A new study from Westwood One and Ad Perceptions finds that marketers and agencies perceive targeting, brand, creative and reach as their campaigns’ top drivers for sales. However, does that really match up with reality? Here’s what the survey reveals.
Per the survey of more than 300 marketers and media agencies, respondents believe targeting is the greatest driver of sales — with an average campaign contribution to sales of 22%. With marketers and agencies perceiving targeting as one of the biggest sales drivers, it’s no surprise that audience targeting is a crucial element of a campaign, making it not only a top priority, but also one of the biggest challenges marketers face.
However, it appears marketers may be greatly overestimating the power of targeting. According to a 2017 report from Nielsen and Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) that evaluated 500 CPG campaigns, targeting only contributes to 9% of the sales effect, suggesting that marketers believe the tactic has more than twice the power it actually has.
Marketers also overestimate the impact of some media buying and planning components. According to marketers, context (14%) and recency (12%) together contribute another quarter (26%) toward driving sales. However, Nielsen’s report found that these elements only generate about 7% of sales lift combined, with recency contributing the majority of that effort (5%).
Reach and Creative Drive Sales
On the other hand, marketers appear to be underestimating creative and reach, at least if the NCS study results are to be trusted. While marketers attribute 34% of sales effect to creative and reach (17% each), these elements are behind 69% of sales according to the NCS analysis, with reach being responsible for 22%.
Creative is by far the most underestimated element. Nearly half (47%) of sales can be attributed to creative, per the NCS report, making it the biggest driver of sales. Moreover, despite being valued by 7 in 10 (69% of) US companies, only about one-quarter of marketers say creative dominates their organization.
In fact, creative has an impact on consumer behavior. Some 85% say they’re more likely to trust a brand with high-quality creative, while half say they’ve been deterred from purchasing a product because of a poorly designed ad or website. Per Nielsen, the only place where media plays more of a role than creative is television. Here, creative only contributes to 37% of sales generation while media planning is responsible for 50%.
It is worth noting that while Westwood One and Ad Perceptions compare their findings to that of the Nielsen report, that research is a few years old and there is a possibility that findings would be different if the same research would be done today.
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About the Data: Findings are based on a January 2021 survey of 305 marketers and media agencies.