Corporate Eye

Research Shows Advertising Creative is More Important than Media Buy

presentationNew research from comScore ARS Group provides a new vision of the marketing budget with creative positioned to take a bigger chunk of the upfront investment in advertising than media placement.  The question is whether or not companies will actually take the research to heart and apply it to their own marketing strategies and budgets.

Let’s take a closer look at the comScore ARS Group research findings.

First, here is what comScore ARS Group researched:

comScore ARS Group conducted research to determine, “the importance of sound strategy and strong creative elements in driving effective campaign execution for TV and digital advertising campaigns.”  This wasn’t a quick study of a small population.  According to comScore, the research was “extensive.”

Next, here is what comScore ARS Group learned:

Jeff Cox, executive vice president of ComScore ARS explains, “Based on our years of research in this space, we’ve determined that the quality of creative is four times more important than the characteristics of the media plan in generating sales.  In fact, creative is the single most important factor and accounts for over half the changes in a brand’s sales over time.”

Furthermore, the study found that 70% of campaigns with an “above-average creative strategy” in the study resulted in “above-average execution,” while 65% of campaigns with a “below-average creative strategy” resulted in “below-average execution.”  In other words, ads with a strong creative strategy provide the results companies are looking for far more frequently and consistently than campaigns that lack creative strategy.

The comScore ARS study found that the marketing variable which influence changes in brand sales in the United States in terms of the contribution those variables provide to sales changes are as follows:

  • Ad quality = 52%
  • Media plan = 13%
  • Other (price, promotion, distribution, etc.) = 35%

Finally, here is what brand managers and marketers should start to think about based on the comScore research data:

On the surface, these are some compelling statistics, particularly at a time when marketers and brand managers are spending a lot of time on building relationships and social media connections rather than investing in the creative side of advertising.  If nothing else, these statistics should act as a warning that the creative aspect of marketing and advertising is far from over.  In fact, if this research is accurate, creative investments should still hold a significant portion of the marketing budget.

This is just one more factor that marketing executives need to include in the strategy and budget planning process to ensure marketing fundamentals (including great creative) aren’t forgotten in favor of newer opportunities (such as social media).  The best marketing plan will be well-integrated with a mixture of traditional and new media initiatives, all supported by great creative.

What do you think of the comScore ARS research data?  Will it affect your marketing budget and strategy?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Image: stock.xchng

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.