Growth Marketing Beware: Liz Truss’ failures show the importance of Independent Analysis 

By Aidan Mark, Effectiveness & Media Strategy Consultant at CvE

UK political news of recent weeks must surely be a little triggering for many responsible for growth marketing. ‘Growth plans’ are discussed ad nauseum so it must be of some small relief to know that responsibility for the growth plans and all the scrutiny that entails exists in government rather than the marketing team. 

It’s a tough time to be in politics, as Liz Truss can surely testify having served out the shortest term of any Prime Minister. Her growth plan failed spectacularly when faced with scrutiny from the markets. Rishi Sunak now faces equally daunting prospect with crises on multiple fronts, both at home and abroad. Thankfully from his perspective, his demeanour of financial responsibility has the backing of the markets. For now, at least. 

Tough Times for Growth Marketing 

And UK politicians are not the only people having a hard time of it right now, as many marketers are facing an equally perilous predicament. Years of Covid restrictions and the resulting economic policies have led to a crisis in consumer confidence across most global markets. Supply chains have been disrupted, labour markets remain tight, inflation is a global problem, and the result is that marketers suffer in every step of their operation whilst under constant pressure to deliver both ROI and growth. 

Consumers are not well positioned to pay any additional costs, a situation made worse as the marketer must also now pay inflated media prices to reach those squeezed consumers. The issue is further compounded when added to the view that marketing effectiveness has been in decline since the early noughties, meaning recent issues are additional to these existing challenges. 

Depleted Data from Marketing Analytics 

The data signals provided in digital environments, so often seen as the future and potentially saviour of marketing, is also facing significant headwinds. Privacy legislation in Europe and the US and the ongoing battles between GAFA tech giants mean that much of the abundance of data we have had access to is now restricted. 

Given this bleak picture, it is of some surprise to learn that more than half of brands do not have any defined internal role responsible for marketing effectiveness. This is surprising because not listening to the independent experts proved to one of the crucial downfalls for Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, when they chose to ignore the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) when announcing her now retracted Mini-Budget. 

An Independent View of Marketing Analytics 

Businesses and national economies are both complex ecosystems and should be treated as such. Both are subject to multiple investment inputs which hopefully combine to generate growth. How those inputs and outputs relate to each other is both complicated and highly debated… even from one expert to another. What they have in common is that both are best understood with a data driven and evidence-based approach. To ensure trust is baked into these highly important investment decisions, someone independent needs to be responsible.  

As Liz Truss discovered, in politics it goes without saying that significant strategic and budgetary decisions should be validated by the independent OBR. But in business and marketing, that validation process is often dictated by someone within the marketing department, or worse yet, validated by no one at all. Anyone who has worked in a sizeable marketing knows that attribution is often a matter of significant internal debate. 

Analytics-Driven Renaissance for Growth Marketing 

Thankfully there is some light at the end of the tunnel for marketers, if not Liz Truss. There is recent evidence that marketers are having an effectiveness renaissance driven by digital marketing. Brands are finally showing improvements to incremental ROI, contributing to genuine growth. The type of attribution that can be scrutinised by experts and that you’d be proud to hold up to market scrutiny. 

It has always been hyped that digital media with its immediacy and data feedback loops would bring some sort of marketing nirvana which never really materialised. But improvements in technology, research techniques and AI equip the marketer with new skills and disciplines, giving early adopters a growth advantage, which is finally started to pay back. At CvE, we believe all of this comes together to develop a new era of marketing effectiveness best practice. 

Building a Marketing Effectiveness Mindset 

In this marketing effectiveness content series, we will outline how basic marketing analytics should be seen as an evolution that grows with the size of the business. Brands typically start with basic reporting that evolves into attribution. But the largest and most successful brands must adopt a more complex approach in order to recognise the full- and long-term contribution of marketing: 

  • What is marketing effectiveness? 
  • The challenges in measuring marketing effectiveness 
  • The role of data & AI 
  • Technology, tools & techniques that enable marketing effectiveness 
  • Where does your business fit within a marketing effectiveness sophistication model? 

This is the first article on a series of Marketing Effectiveness. My second article explores what marketing effectiveness is, and my third piece explains the challenges in measuring marketing effectiveness.

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