Advertising is a “lawless game of chance” according to the CEO of market research firm Forethought.
Speaking at Mumbrella’s Marketing Science Ideas Xchange, Ken Roberts, CEO of Forethought, said 99% of advertising failure is because marketers aren’t rationalising reasons to deliver an advertisement.
“Why is so much advertising failing? The reason is because it’s just a lawless game of chance indiscernibly better than gut instinct,” Roberts said.
“I believe our focus should be empirical dissection of behaviour in both ways, rational and emotional, and then to develop a creative brief based on these drivers.”
The session discussed how marketing science could help creatives quantify the drivers of consumption.
Roberts said brands need to stop focusing on “made up” measures such as brand equity and “global norms” and test for “validated drivers.”
“You are interested in what the drivers of purchase behaviour are for your product in your category,” he said.
“If you’re trying to influence sales, than that’s what you are setting about to influence, why do you need to measure some made up measure called brand equity? You are seeking to change people’s behaviour.”
Also in the session, Roberts said building associations with emotional events can be an effective way of communicating with an audience.
Giving the example of beer brand XXXX, Roberts explained the association with Queenslanders and the State of Origin links the brand with emotion.
“It’s not actually building emotion into XXXX it’s about building the association of XXXX into State of Origin,” he told the audience.
However, Roberts said measuring emotions is most effective if marketers can understand implicit and discrete emotions such as love and pride.
“If you’re using physiological ways of measuring emotion you are wasting your time. If you are using facial coding – you’re semi-wasting your time,” he said.
Roberts said the best creative work comes when agencies are “constrained” by this process of analysing rational consumer behaviour.
“If the creative agency argues to you that you shouldn’t be constraining the creative guys that’s not right,” he said.
“The best creative comes when they are constrained, when they are having work through this process where they’re fenced.”