Gauteng Business News

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ADVERTISING: Creative Awards or Return on Client Investment?


Recent Gauteng Business News

There are many great advertising agencies in South Africa that have won countless local and international awards because of their excellent creative work, says Johanna McDowell, Managing Director of the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company,.

So are clients really looking for an awards driven agency or an agency that produces a good Return On Investment (ROI)?
In a pitching process, or indeed in their existing agency relationships, clients are not only looking for creative and strategic accuracy, they also want to know what the advertising campaign will do for their brand. Clients are interested in campaigns that will change the behaviour and buying patterns of their target market, how the campaign has impacted on the company and what the potential return on investment could be.

Return on investment is the most common measurement for the success of a campaign. There are several ways to determine ROI, but the most simplistic method is a measurement of cost invested in an advertising campaign vs. the sales generated from the campaign.
Advertising ROI demonstrates how advertisers can optimise their media buys for example. Return on investment is an important part of any business strategy, especially in these tough economic times.

Clients invest millions of rands into advertising and this is a huge expense in the marketing budget and indeed in the overall company budget. In an ideal world clients, including their procurement departments, would like to see a documented return on investment in all campaigns completed by their appointed agencies.

Procurement departments are increasingly turning to marketing services to cut costs within the company. Therefore Procurement departments are increasingly involved in the agency selection process and look for service providers that not only produce good work, but can provide competitive prices along with a track record of obtaining strong levels of ROI for their clients.

Awards are an important “hygiene” factor to clients which means that agencies are expected to deliver strong creative work as a minimum in order to generate good results, attract great quality staff and so on. If agencies are winning awards based on creativity only, then this clearly cannot be of major importance to clients when weighed up against a business case for a brand or product.

However, clients do pay attention to awards particularly to those that are linked to solid results from their campaigns. These results “speak” to clients in their own language.

While creative awards are great honours in the advertising industry, because the recognition is vital for staff motivation, talent creation and growth, professional advertising people know and can prove that great creative work “sells”.

In our experience and particularly during the pitching process, it is vital that agencies demonstrate that they take as much pride in the tangible results generated by great advertising as they do in the great creative work that wins awards for their clients.


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