Measuring success: Prove marketing effectiveness
Marketers are far more likely to get support for big brand investment if they can prove their strategy delivers both short and the long-term results, says Suncorp CMO Mim Haysom. That requires a clear strategy, collaborative partners and robust effectiveness metrics. Haysom says Suncorp’s sponsorship of The Block ticks all those boxes – convincing key stakeholders that bold ideas unlock big growth. Here she unpacks the key building blocks.
Tying marketing investment to business outcomes is the Holy Grail for most marketers: it’s key to winning stakeholder trust and getting business cases over the line, says Suncorp Group CMO, Mim Haysom.
Marketers must deliver both the long and short-term gains, she says – and be able to prove their strategy is driving meaningful results in terms that businesses understand: Did it move the needle, how and where – as well as being able to dive into the minutiae.
“We've put a lot of work in the last three years into improving the sophistication of our effectiveness metrics,” says Haysom.
“We've built really robust frameworks to help us set and evaluate both long-term metrics, like brand equity and brand health metrics. Also, short-term metrics around business results and of course, media ROI,” she adds.
“If you've got a really clear set of metrics and you can measure them, communicate them to stakeholders and do so with some science and credibility behind it, then you get the confidence from your stakeholders.”
Put those elements in place and communicate them, she says, and business leaders are more likely to align with the plan.
“They've got confidence that you can deliver on it – and I think that goes a long way to building a really successful partnership,” says Haysom.
Choose partners wisely
Hence the imperative for brands to work with credible measurement and delivery partners, says Jonathan Fox, Director of Effectiveness at Nine’s Powered unit.
“We have a number of different measurement options at Nine, and we pick the best one or the best combination, depending on what we're trying to measure,” he explains.
“For immediate measurement, we would partner with the likes of Agile Media – as we did with Suncorp – or TVSquared, to understand the immediate response on website or app downloads.”
Meanwhile brand health studies conducted with the likes of Gemba and Kantar deliver a clearer picture of longer-term impacts.
Beyond that: “If we want a really deep partnership with our clients and our sponsors, then we also have the expertise to build econometric models to really understand the incremental impact and measure the return on investment,” says Fox.
“Effectiveness is a team sport. So the more expertise we can bring together, the more we learn.”
However, Fox underlines that picking best of breed partners is key – and Haysom agrees.
“Those effectiveness and insights partners are critical to our planning process and integral to that planning process. It inputs into budget setting, channel selection, partner selection, all the way through to measurement and reporting – which then cycles back into the planning cycle again,” she says.
While marketers are “spoilt for choice” in terms of the number of data and analytics providers now in market, “you need to be very clear on your strategy,” she says, “because what you don’t want is duplication.”
Marketers need to pick out the signal from the noise – and avoid data overload, adds Haysom.
“So you need to get the shape of those partnerships right, and you do that through understanding what you want out of each of those partners and then leaning into it and supporting it the right way.”
Collaborate, share KPIs
Collaboration is key to greater effectiveness, says Haysom, with success born out of best of breed working relationships.
“We're coming into our fourth year of [sponsoring] The Block. But every year we learn something new – whether it's about how to better integrate the creative, whether it's ways of working or whether it's how to drive business results. But it all starts at the beginning of the process with collaboration,” she explains.
“We build cross-functional teams and bring together really diverse skillsets from all of our partners. That's my team, all of the brand teams and centers of excellence in at Suncorp, it’s OMD, it’s our creative agency and it’s the team at Nine.”
Before any campaign work starts, the key is to nail business strategy, says Haysom.
“Then we set really clear KPIs and objectives – and it’s not just me who is on the hook for it, we all are. So we share those KPIs and that accountability.”
Collaboration continues all the way through to execution and post-campaign wash-up, says Haysom.
“After the set-up session around what are our objectives, we always run a hack with the Powered team. So we're ideating collaboratively, getting to the creative together with all of those stakeholders in the room.
“Then once we've nailed the campaign and we're in market, we have weekly optimisation meetings with all of those people on a call, making sure that the creative and the content is landing the way we want it to and delivering the results that we expected to right from week one,” she says.
“So for us, the two things that work hardest are collaboration and having really clear KPIs that we're all accountable for.”
Building brands, hitting targets
While Suncorp’s brand is reaping the rewards of its multiyear sponsorship of The Block, it’s also driving significant short-term performance gains.
“Year-on-year, we've seen a really strong return on investment. But in terms of short-term metrics, last year we saw new website visitors increase by 31 per cent and total website visits increase 11 per cent,” says Haysom.
“We also saw quite a significant increase in new account openings – one of our priorities – over the period and the duration of The Block partnership while it was on air.”
This year, the brand hopes to unlock continued growth through the sponsorship, now in year four. Nine’s study of 120 sponsorships across its properties, conducted by Gemba, suggests that faith is well placed.
Gemba’s key finding, says Jonathan Fox, was that longevity pays dividends.
“The longer the sponsorship, the deeper that connection is between the brand and the show,” says Fox “And you can start to leverage that for things like product launches if you're getting into that fourth, fifth, sixth year of sponsorship.”