Blog Post

Media Creative vs. Execution: What Matters Most?

kristin moody
kristin moody 02.21.2014

We, as marketing analysts, like to be able to measure things.  In the current landscape of Big Data, this has become easier as data tracking has become more granular and detailed.  We can track, model and quantify the impact of many executional media elements.  But, what about the “creative” or “quality” side of media?   How much does it matter and how can marketing analytics help address it?


Quantifying the Importance

We know that there are many executional elements that influence media effectiveness and efficiency.  For TV, things like flighting, airing levels, copy length mix, daypart, Network/Cable, etc. all impact in-market TV response.  In addition, when planning for digital media, it’s important to consider site mix, partners, site placement, etc.]


Although a great deal of questions and discussion tend to be focused on media planning, we have found that the copy/creative quality is, on average, the largest driver of ROI success.  With over a decade in servicing many of the world’s leading brands and organizations, we have assembled an extensive database of ROI and marketing mix learnings.  This database provides for a benchmarking perspective that can be applied across brands, categories and industries.  For more details on the power of this database, see our ROI Genome Project page.


What our analysis shows is that copy quality is most commonly cited as the largest ROI improvement opportunity across all TV levers.  In other words, the quality of the creative itself – the amount of branding, communication of benefits, level of interest or engagement – is the most important factor in whether or not media will perform well in driving sales and ROI. And we’re starting to see a similar trend in digital as well, though perhaps less pronounced than TV.



Overlaying other Research

Overlaying other research, such as equity and awareness tracking, pre-market copy tests, etc. with in-market results can optimize upfront planning and enhance chances of in-market success.  Establishing a linkage between pre-market copy test metric(s) and in-market response will validate these tracking indicators by understanding which are most predictive of in-market response.  For example, the chart below highlights a case study in which we overlaid a client’s pre-market copy test results with marketing mix sales response for over 20 copies tested.  What we found is that certain Pre-Market Copy Test Metrics – Metric C in this example – were strong indicators of in-market consumer sales response.  Knowing this, the client could optimize copies based on this metric prior to going in-market to increase chances of success and minimize waste.




So, how much does creative matter?  A lot.  The bottom line is when all else is held constant, the difference in copy content and quality can significantly impact in-market sales response to media.  Whether you’re trying to assess a promotional vs. equity ad, a comical vs. serious commercial, including a 5 second tag at the end highlighting a sub line, or visually showing the product/service for X% of on-air time, learning through marketing mix modeling and other research can help determine what types of communication and campaigns drive consumer behavior for your business.  And the best way to get this done is by testing different situations, keeping your fingers on the pulse, fine-tuning, and executing with excellence.