I recently wrote this piece for an m/SIX newsletter – it summarises the contribution of six people to the development of marketing effectiveness.
SIX pioneers of marketing effectiveness past and present
1. Claude Hopkins, the copywriter who earned $2.7m per year selling Bissell vacuum cleaners
We all talk about market effectiveness and marketing science, but these topics are not new. In fact, one of the first proponents of marketing effectiveness was a copywriter called Claude Hopkins. Hopkins was paid by his agency Lord & Thomas to write copy to sell Bissell vacuum cleaners in the US. Here’s the remarkable bit; Hopkins was paid on results and he was paid more than $200k in the 1920’s. That’s the same as being paid $2.7m in today’s money. How many copywriters today are paid on payment by results? And I wonder how many could earn $2.7m if they were? Hopkins was so obsessed with trying to understand how advertising worked that he wrote a book called “Scientific Advertising” to share his knowledge – published after his retirement. Many effectiveness practitioners will tell you this is the first book on the subject of increasing marketing effectiveness.
You can read about Claude Hopkins here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_C._Hopkins
You can also buy Hopkins’ book ‘Scientific Advertising’ here
2. Simon Broadbent, quantifying the memory effects of advertising
Around the time that Hopkins retired, another pioneer of marketing effectiveness was born. Simon Broadbent was born in 1928. As a Cambridge mathematician he was the first person to quantify how advertising diffuses through populations (interestingly his original work was on pandemics of disease in orchards). Within this broad framework, Broadbent identified that the memory effects of advertising can be quantified. This idea morphed into the concept of AdStock. AdStock now sits at the heart of the current debate around short- and long-term advertising effectiveness.
You can read Broadbent’s books about optimising media budget setting here:
3. Andrew Ehrenberg, explaining consumer behaviour with statistics
At about the same time as Broadbent was born, another pioneer of effectiveness might have been taking his first steps to marketing greatness. Andrew Ehrenberg was born in 1926 and initially trained in statistics and psychiatry. He moved into market research in 1955 and his mission shifted to identifying scientific laws that might underpin consumer behaviour. The most famous of these was his application of the ‘Double Jeopardy’ law to marketing. Ehrenberg found that larger brands have more buyers and better frequency characteristics so if you want to grow sales you must grow market penetration. Ehrenberg proved this theory many times over, across multiple categories, and observed the pattern to be so reliable that it could be called a marketing law.
Ehrenberg died in 2010 and you can read his obituary here: https://www.warc.com/newsandopinion/news/obit—andrew-ehrenberg-marketing-pioneer/27183
4. Judie Lannon, one of the pioneers of identifying the emotional sell, and the first woman to sit on the board of JWT.
Judie Lannon was the first woman to be appointed to the board of ad agency J Walter Thompson (now Wunderman Thompson) in 1976. After graduating in psychology at the University of Michigan, Lannon began her career working in research at Leo Burnet in Chicago but moved to JWT and stayed there for the majority of her career. She was one of the first researchers to identify that emotional arguments were as important as rational arguments in selling consumer products.
You can read more about Judie Lannon here: https://www.marketingsociety.com/news/rip-founding-editor-market-leader-judie-lannon
5. Gerard Tellis, 29,000 citations on Google scholar and an expert on advertising in recessions.
Speaking of measurement, imagine having 29,000 citations on Google Scholar. Gerard Tellis is Director of the Institute for Outlier Research in Business & Professor of Marketing at USCMarshall. With 29,000 citations, it’s clear that Tellis has covered many marketing topics, but one of these is a must read for every marketing specialist and that’s his work on how advertising effectiveness changes during a recession. Tellis undertook extensive work into the fortunes of brands that either cut or grew advertising spend during recessions. I wonder how many global marketers were aware of his finding that, “When the economy expands, all firms tend to increase advertising. At that point, no single firm gains much by that increase. The gains of the firms that maintained or increased advertising during a recession, however, persist.”
You can read more about Gerard Tellis’ 29,000 citations here https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=MhV-CrYAAAAJ&hl=en
6. Byron Sharp, picking up the baton of marketing science from Andrew Ehrenberg.
Some readers might connect the name ‘Ehrenberg’ with the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute in Australia, the academic base for one of marketing’s current high-profile pioneers. Byron Sharp became Professor of Marketing at the Ehrenberg-Bass at the University of South Australia in 1995 picking up the baton from Andrew Ehrenberg. Sharps work is widely publicised and he works to maintain the same standard of understanding marketing and media effectiveness as Ehrenberg-Bass’ founder. He now leads a team of sixty specialists – all working to put science at the heart of marketing understanding. Sharp’s insistence on brand maximising reach is directly linked to Ehrenberg’s view that brands can only grow by increasing penetration i.e. reaching new customers.
You can read more about Byron Sharp here https://www.marketingscience.info/staff/byronsharp/