Overcoming short-termism in advertising measurement

Patrick LaPointe

One of the most common obstacles for advertisers in the era of measurement and accountability is the pressure, most often applied via the finance department, for demonstrated payback in the short term. The question normally comes in the form of 'If we give you the money you're asking for, what return will we get?' The implication being that if you cannot demonstrate concrete evidence of payback in the same or next fiscal period (month, quarter, year) then the likelihood of funding approval declines.

The unfortunate knee-jerk reaction of the marketer is often to 'remind' the 'bean-counters' that advertising has both short- and long-term effects, and that the true benefit cannot be determined solely within the period during or immediately after the end of the campaign. This is frequently followed by an eloquent soliloquy about how awareness tends towards improvement in 'brand equity', and the importance of brand strength in motivating purchase behaviour.