Eff Week learnings by Amy Stringman – Head of Planning at MAG

Last week saw me join my London colleagues for Eff Week, established by the IPA. Eff Week is a period where the core focus is Effectiveness; whether this is in the media channels selected, the creative, the brand position or the marketing growth targets. 

The week, which was brilliantly put together, had a range of speakers from various industries and backgrounds, covering all aspects of marketing to offer insight and knowledge for us all to take back to our agencies and companies. A core theme that kept cropping up was the argument over long vs short term and brand vs activation strategies, which even after debating for years and finding a common ground between the two, still seems to get conflicting views.


Tuesday 9th October

This marked Day 1 of Eff Week, with a full day of speakers, chaired by Naga Munchetty (BBC Breakfast), with an overarching theme of ‘Demonstration, not Justification’. 

This day had 15 individual sessions, ranging from; CEO Perspectives, an Artificial Intelligence Expert, Heads of Strategy, Insight and Analytics, Peter Field and Les Binet, as well as a few familiar faces with Matt Lucas and Reverend Richard Coles.

Below are a few things that I have taken away for:

The MAGnify team (our research and strategy department):

  • Be creative and try new things

  • Find your individuality and flourish – Take risks and succeed

  • Constantly learn and adapt in your role, the company and with clients 


  • Putting effectiveness into the right context matters – This includes the 60/40 rule from Field and Binet and re-working to suit individual clients

  • We need to be able to create Fame, Feeling and Fluency – A few advertising who do this well are Andrex, Compare the Market and M&Ms… who all use Fluent Devices (a fictitious character or characters created by a brand).

  • To build bridges with Finance Departments and to ensure that the same language/terminology is being used to work together on the results being driven.

  • Defining the main metrics and KPIs, where everyone can work to achieve them before the campaign is planned

  • Ensuring that everyone understands the brands core values and how they sit with consumers to endure that this core value is at the heart across all media platforms.


Wednesday 10th October

So, Wednesday was split into 2 core events that I attended; One for Brand Experience Effectiveness and the other for Planning Reimagined. 

Brand Experience Effectiveness

This session was with the IPM Experiential Council, who have spent the last 3 years looking into the effectiveness of Experiential Activity from various case studies.

In marketing, emotion is talked about regularly, ensuring that audiences are led by feeling rather than thinking – And with experiential marketing being the face of a brand and interacting with audiences and consumers face to face, the IPM feel that we should be able to measure its effectiveness.

The Effectiveness Model will measure Pre-Event, the Event and Post-Event, with the hope that within the next 12 months, there should be a planning tool available where you can select your sector or objective, and based on case studies, will guide you to the most effective experiential activity.

Interim Findings:

  • Word Of Mouth: Up to 90% tell up to 8 people of their experience

  • Email: 20% tell up to 3 people

  • Social Media: Up to 55% share with up to 300 people through social accounts


Planning Reimagined

Wednesday afternoon’s event took us across to Facebook, where we were presented different views on planning within agencies and companies. The talks where from a range of people including the Planning Director of Facebook, Content Director of WARC, Founder of Fawnbroke Collective and an agency Brand Strategy Director. We also had a case study presentation from Admiral, with their launch of FirstCarQuote, showcasing that their effectiveness started at the core of the business and not simply marketing.

Planning Teams – “Play to strengths, but most importantly, play together” 

This session focused on the planners role in the agency world, and how this seems to be changing and evolving, alongside with briefs from clients. Nowadays, we seem to set smaller briefs that are more audience targeted, with more reporting needed – Which squashes creativity and long term branding … 49% of planners say they spend too much time on tactical campaign elements.


Thursday 11th October

Thursday morning saw me going to an event titled ‘Lessons from Failure’, presented by Les Binet and David Golding. We spend so long measuring effectiveness by what worked and drove results … But what about the campaigns that didn’t drive the results – What can we learn from this?

So taking learnings from experience, their findings were:

  • Price promotions sounds like a quick win for clients, however in the long run, this sets consumers up to expect this type of promotion and doesn’t allow for mass marketing

  • The more you have audiences think, the less effective campaigns tend to be. Advertising needs to be feeling led, with instant brand recognition.

  • Whilst we understand that certain metrics are important to brands, there needs to be more of a focus on Market Share and Impacts, rather than Downloads and Clicks for the long term strategy.

  • As an agency, we can bring the knowledge from multiple campaigns and media landscapes – But need to find the uniqueness of the brand we are working with.

  • Understanding that consumers don’t always choose brands based on their differences – They sometimes choose brands for ease to their day to day life.

  • The campaign or creative idea is just as key as the execution.

  • Focusing on ROI can be a dangerous tactic, as we find it is more effective with smaller budgets.


Friday 12th October

On Friday, to end my week in London, we had a ‘Deep Dive’ looking over the IPA Effectiveness Award 2018 winners, looking into brands such as British Army, Audi, Lidl, Susuki, L’Oreal, The AA, Ellas Kitchen, Skittles and The Art Institute of Chicago.

We had an overview of the brands and their different campaigns, to see where they stood out in the market place, the strategy that they took and how this was effective.

For example, the L’Oreal True Match Campaign – They went from #5 to #1 in the UK, for the inclusion of different women (and one man), with different skin tones and backgrounds. The 23 people used within this campaign, all had a story to share, which L’Oreal did on social platforms and through TV, ensuring consumers engaged with the brand through emotion.

All in all, my Eff Week experience was great, viewing marketing and effectiveness in a new light, and bringing findings and new ways of thinking back to Media Agency Group.

ClickTap Media