CAANZ has announced a partnership with its UK counterpart, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), to deliver educational courses to agencies and clients in the Kiwi marketing and comms industry.
Last night, at an event hosted at the Pullman Hotel, CAANZ kicked off this partnership by introducing two new courses to the local market: The IPA Effectiveness Test and the IPA Commercial Certificate (CAANZ also plans to release a third paper focused on search marketing before the end of the year).
CAANZ chief executive Paul Head says that the Effectiveness Test is targeted at planners, suits and clients, with the aim of equipping them with the tools to plan, measure and prove effectiveness of campaigns.
"At some less enlightened companies, marketers are still seen as the colouring-in department," says Head in explaining that accountability remains major issue in the industry. He argues that courses such as these will better equip agency employees to contribute to important client conversations about where money should be invested and, perhaps more importantly, why it should be invested there.
He says that in much the same way that the Effie Awards have championed marketing accountability, courses such as these reiterate that good marketing is results-oriented.
The IPA Commercial Certificate aims to give marketers a better understanding of clients' businesses.
"It gives agency people a better understanding into what earns clients money, what costs them money and what drives them," says Head.
Traditionally, the financial and marketing departments have been as disparate as church and state in terms of their motivations, leading to frustration (and sometimes animosity) between the two departments. And Head believes that by giving marketers the skills to engage meaningfully in a corporate debate, the course will serve to bridge the gap between the two departments.
"This is about teaching marketers to speak church," says Head.
Head says that the reason why CAANZ has partnered with the the IPA is because of the experience the organisation has in providing training to marketers and agency types. He says that the IPA has been running its online courses for over a decade, and argues that would not have been possible for CAANZ to independently produce courses of such high quality quickly enough for the rapidly changing industry.
“As a creative industry, our greatest asset is our creativity and ingenuity," he says. "The quality of our thinking adds measurable value to our clients’ brand and businesses and it’s critical that agencies and marketing organisations continue to invest in their people in a rapidly evolving world. The alliance with the IPA will add value to our members and our client businesses.”
He says internationally accredited courses also play an important role in putting the New Zealand industry on par with the global performance levels. And this looks to be increasingly important given that Colenso BBDO chief executive Nick Garrett recently said that the performance of Kiwi agencies at Cannes was not as high as it had previously been.
"... the work in New Zealand over the last 12 months hasn’t been as strong as in recent years and that showed," said Garrett. "If you want to do well at Cannes your bar has to be international standards and too much of our work just aims to be good enough for here, and it doesn't translate."
While there's no guarantee that courses like these will ameliorate the issue Garrett touches on, they will hopefully help to give Kiwi marketing and comms people better bargaining skills around the executive table—and this could potentially lead to clients taking the risks necessary for great creative work to happen.