Mark Ritson contradicts Byron Sharp: The more attention customers pay to advertising, the better : Marketing journal

There is a lot of evidence that longer exposure to advertising increases brand recall and choice, according to global brand management icon Mark Ritson. This brings to mind the recent performance of Byron Sharp, who, on the contrary, claimed that there was no point in paying for more attention.

In the last few days, an interesting discussion has flared up in the world of brand management. It was ignited by Byron Sharp with his presentation at the Mi3-LinkedIn B2B Next Summit, where he challenged the well-known mantra of brand marketers, that the sacred rule of dividing the marketing budget according to the 60:40 methodwith which Peter Filed and Les Binet came.

Byron Sharp is the director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, who certainly has something to say about advertising. At the beginning of his lecture, he recalled two golden rules that, according to him, people in advertising should follow:

1. Address, if possible, everyone in the selected category

2. Spread the budget into different locations and time slots

But when it came to the question of attention, a heated debate ensued. According to Sharp, our task is to get some attention, we do not logically want to make an advertisement that no one will see. But paying quite a bit more for it to get more interactions? Sharp says no. He puts the whole statement in context with an advertisement at a bus stop.

“Am I going to watch an ad at a bus stop for 10 seconds? I need it? No, don’t be fooled by that. It’s just the good old idea that we need customer participation, but you don’t really need it.”

However, according to Mark Ritson, Byron Sharp is fundamentally wrong about the value of attention. He argues evidence from companies such as Lumen, Dentsu and or the work of Professor Karen Nelson-Field. He thinks it’s important for marketers to follow this debate because it will affect their work.

Zero visibility?

Everyone agrees on the value of visibility. When Sharp refers to reach, he means not only those ads that exist, but above all those that leave something in us, we remember them. The official term for this is “fixation”. It means that the customer’s eyes will stop for 100 milliseconds. Without fixation, it is impossible to tell if you have reached the potential customer or not.

According to Ritson, billions are spent on ads that run but are never shown because customers don’t actually get to them. They can be played hidden behind another advertisement, or run on a digital billboard only after we drive past it.

The key is that the invisibility limits are not evenly distributed. Take mobile web advertising, for example, where more than a third of formats aren’t being shown to audiences, according to research by Lumen (chart below). This type of ads is a complete waste of your budget.

But visibility is only the first step on the road to efficiency. Another, and much more important, is the one that leads from display advertising kradvertisement that its target group will actually see.

Until recently, media was traded on view opportunities rather than the actual number of people who saw an ad, because while agencies could estimate how many people walked past a billboard, watched TV, or saw an ad on their phone, they didn’t know the exact way. how to calculate the proportion of those who actually looked at it.

Beyond fixation: dwell time is key

Although it makes sense to point out the differences between the declared reach of the given content and the actual one with the attention the media will give him across the board, no one disputes that you need attention to make an impact. However, according to Ritson, Sharp is wrong that more attention does not lead to better results. According to him, in order to understand Sharp’s flawed reasoning, we need to ask ourselves two questions:

  • First, does the so-called dwell time differ significantly in different advertising media?

  • Second, does time have any significant effect on the effect of advertising?

The answer to the first question is an unequivocal yes. average dwell time varies for different ad formats. Once the eyes focus on something, the amount of time they devote to advertising is not the same here either. But is this difference significant, asks Ritson? Does double or triple the length of stay with an ad affect its impact? The answer is an unequivocal yes.

In several experiments with brands in Australia, Great Britain and the USA, Dentsu company investigated that there is a clear correlation between dwell time and evoked memory. Giving an ad 2 seconds of attention has up to a 28% impact on recall, where consumers remember both the ad and the brand behind the ad. If however you increase the dwell time to 14 seconds, almost doubling the length of the evoked memory. The same ad brings a double effect if the dwell time is extended.

What about further discussion?

The truth is that Byron Sharp’s lecture sparked a really intense discussion in the field of brand management. Even in the Czech environment under this the post sparked a very nice debate. Richard Mareček (head from brand Dedoles) and Mark Roaring (Alza) embarked on a more detailed analysis of Sharp’s claims, which they relied on their long-term experience in brand management as well as their knowledge of industry literature.

Marek Říha is inclined to believe that Sharp’s claims make sense if they have a narrower focus. And argues with his sentence: “You have to find a way to reach everyone, but for an effective investment.” And he asks: “How to do it so that the investment is sustainable in the long term?” Richard Mareček counters him:

“EB (=Ehrenberg-Bass Institute) does not claim that we have to beat people with advertising and be everywhere like, for example, Alza (which strategically does it brilliantly). He talks about brands choosing one category entry point, occupying it, and then moving on to the next one. If I am a plant-based milk competitor, for example, we first go to organic stores as an alternative for vegans. Then we can move into food as an alternative for those who have a problem with lactose and after a few years we will make a TV commercial with the message that we are like milk, but made for people and not for little cows.”

It also sets the example of a craft cola that will strive to be in all the cool bars. They think that being accessible to everyone for a brand means being accessible to everyone within a category entry point. It is the dominance in this category that allows the brand to move further.

In the end, the gentlemen agreed that Byron Sharp, with his scientific rigor, is a modern-day Don Quixote, made fun of by Mark Ritson. But isn’t it interesting that Sharp is bringing new wind into the world of brand management with his controversial statements?

Resources: Marketing WeekLinkedIn

Editor’s tip:

Source: presentation by Mark Ritson

Mark Ritson he’s a Melbourne marketing professor with the vocabulary of an East London cobbler, and he’s also a global brand management icon. At the Marketing Festival, he gave a lecture “Everything you wanted to know about marketing in 40 minutes“. Look, se what is the main message from it.


The article is in Czech

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