Monday, May 4, 2009

CFO's Calling Ad Spending a Necessary Evil

Jon Njos --- Media Director/Partner--Stanton & Everybody Advertising + Design

I’m paraphrasing, but that is essentially the prevailing thoughts that have come out in a recent survey of CFO’s by DiMassimo Goldstein, a New York based Brand Strategy agency.

One hundred forty-two CFO’s responded to a survey conducted in April with 60% of them saying they would not be increasing advertising and marketing budgets next year. They are also not very confident in the jobs that their marketing partners are doing for them, with a third of CFO’s expressing dismay with the fees they pay for those services.

The never-ending battle for those of us in advertising………the perceived quality, (or lack thereof), of the services we provide. In the almost 25 years I’ve been in the business, there has always been the specter of the question, “Will this increase my business?” There are numerous ways to answer this question, but it has more weight now, in these economic times, than ever. If clients are going to spend money on advertising, they want results and they want them now. Something measurable and directly related to the money spent on a particular effort.

It’s difficult in these times to talk to clients about brand building, and engaging consumers with the merits of your product or service and create a relationship that will ultimately result in sales and continuing sales in the future. What has made it difficult for agencies is the internet. Not the internet itself per se, but the advent of web analytics. With the ability to use a 3rd Party Ad Server, companies can track consumer behavior, from the first visit to their web site to an ultimate purchase or some kind of conversion that is deemed to be important. Tangible reporting with numbers attributed to creative executions and placements on web sites, days of week, time of day, etc. In the prehistoric days before analytics, the only real measure of advertising success was the effect on a company’s sales. This usually took a month or months to figure out after the campaign was complete.

What we, as advertising and marketing professionals, are constantly facing is trying to justify what we do and why it’s important. The advertising process really hasn’t changed, but the expectations have completely changed. That’s why it’s more important than ever to confirm, up front, with clients on what their expectations are for any advertising effort. What do they hope to achieve? What is the measure of that success? What is their time frame for this measurement?

We are in a service business and are constantly managing expectations of our clients, but we also have to manage our own expectations. The reality is, advertising agencies have to be even more tactical to ensure attributable and measurable results for all media efforts and set goals and expectations with client participation.

Worth Reading:


  1. This is from those ambulance chasing swine mask guys. No credibility. Unless you have a global health scare and want to make a buck.

  2. I just googled that agency. That swine flu mask gig is just wrong. Shame. It's also the same place that did Tappening. And they have some really good clients.

    Weird with all the good ink they get that they do the flu masks. That's a disconnect if you ask me. DiMassimo must have been sleeping that day.