16th November 2022

Planning for effective marketing outcomes – 'Starting out right' with Mark Ritson

We’re big fans of the On Strategy podcast and were excited when show presenter, Fergus announced a ‘Planning for Effectiveness’ series in association with WARC.

Across six episodes, Fergus interviews guests including James Hurman, Mark Ritson, Harry Davies, Julian Cole, Greg Hahn, Karen Nelson-Field, and others.

Effectiveness isn't just about tallying up what happens at the end, but about crafting what happens from the start. Separate episodes will cover budgeting and objective setting, defining and measuring metrics, writing the creative brief, creating work that works, and perfecting your comms plan.

First up, the man, the legend, Mark Ritson. Mark doesn’t hold back from calling out BS and "tactically obsessed marketers who can’t TikTok themselves out of a boardroom!”

Mark has a way of simplifying the complex and giving clear advice in a clear and succinct way. Here are the key points from Episode #1 Planning for Effective Outcomes.

Mark Ritson Main

Summary of the episode

  • Marketers should never start with a blank piece of paper. Good diagnosis should always precede marketing strategy
  • As a client, the best practice is to define your strategy before you brief an agency. In some circumstances, your agency can help you define your strategy (we can do this!)
  • Annual budget setting is traditionally done top-down by the FD rather than bottom-up. The classic '10% of advertising to sales ratio' is BS. The figure is plucked out of the air without consulting with the marketing department
  • Mark recommends putting the 'cart before the horse' – having a strategy, plan and clear objectives to define how much it'll cost to achieve, then 'bottom up' the proposed numbers
  • Both short and long-term objectives need to be considered, but client-side marketers must hit the short number before they think about the long
  • A handful of objectives appear to be practical and potentially successful. Some should be funnel-based objectives and others more generic
  • 'Increase sales/market share' isn't an objective. That's like a football coach telling his team to win the game
  • Funnel objectives apply from top to the bottom. Easier to measure at the bottom, and harder at the top. Use benchmarks and calculate the incremental pound value
  • How do you calculate forecasted share? Remember it's based on projections and unknown market conditions with a degree of variance. You don’t have to be exact!
  • The reason we need a brand is to reduce price sensitivity and increase profitability
Kaleidico 3V8xo5gbusk Unsplash
  • ROI teaches you to invest all your money into short-term sales activation. Short-term tactics make you more money in year 1, but you won't make more money in years 2, 3, 4, and beyond. That's where long-term brand building comes into play
  • Short and long-term positioning
    • Long term is 'when I think of the brand I think of 3-4 things,' and the distinctive assets used
    • Short term is the classic positioning statement- 'To X segment, our new product is Y vs the Z competitors and will deliver X benefits
  • Don't specific tactics. Let the agency do that. Focus on the strategy
  • Media and creativity are equally important in effectiveness.
  • Creativity deserves its place, as it's the 2nd most important factor driving effectiveness. The most effective is how big your brand is already

Interested in finding out more?

We hope this summary of the first episode in the WARC series has been helpful and inspiring. If you are in need of a marketing agency to help you with your next campaign, drop us an email, and let's chat! [email protected].

Sign up for our latest insights, ideas and inspiration