Volume 22 No. 2: The state of marketing research

This week on the podcast, we had the pleasure of chatting with Dr. Mitch Olsen, a marketing professor at the University of Notre Dame. With a rich background in both the corporate world and academia, Mitch shared insights into the state of marketing research and effectiveness in the US. 



2 out of 3 marketers lack confidence in their ad strategy’s ability to achieve goals.        

This stat from the CMO Council is based on a survey of 160 North American marketers. And yes, it points to a problem with effectiveness.  


We might be behind, but we’re catching up.       

It's tough to quantify just how “effectiveness-driven” the US is compared to the rest of the world. As even Mark Ritson admits, some incredible marketing comes from this country.  

But we do lack familiarity with the teachings of overseas thought leaders. Byron Sharp. Les Binet and Peter Field. Their findings on mental availability, reach, and brand fame are less a part of the conversation here. 

According to Dr. Olsen, there are a few possible explanations: 

  1. There’s a high standard for academic research in the US. That’s a good thing—it ensures quality work. But the intensive process for publishing research can also make it tough to produce work on trending topics.

  2. The US is leaving a decade of ultra-low interest rates. That gave businesses the freedom to explore and deprioritize immediate profits.

  3. Shiny new object syndrome might be worse in the US. That's simply because we have a lot of shiny new objects to be excited (and distracted) by. 

These are just theories, but one thing is clear. The tide is turning. Businesses are returning to focus on revenue, ROI, and accountable marketing. It’s about time. 

Listen in on our discussion.

"Effectiveness Ignorance Has Left American Marketing Lagging Behind the Rest of the World”        

This article from Mark Ritson certainly doesn’t pull any punches. But it does raise interesting questions about the state of marketing effectiveness and research in the United States—and what we could be doing better. Read the article.


Effectiveness is about avoiding waste.  

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” 

—John Wanamaker, US businessman and politician