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“It is always cheaper to do the job right the first time.”

This quote from businessman Philip Crosby has often served as the rallying cry for advocates of modern management practices.  At its heart is a simple truth; it takes less time and effort to improve a process than it does to revise each unit created from that process.  In fact, Crosby’s work showed that measurement systems geared towards improving manufacturing processes returned far more than they cost; hence the title of his bestselling book Quality is Free!

But does this logic hold for the advertising development process?  As demonstrated by the below case study the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’  The advertiser involved installed an inexpensive, early stage copytest system containing both sales calibrated behavioral measures and diagnostics for understanding consumers’ conscious and unconscious motivations.  At the start of the process only half the ads produced annually met their sales effectiveness target.  But with each new test the brand team and their agency uncovered insights to apply in the next set of creative.  By the fourth year the rate of ads meeting their target had grown to nearly two-thirds and was still climbing.

The cost savings from needing to produce fewer ads not only covered the cost of testing but also fueled a shift from non-working to working dollars.  Furthermore each working dollar worked harder as the average sales effectiveness of the ads on air also improved.  By the fourth year the sales per media dollar spent was seen to have increased by over 30% versus the first year.

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