Well, this isn’t much of a surprise. According to survey of chief marketing officers, only 5% said they were confident in their agency’s performance.
The survey, conducted by the CMO Council and Ebiquity, was focused on how satisfied CMOs were about receiving the right kind of data from their agencies. More than 80% said they were looking for usable data that helped marketing positively affect the bottom line.
We at Stealing Share have longed preached that advertising agencies are creative, but not strategic and rarely data-driven in any important way. Oh sure, they may conduct usage and attitude studies, but they are not useful in developing strategies that, ahem, steal market share.
You see, the dirty little secret of advertising agencies is that they want to build long-term relationships with clients, so they end up with data and strategies that mean the most to the client. Not to the target audience they are trying to persuade.
That’s the reason why most advertising has become a waste of time and money. It’s the reason why you see so much TV advertising, for example, that is basically a 30-second skit with the company’s logo appearing at the end. Those ads may win awards and go viral on YouTube, but they do very little to improve the bottom line.
Interestingly, the survey showed that CMOs are having to be more accountable to the company’s bottom line, which means that CEOs are sensing that they are foolishly spending money on flashy campaigns that don’t really steal market share.
Some advice to CMOs.
Now, you can read all about how Stealing Share makes this happen on our site. But I’d like to give CMOs some advice.
Look from the outside-in and not inside-out. Conventional wisdom is to identify something important about the brand and give life to that importance. That’s inside-out thinking and results in messaging that is identical to your competition.
But brand is never about you. Instead, it’s about the beliefs and needs of the people you must influence. Not in the things you make or your company itself.
That means you must ask more of the research you conduct. Your research must go beyond usage and attitudes, and more into switching triggers and precepts, the values that actually move audiences.
The strange part of that approach is that many companies and CMOs don’t want to hear that because they may find out that what they consider important about their brand is actually not important at all to target audiences. You have to slay the sacred cows and look at things objectively.
It’s no surprise to me that CMOs are getting more pressure because the state of advertising has been overtaken by those looking to win awards, affirm what CMOs already believe and entertain an audience.
The simple truth is those goals are not important. Stealing market share is the only goal.