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Best practice evaluation guide published

Four communications bodies have come up with a 'best practice' guide to help agencies and clients improve the ways in which they employ evaluation techniques

Four trade bodies have joined forces to publish their first best practice guide to help clients and agencies alike evaluate all aspects of their marketing communications, after cross-sectoral research revealed that few clients believe evaluation techniques are used effectively.

The evaluation guide from the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA), the Marketing Communication Consultants Association (MCCA), the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA), is the third in a series of best practice guidelines from the trade bodies. It looks at the latest thinking on evaluation and lists three key methods that should be used as part of the process: time series analysis, regional analysis and competitive analysis.

ìEvaluation touches everything from proving the case for communication investment to the boardroom, justifying marketing spend as well as how agencies are paid and how their ideas can be valued,î said Sven Olsen, chairman of the IPA Value of Advertising Committee and executive vice president of FCB Europe.

Through the guide, the four associations aim to address a number of issues that arose through their research. According to figures, 95 per cent of clients said that they evaluate processes, but less than 20 per cent of this group look at the impact communications activities have on profits. Some 90 per cent of clients believe evaluation data should be used in remunerating agencies, while 65 per cent find it hard to get data for evaluation from relevant sources.

Over 90 per cent of advertising agency planners and account handlers said evaluation was an essential tool, yet just 36 per cent admitted to having any formal training.

ìMore than ever today there is greater need for accountability and justification of all expenditure, so advertisers and their agencies must work collaboratively to quantify the effects of their marketing communications,î commented Malcolm Earnshaw, director-general of the ISBA.

ìEvaluation is vital and, as the research set out in the guide makes clear, it is increasingly an intrinsic part of the marketing communications process,î he added.

The guide offers practical tips and insights from experts in evaluation from each communication discipline and members of the ISBA. It also urges companies and agencies to evaluate beyond a short-term increase in sales and look at the longer-term value of their brands.

2nd September 2008

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