understand how and why something is useful and appropriate for them is an important part of the customer journey.
  • Reaches as many of the target audience as possible. Whether reached via paid targeting, shared content, utilisation of owned channels, general WoM or buzz – the more the merrier.



Using these factors as indicators of effectiveness they asked marketers which they believed would be the most effective channels at achieving these.

The below graph shows the most effective channels based on the evidence as to how campaigns actually performed vs the marketers’ perceptions.



TV scored top in both showing that marketers are aware of the effect it can have and hopefully shows that they are utilising this to its full potential. This is arguably the ultimate advertising channel and in fact, increases business effects by 40%. And with great targeting options, more specific channels and sophisticated media options via the likes of Sky Adsmart it is a commercially viable option for brands that may have thought it previously unfeasible.

Although TV advertisers and agencies underestimate traditional media, this doesn’t mean online video and social media aren’t effective. As in most cases, it depends. It depends on the audience, type of campaign, and the long-term goals.

You need to be able to understand your audience in order to see what is effective for that particular market. These mediums, both offline and online, are all effective depending on the audience and depending on the message you are trying to convey. Integrated activity, even when a couple of methods are used, can be most useful when they complement each other.

The IPA in the UK recently released a PDF collection of The Greatest Hits of Binet and Field, featuring a summary of the longstanding view that a 60/40 split between brand building and sales activation is best for long-term growth.



Each campaign is different, not all campaigns will be able to get an exact 60/40 mix. The idea is that 60% of ad spend should go towards relevant channels that will grow the brand and the other 40% towards short-term results, which can be evenly distributed across online and offline media.

The chart below shows how the approach can be effective in building a brand and achieving sales over different timescales.



In summary, it seems we need to bear a few things in mind when planning effective marketing activity:

  • Don’t follow the latest trend, unless that works for your audience.
  • Embrace a classic combination of traditional and trending to broaden targeting and metrics.
  • Start with the audience, not the channel.
  • Set short and long-term goals and split spend accordingly.
  • And finally, use research to test your thinking, not dictate it.

could china be the real 2018 world cup winners?

With the World Cup in Russia now upon us, nations are prepped to support their team to potential World Cup glory. China finished bottom of their qualifying group, so they won’t be in it to win it. But might their brands be scoring a few awareness points along the way?

FIFA’s infamous issues over the past few years have impacted some of the major traditional sponsors renewing their contracts. This has shifted the goalposts allowing other, arguably lesser-known, brands to step-in and reach a global audience of around 3.5 billion fans.

China is expected to see the biggest increase in advertising spend as a consequence of the World Cup, with the competition generating $835m in additional ad spend. Chinese companies’ advertising spends double that of the US, around $400 million, and is far more than host nation Russia, at approximately $64 million.

Xi Jingping’s World Cup dream

In recent years China has seen a rapid growth for their football leagues with many well-known stars swapping the Premier League for the Chinese Super League. Chinese president Xi Jinping is a football fanatic and back in 2011 explained his own personal ambition for Chinese football: To qualify for the World Cup, to host the World Cup, and finally to win the World Cup. Football is now on their National Curriculum. So it seems China are serious about taking the sport on and building an army of fans.

100,000 Chinese tourists are expected to travel to Russia during the World Cup, dwarfing the 32,000 tickets sold to England supporters, with flight bookings between China and Russia up by around 400% from the same period last year.

The Chinese companies taking advantage of the 2018 World Cup

With this increasing popularity of the sport throughout China, many large companies have taken it upon themselves to use the World Cup as a platform to advertise.

Some of China’s biggest brands such as Wanda, who were the first Chinese company to sign up as a FIFA partner in 2016.

With Sony deciding not to renew their agreement with FIFA ahead of the World Cup, that paved way for Hisense to be named the official television supplier, along with Vivo who have been presented as FIFA’s official smartphone sponsor in a six-year agreement.

And Mengniu Dairy will be providing the tournament’s official yoghurt drink.

