Measuring ROI Eludes Half of Top Marketers

Some 50% Aren't Satisfied; Most Leery of Shops' Help

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It's considered the most important metric in marketing today, yet not even half of America's top marketers are satisfied with their companies' ability to measure return on investment. And of those successfully blazing the path to ROI measurement, most are doing so on their own: Fearing a "fox in the henhouse," only 36% rely on their agencies for help.

Those are some findings from the Association of National Advertisers' third annual Marketing Accountability survey, conducted with Marketing Management Analytics. The survey of 101 senior-level marketers conducted between April and May found one-third satisfied with their ability to measure and act on ROI, up from 19% one year ago. Still, 20% reported that although they are making rapid progress, they haven't completed the process. For the remaining half, ROI measurement remains a conundrum.

"A lot of effort's required to collect and clean the data," said survey respondent Stephen Dull, VP-strategy at VF Corp., which has in the past several years made understanding marketing ROI a high priority. "It is a massive task."

Like most respondents with successful programs, VF did not rely substantially on its agency partners to determine marketing accountability. Only 36% of that group had their agencies involved. "The survey didn't ask why," said MMA Chief Client Officer John Nardone, "but our experience is that marketers view agencies as biased. Do you want the fox in the henhouse?"

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