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Marketing professionals at companies large and small from all over the globe are facing the same challenge. It has never been easy to measure marketing impact and quickly find ways to drive a higher ROI of your marketing spend.  Even back in the day when we were mostly marketing on a few television networks, radio stations, and local newspapers. It's only gotten more challenging with the profusion of entertainment and news options available on television, satellite radio, email, social networks, and other modern-day distractions popping up daily to capture customers' attention.

The Future of Marketing Intelligence in Retail

"We still don't have a consistent view of the customer," says Gartner analyst Christi Eubanks. She believes that this perspective is critical if we want to, "optimize spend, increase attention, and maximize satisfaction." This failure to get a "consistent view of the customer" can cause significant challenges when marketers look to maximize the performance of their marketing mix.

For example: Let's say your email marketing manager is laser-focused on generating online sales. Measuring email performance based on its ability to drive e-commerce seems a logical connection. However, if you're selling both on your website and in retail locations, this approach may fail to measure the impact email has on sales at your brick-and-mortar locations. Without a consistent view of the customer, you may miss the insight that these additional emails are turning off recipients, hurting open rates, and, therefore, damaging sales in retail locations.

Nobody understands this challenge better than leading shoe and fashion retailer, Famous Footwear. With more than 1,000 retail locations and an online store, creating the ideal consumer journey is mission critical for the marketing team. Working with Empower Media Marketing the company made a strategic switch in their marketing to turn to a person-centric approach.

"Tools we used in the past were too slow and backward-looking," said Jill Feldman, VP of marketing and brand strategy, Famous Footwear. "They also failed to get to the person-level detail we need to market effectively to our customers. Now all our data is pulled together, from all our marketing touch-points, so we can better see who our customers are and what they need."

Jill's experience is similar to other marketers who've been making the switch to tools that help them better understand their customers' needs and intentions. Person-level measurement helps unlock new understanding about the differences between audiences and make deeper connections to different profiles within audience groups. Marketers gain the opportunity to create the ideal customer journeys, improving sales and brand satisfaction. These person-level insights enable detailed optimizations that can quickly increase ad effectiveness by 20% or more.

"Working together we identified three main drivers of success," said Famous Footwear partner Laura Nix, VP client leadership, Empower Media Marketing. "Our efforts were designed to increase customer's emotional connection to the brand, grow the number of new members, and accelerate sales. The insight we gained from looking at individual consumers allowed us to optimize both our creative and media mix in near real-time. That gave us a huge advantage in the marketplace."

In fact, working together, Famous Footwear and Empower Media Marketing were able to increase revenue in the Fall and Holiday shopping season by $5.5 Million.

These integrated solutions unlock data for individual consumers to better model the impacts marketing and advertising are having on the business in an incredibly detailed way. The approach gives marketers the dual benefit of strategic insight and tactical decision-making: They help guide investment in different media and couple that with methods to best match creative, copy, and messaging in every channel - both online and offline.

Also, using person-level analytics, marketers can tap into the power of location. With tools like geo-targeting and ZIP-code based programmatic segments, savvy pros can find the right customers in the right place to deliver the right message at the right time.

On one level, marketers understand intuitively that a consistent view of customers is mission-critical. It is hard, though, to get this view and many find themselves falling into the trap that older attribution models that weren't designed with the consumer journey in mind have created.

My advice for those seeking a competitive advantage in the marketplace is to find a partner who is using individual-level, person-centric consumer information to deliver a comprehensive view into the performance of your marketing mix. You'll want partners who find insight into the right level of spending for each media type, but also provide detailed results with speed to gain tactical benefits that come from optimizing creative and media while campaigns are live.