Marketing and Research Consulting for a Brave New World
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There’s a rule in creative problem solving, “never accept the first right answer”.

The second right answer is hard to come by.  It requires a good BS detector, perseverance at amassing facts, ferreting out case histories and then distilling all that into synthesized learning.  It must be compelling because you are challenging the incumbent; the first right answer.  The second right answer must come from knowledge.

In media, the first right answer seemed to be that consumers don’t want to be interrupted by advertising.  We heard, “The interrupt and repeat model is dead; it’s all about contagious conversation.”  If true, media chaos!  However, there is a second right answer and it is all available in a marvelous collection of 21 papers in the June issue of the ARF’s Journal of Advertising Research. In this issue, we have proven empirical generalizations that are based on thousands of industry examples.  Assumption and thought pieces didn’t make the grade; table stakes were hard facts analyzed in a scientific manner as judged by our two guest editors, noted professors Jerry Wind and Byron Sharp.

This issue came from a collection of 40+ papers presented at Wharton in December from media and marketing leaders from around the world, on both the practitioner and academic side.

I think it was a great watershed moment for our industry that we chose to take a different path and embrace knowledge.  It undeniably proves what research and analytics can bring to the table… a second right answer that can reshape marketing thought.

Those who are coming to AM 4.0 will get a copy of this Journal issue and hear a special panel of some of the authors (I am proud to be one of those).  Also, if your organization belongs to the ARF you will get copies of this issue.  Those who receive it will have an advantage in the pursuit of advertising effectiveness and efficiency. (The issue is also available for purchase if you are not a member and not planning to attend the ARF Audience Measurement conference.)

Oh by the way, here are just a few of the 21 empirical generalizations:

  • TV advertising works as well as in the past
  • A simple formula for setting ad budgets to maximize profit is offered
  • The impact on sales can be huge of online advertising that never involved a click
  • Proof that in-store digital signage can lead to double-digit sales lift and learnings about how to maximize impact
  • The average elasticity of sales to advertising is 0.1 (doubling advertising leads to a 10% immediate increase in sales), and the long-term multiplier is typically twice the short term effect.

Here’s to perseverance and second right answers.

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