The COI wants to standardise the assessment of government ad campaigns.
Accountability is the watchword sweeping Whitehall departments as the government tries to tighten its belt in line with the tough economic climate.
The COI is attempting to take the initiative on this agenda, as shown by its publication last week of a report on financial effectiveness and efficiency in public-sector marketing.
The consultation paper, which is the first of its kind, sets out a 10-step blueprint. The aim is to help those in government communication roles determine 'sensible and robust' estimates of Payback - the financial benefit delivered by the marketing - and Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) - the value of Payback delivered, less the cost of the marketing - for every pounds 1 spent.
Using the method detailed in the report, it claims that the 1998-2005 TDA teacher recruitment campaign not only paid for itself, but should provide returns of pounds 85 for every pounds 1 spent. The COI hopes that the document will become the definitive guide for public-sector communicators.
As the report, 'Payback and Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) in the Private Sector', notes, this sort of thinking is a far cry from the days when the consensus was that the effects of advertising were 'too subtle, intangible and long-term to be subjected to anything as crude as a cost-benefit analysis'.
John Mayhead, the chairman of the government's Strategic Marketing Advisory Board, has detected a new mood at Whitehall. His group has tried to encourage government marketers to learn lessons from the private sector since its establishment early last year. He says he has found himself 'very much pushing at an open door'.
Mayhead, a former marketing director at Argos, puts this down to a change in personnel over the past 18 months. He says the Cabinet Office appointment of Matt Tee as the permanent secretary of government communications last year - he was previously the chief executive of NHS Direct - coupled with the 'new broom' of Mark Lund, the former chairman of ad agency DLKW, who was named chief executive of the COI in February, have been pivotal in driving the effectiveness agenda. …