A new report released this month by comScore highlights the importance of quality creative to the success of an advertising campaign. The data from comScore shows that ad quality is actually the single biggest factor influencing the number of sales generated from a campaign, regardless of medium.
“Based on our years of research in this space, we’ve determined that the quality of the creative is four times more important than the characteristics of the media plan in generating sales,” said Jeff Cox, executive vice president of comScore ARS. “In fact, creative is the single most important factor and accounts for over half the changes in a brand’s sales over time. Getting the creative right is absolutely essential, and yet its importance so often gets minimized in the process of developing an ad campaign. Now is the time for advertisers using digital, as well as more traditional media, to get serious about optimizing their creative on the front end so they don’t get a rude awakening when the ads don’t work and they are left wondering what went wrong.”
Cox also added,
“Though often overlooked, getting the creative strategy right from the start is essential if an advertiser wants its creative execution to actually perform. Doing so will improve the likelihood of achieving a successful campaign that will generate increased sales. A sub-par upfront strategy is a virtual guarantee that the execution is destined for failure.”
The importance of ad quality and a strong creative strategy is something that we here at Hodgson/Meyers have known for some time and one of the reasons why the campaigns we create for our clients enjoy such success.
Even in mediums such as direct mail where pundits loudly proclaim the medium as “dead” Hodgson/Meyers campaigns have successfully met and even exceeded our clients advertising goals. Take, for example, the direct mail campaign called “Fat Cat” that we created for WindStream Communications, one of the nations top providers of phone, high-speed Internet and digital TV services. The “Fat Cat” direct mail campaign ended up pulling in 55% more responses for WindStream than their average direct mail pieces. Proof that direct mail is not dead, but a very effective medium when done right with quality creative.
When Creative Director and Owner Tim Hodgson was asked about the role of quality creative in B2B advertising campaigns he had this to say;
“It may seem superfluous for an ad agency to say that the creative in a campaign is important. That’s like an auto dealer saying, ‘You know, the engine is really important in this car you’re buying.’ But consider the majority of the ‘creative’ that we consumers are bombarded with daily. Makes a person wonder how many agencies actually believe this.
It’s a hard thing to do, i.e. cut through our frenetic audio/visual environment and be seen, heard and, most important, remembered. Really hard. One could argue that just pounding your message relentlessly will work regardless of the creative. (Some cheesy mattress store jingles come to mind.)
And it’s even harder in the B2B space.
It’s one thing to proclaim “Coke tastes good” and show young people jumping around on the beach in an ad. It’s quite another to wrestle with the intricate issues that large and small businesses face and present clear solutions concerning complex products and services. B2B creative must be compelling enough to encourage action and move customers along in the sales process. Motivating business customers takes a thorough understanding of their pain points, as well as insightful creative that drives them to act (think of it as the “engine” in that car mentioned above).”
Tim makes an excellent point about the difference in creative between a B2B product and a consumer based one. B2B often has a more intricate and complex story to tell and the ability to tell that story in a compelling manner often comes down to the creative both from a visual and a copy perspective.
These days, many B2B companies are looking to cut corners and slash advertising budgets but it is clear from the data that when quality creative is sacrificed for lower budgets, it is the return on investment that is affected most. As our clients can attest, it pays to pay for quality creative. Especially when it comes to B2B advertising.