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What Sticks: Why Most Advertising Faiis and How to Guarantee Yours Succeeds
by Rex Briggs and Greg Stuart Kaplan Business, September 1, 2006, ISBN: 1419584332. $25.00, 304 pp.

JOSEPH T. PLUMMER Co-Editor joe@thearf.org

a long way toward ensuring success of a new venture. This is often true with new-product launches. I have to assume the success of new books as well. What Sticks by Rex Briggs, the founder of Marketing Evolution, and Greg Stuart, the president of Interactive Advertising Bureau, has arrived in the market with wonderful timing. The ANA (Association of National Advertisers) found in a member survey this year that "accountability" is the number one issue on the mind of advertisers. Consultants and market media research firms are offering old and new analytic models to confirm the relationship between advertising spending and marketplace results at a dizzying pace, and "C-level" managers are asking tough questions about return on their increasing investment in marketing. So a book offering "to guarantee your advertising will succeed" has a wonderful sense of timing.
GOOD TIMING OFTEN GOES

rigorous methodology to try and identify via survey measurement the key factors in advertising spending, rrtedia mix, and timing that correlate with marketplace results. Overall, the authors found that 47% of the campaigns studied did not work to advertiser expectations. While this is a discouraging average, the majority of the book covers ways to improve effectiveness and point-out critical errors in go-tomarket spending allocation. One of the helpful aspects to What Sticks is that it extols the virtues of learning from mistakes— not trying tO cover them up.

"When the Japanese find a defect in the manufacturing process, they call it a treasure. Finding it, dissecting it, and figuring out how to eliminate it is the path to improved productivity." (p. 31)

If you care about accountability, you should read this book. It won't guarantee success, but it will force you to think harder about the need for and best ways to measure advertising performance. The strength of the book is that it is based upon research—smart, systematic, and focused research in the market with consumers. There is, of course, with any book, a heavy dose of opinions particularly in defining the overall problem of waste in the early chapters, and its dramatic discussion in the failure of others to know empirically how effective or ineffective their spending levels, choice of media, and brand strategies are performing. The authors feel that, in general, marketers are hiding behind an "advertising is part art and part science" philosophy. The great strength of this book is the 36 market studies supported by IAB members and conducted by Marketing Evolution over a 4-year period for 30 Fortune 200 companies. The research uses an in-market experimentation framework and DOI: 10.250VS0021849906000511

The majority of this useful book is built around a process framework the authors developed based upon the studies conducted for 30 different marketers. They call the framework COP with components of scenario planning + measurement + action. Briggs and Stuart demonstrate that by using this framework and being disciplined in research, you can get better results with the same budget. This is what marketers are looking for today as increasing media and marketing costs do have elasticities around them. The factors discussed as critical in the scenario planning and measurement components of COP are segmentation based upon motivation, the brand message, media allocation, and intra media optimization. On this latter point, the research often shows that television allocation is overused and the internet and print are underutilized. Throughout this well-written book are gems from the 36 studies that in some way reflect the

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BOOK REVIEW

gap in "common knowledge, but not common practice." My favorite example is:

For McDonalds we found that its advertising created much more impact during the four hour period around lunchtime, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In fact, they found they could increase performance by more then 50% just by buying the lunch time period. Psychologists explain this: when consumers are hungry (around lunch time) they are much more receptive to the meaning McDonalds is trying to convey, (p. 183)

Finally, the book also challenges some widespread media planning practices based upon the research they conducted— impressions and reach. One not so small point about media planning is that not all impressions are created equal.... The McDonalds ad works significantly better at certain times and on certain websites, so reach isn't the same as effectiveness. The fact that reach isn't effective should not be a shocker. But the fact that reach isn't really reach should raise eyebrows among anyone who has ever spent a single dollar on media. Reach is a slippery media term. (p. 172) I urge everyone connected to marketing and advertising to read What Sticks. It is timely, useful, and empirically based. There is just one flaw in my view—the title. A title more reflective of the content

These and many other gems come from the in-market experimental design approach practiced by Briggs and his research teams at Marketing Evolution. (For a full review of the method, please read The ARF Research Review at www. thearf.org.)

and value to marketers would be Reducing Waste. What Sticks suggests equal treatment of the power of brand strategy, engagement in the advertising, and budget allocation/media mix. (At least to me before reading.) The majority of the book, however, and the research findings are on budget allocation/media mix as they relate to brand performance metrics. Don't get me wrong, this is incredibly valuable stuff and during this period of massive technological and media innovation spending mix and allocation are critical for success. But don't expect to learn that much about winning brand strategies or to read about highly engaging campaign insights. Thank you. Rex and Greg, for publishing this much needed book that should open our minds to new approaches and smarter media investment and strengthen our practices for improving advertising effectiveness in the 21st century,

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