Marketers Not Confident With Their Ad Channel Mix

The struggle to optimize the marketing mix across channels has recently been called the biggest challenge facing marketers, according to a newly-released study from Millward Brown Digital (MBD,) and summarized by Marketing Charts. The Millward Brown study says that this continues to be a monumental struggle, with marketers demonstrating a decided lack of confidence in their media allocations.

 Just 32% of the marketers surveyed by MBD reported having confidence that their organization has achieved the optimal media mix between traditional and digital. Though a step up from the 26% who felt that way last year, it’s outweighed by the 50% who don’t feel confident in their organization’s media mix, itself a sizable jump from last year (43%). Though marketers are more opinionated this year, says the report, they’re not getting any more confident on a net basis.

 The study averaged respondents’ choices to show a best-in-class allocation of time and efforts on various channels. Though the optimal mix almost certainly differs by company type and target audience, among others, the results provide at the least some interesting insights into marketers’ priorities.

Senior Execs Ideal Marketing Mix(Executives at advertisers, agencies and media companies)

Optimal Marketing

% of Respondents

Traditional advertising








Online advertising




Mobile ads and apps




Direct mail




Source: Millward Brown Digital, August 2016

Given the direction of budgets in recent years, says the report, traditional advertising reigns as the single top channel, with 16% share of the ideal mix. By comparison, online advertising captures 11% of the idea mix, a little further back. The discrepancy does make some sense given research indicating that traditional advertising influences more adults’ purchases than online ads, the report says.

Beyond traditional advertising, websites (13%) and search (13%) occupy the next-largest shares of the mythical ideal marketing mix, with social (owned and earned) close behind, with 12% share of marketers’ time and efforts. So while traditional advertising has the single largest share of the optimal mix, it seems that digital efforts in combination are a larger priority.

On par with online advertising is content, also occupying 11% share of the mix, notes the report. These are ahead of mobile ads and applications, with email, direct mail, and events/conferences, rounding out the identified channels. Email and direct mail, closely aligned in the marketing mix, also see similar rates of purchase influence among US adults, according to the research.

It seems clear from the MBD research, says the report, that media mix priorities don’t seem to be related to the ability to prove ROI. Separately, marketers said they were best able to track ROI for email, which gets relatively little attention in the media mix. Content marketing, by contrast, which marketers feel they have low ability to track, is a much larger priority in the ideal mix.

Overall, with 55% of respondents saying that they’re not confident that their organization understands the consumer journey, many will be increasing their research budgets. The most enthusiastic are media companies, 64% of which expect their research budget to increase in the next 3 years. 57% of agency respondents concur, as do 46% of brand respondents, says the report.

Concluding, the report says that marketers, agencies and media companies all agree that proving ROI is the top challenge facing marketers today. And the research tool most expected to increase in use is sales linkage/ROI studies. Behavior insights and advertising effectiveness tools follow as tools that marketers will embrace, with these also linked to the question of ROI and the optimal mix.

To read the Marketing Charts summary, please visit here; or the complete MillwardBrown report may be accessed here.

1 comment about "Marketers Not Confident With Their Ad Channel Mix".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 2, 2016 at 7:22 a.m.

    Interesting as the media mix is always approved and often dictated by the client, not the agency. Also, if marketers were really concerned about what channels they are using perhaps they should insist on each media plan evaluating a number of realistic alternatives insted of presenting them with "the plan", which, in reality, is based mainly on what the agency believes the client expects to see or will tolerate. It's so easy to blame the agency, isn't it?

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