So, could the World Cup be the game changer in getting Chinese brands full exposure to more global audiences? The odds are out for the countries most likely to take the trophy this year, but how things play out for these Chinese brands is yet to be seen.

good marketing strategy defines what not to do

There’s a line in 1993’s Jurassic Park that deserves more credit.

Jeff Goldblum’s character, Dr Ian Malcolm, responds to the creation of the park during lunch with the park’s creator, John Hammond.

He highlights the lack of accountability among the scientists who have genetically engineered the dinosaurs. The park’s creator then argues that the scientists have done something that ‘nobody has ever done before’.

Goldblum’s character responds with the powerful line:

(They) were so pre-occupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

It’s a sentiment that would benefit from being applied more in marketing. Particularly at a strategic level.

There’s a growing tendency among agencies and marketing departments to try and cover all the bases, particularly when it comes to media touchpoints. The problem is the number of bases continue to grow. Traditional mediums such as TV, radio, print, and outdoor haven’t gone away; yet they’ve been joined by search, display, a host of social platforms, and now there’s the hype bandwagon behind influencers, VR, AR, AI Bots…etc. etc.

Spanning this whole spectrum is a mistake, not an achievement.

Yet this behaviour can be seen in agency pitches. The ones that keep on going further and further into executions – ‘this is how the idea works on the underside of a manhole’.

This highlights the next issue of a ‘could’ approach, rather than ‘should’: audiences.

The breadth of data points now available allows for a vast array of audience segmentation. Yet it is rare to see a confident approach where this information is used to properly define target audience segments, and with that, audiences who are not the priority for the activity. Instead ‘target’ audiences now often span the full breadth of viable customers and beyond.

With more options, the choice has become overwhelming, to the level that choices stop being made.

‘We could do…’ has become an issue in most agency and marketing department meetings. Adding more requirements to the activity, rather than refining them.

The list of audiences and activity grows, and consequently, the brand, product or campaign idea becomes over-stretched and diluted.

There’s too much to try and do everything.

A response that covers ‘all the bases’ is one that lacks a strategy. It spreads resources too thin and leaves a good percentage of the best opportunities untapped.

Here’s where the true value of good strategy lies: deciding what not to do.

Strategy should not be a shopping list.

It should be sharp and pointy. Defined and refined.

It involves making hard decisions because it means removing opportunities.

So next time you sit down to develop your marketing strategy, be sure to ask the question:

Are we doing this because we could, or because we should?

Paving the path to purchase

Path to purchaseAttribution modelling is complex and not an exact science. Nowadays, the ability to measure the impact of a particular tactic on the Path to Purchase presents a lot of opportunity. However, the increasing number of channels to measure is proving tricky and the quest for the holy grail that is 360 reporting is eluding most of us.

Today’s marketing and sales effort, like many other business relationships, requires teamwork. There are a variety of teams and skills involved in creating an integrated marketing programme. When ‘last touch’ is the most common method of attributing credit, the sales teams often get the glory.

One of the most common questions our clients ask when planning a marketing strategy is ‘Where should we spend our budget to get the best return?’. The answer of course is; it depends…

Data, including digital conversion metrics, make a pragmatic solution easier to create.

But assumptions are necessary where there are gaps in the data. Therefore, benchmarks, best practice and experience need to be applied to map the marketing mix as accurately as possible.

It would be naïve not to consider other external factors such as what the objective of the activity is. In this case, the type of activity should impact the plan. That means projections should be formed after a pretty straightforward strategy session.

When thinking about techniques to apply, here are 3 credit scoring approaches for attribution modelling:

Last touch: The quick and dirty approach. If the purchase is prompt and few other factors are part of the Path to Purchase, this is the one to go for.

Average channel credits: Attributing an average cost of sale and calculating the ROI. If you never really want to do anything different and keep it balanced.

Weighted: The most sophisticated method. For those that have a good understanding of the path to purchase and where critical channels are proven in effectiveness and effort.