Marketers are letting Facebook lie to them over digital measurement reporting, and in turn allowing the platform to steal from them, according to industry veteran Bob Miller.
The former president of the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), who played an instrumental role in unshackling advertisers from fixed fee structures in the mid-90s, told a room of CMOs, agency bosses and industry leaders at an AANA event that digital and short-termism are the biggest threat to marketing and its effectiveness.
He believes the “tragedy” of digital advertising is a major concern for marketing.
“I don’t see [marketers] getting the maximum value in [digital] advertising," he said.
“I’m not sure that when Mr Zuckeburg was mistakenly misquoted recently on Facebook numbers…that there was any Audit Bureau of Circulation to do the fact checking. I wonder why advertisers allow that to happen?”
Miller believes Facebook's misreporting error is tantamount to “lying” and “stealing”, adding: “And who is he stealing from - he’s stealing from you and you are letting him steal.”
“Now if this is helping you get good value for money then that’s fine. You’re happy and go and tell the chief executive that everything is going along tickety boo, that's fine," he added.
“Or you better find out who's stealing from you and kill them off. And the reason you do hang them from lamp posts in the town square is it discourages other people from stealing."
Short termism is a major threat
Marketers also need to speak in a language the rest of the c-suite understands if they are to successfully tackle the scourge of short-termism, he added.
“The role of the CMO, who wants to keep her job for a long time…is to convince the chief executive, the CFO and the board that their [short-term] bonus this year ... is maybe at risk if we do the obvious cost saving move and slash the ad budget,” Miller said.
“When you go to the board of directors, they don’t ask you about brand experience, they ask you about cash flow. If you’re not going to tell them a cash flow story then you’re going to have a less than interested audience down in the finance department.
“And the finance department is where all the money comes from. If you let [them] take control, the next thing you’re going to hear is a knock on the door and the purchasing guy turns up and he is going to help you.”
Miller said the purpose of advertising is to “create reasonable expectations of future cash flow at net present value”.
Miller oversaw several highly successful Toyota campaigns in the 80s and early 90s, including launching the iconic slogan 'Oh What a Feeling'. He said advertising was the difference between Toyota and is rivals, helping the Japanese brand to break into the Australian market and rise to become the best selling car brand, a title it still holds today.
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