Marketers, facing an increasingly fragmented world of consumer attention and media channels, are starting to rely more on tools that leverage data to drive decisions and find a competitive advantage.
Over the past few years, marketing analytics has reached a tipping point where it is a must-have for brands both large and small. Marketing attribution — the science of clearly identifying the parts of the marketing mix that are driving business results — has had a remarkable impact on the way businesses make decisions about their marketing investments.
The most advanced marketing performance tools deliver insights about things like which messages appeal to which people in which channels, and they contain the key to finding optimal reach, frequency, targeting strategies and budget. Product improvements are delivering an even more granular understanding of message sequencing and can also optimize for the messages that would next be best for multiple audiences, all of whom may be in different stages of the buying process.
A few solutions are even able to include consideration of external factors such as weather and traffic patterns as they calculate the path to higher marketing ROI. What’s more, today’s solutions can deliver optimization decisions so quickly that marketers can leverage these insights while campaigns are live, rather than having to wait for months to see results.
Choosing to use a unified measurement platform is the first step of a journey to unlock the powerful decision-making power of these new tools. This guide, developed with input from the experience of others who have transitioned to a unified measurement tool, gives some practical, step-by-step advice to help your organization avoid some common pitfalls and realize the full benefits of higher marketing ROI more quickly.
We’ve developed this quick guide based on the popular Crawl, Walk, Run framework.
The goal for this stage of the journey is getting to a first optimization of the marketing mix as quickly as possible.
Early in the process, it is helpful to identify potential “power users.” Their ground-floor knowledge of the platform and their early involvement will become invaluable as you move through later stages. Make sure you include your agency(ies) at this stage: Their early involvement is crucial.
The following checklist can help identify critical requirements for implementation of a unified measurement platform and ways to gain quick, highly impactful wins.
There are four foundational elements to the Crawl stage that we’ll want to put in place:
- Find the right people for the team, and make sure their roles are defined. Know who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed (a RACI model) about decisions to optimize marketing campaigns at your company and with agencies and partners.
- Discuss the definition of success and the metrics you’ll use to judge it.
- Identify factors and interdependencies that will impact the path to optimization. Identify critical data sets and automate their delivery into the unified measurement platform. Separate the “need to have” from the “good to have” and the “like to have.”
- Use the decision-making power of a marketing attribution software to make your first optimization. Keep your scope focused and take the early wins.
The Crawl stage checklist: how to know when you’re at this stage
- Get the right people on the team and define roles (RACI).
- Assign team members who are responsible for implementation and quality assurance.
- Define business goals and agree to success metrics.
- Complete a data audit and develop a plan for automation.
- Implement the first optimization recommendations.
The overarching goal of the Crawl stage and a key part of moving to Walk is building the team’s confidence in the software and its recommendations. Realizing gains from implementing those “quick win” optimization recommendations early in the process goes a long way to building enthusiasm.
Early success, often achievable within the first 90 days, can accelerate the pace of adoption and give your company a distinct competitive advantage.
The Walk stage is about earning more significant wins and making the attribution tools a part of the everyday process for the marketing team and agencies. We also recommend leveraging the early involvement of power users to get certified and help train others on the team to use the tools.
In the Walk phase, we transition to using the planning software as the starting point for media planning. During this phase, the goal is to build momentum by leveraging the data and insights gained during the Crawl stage to apply to all marketing initiatives and advertising campaigns.
In the Crawl stage, teams organized around the definition of success, RACI, data flow and early wins. Data were verified and the first optimization(s) were generated. The team may have implemented some of the recommendations, or they may have decided to “take it all in” and prepare to make changes during the next optimization round.
The Walk phase is about working toward having marketing plans generated automatically by empirical data that’s fed into your unified measurement platform. The other essential characteristic of the Walk phase is the transition to more extended-range marcom planning driven directly by data and the decision-making power of the unified measurement platform.
The Walk stage includes:
- Evolving the KPI (key performance indicators) to incorporate both branding and marketing performance objectives.
- Certifying the team on software.
- Increasing frequency of in-campaign optimization over time, typically from quarterly to monthly for multiplatform advertisers or from monthly to biweekly for digital performance brands.
- Streamlining content to enable shorter meetings (from 90 minutes down to 60, and then 30 as data understanding increases). Moving from PPT to a dashboard for discussion and decision-making. Leveraging an in-dashboard learning agenda to park ideas for Test & Learns.
- Increasing use of planning software and automation of data feeds for more sophisticated marketing and media questions.
- Starting to use the software to answer more complicated and more extended-range questions: budget planning, upfront buying strategy and others.
The Walk stage checklist: how you know you’ve arrived
- Key members of the team are certified to use the measurement platform.
- Marketing team and agencies have primary responsibility for readouts and planning.
- The team is having shorter (approximately 30-minute) and more frequent (monthly) readouts.
- Critical data is automatically flowing into the platform and Sales data has been added.
- Media plans are developed and implemented through the unified measurement tool with significant impact on marketing ROI.
In each phase, much of the groundwork is laid for the next. Setting yourself up for success in continuous measurement is critical at the end of Walk.
As you transition to Running, the team will be familiar with the optimization cadence and confident in their ability to lead the process. The goal here will be to expand the use of the unified measurement platform and unlock the full potential of the decision-making power of the software for the entire marketing effort.
The Run stage includes:
- Increasing the cadence of optimization.
- Developing a Test & Learn agenda to move toward continuous discovery.
- Completing the leading indicator modeling.
- Curating advanced applications: portfolio optimization, zero-based budgeting, meta-analysis, validation and shareholder value connection.
The Run stage checklist: how to know you’ve arrived
- Regular optimizations handled by the attribution tool with more time to focus on Test and Learns.
- A leading-indicator model has been developed, and the team is optimizing for branding and sales.
- Meta-analysis of creative and message by persona/segment is complete.
- Measurement of marketing ROI is being used to communicate and drive higher shareholder value.
If you’ve read this article, you’ve likely recognized the opportunity unified marketing measurement represents and are eager to realize the full potential of an omnichannel optimization solution.
If, however, you are still using an older or more siloed approach to assessing your marketing effectiveness, such as Marketing Mix Models (MMM) or Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA), you may be frustrated in your attempts to get a complete picture of your marketing effectiveness. We’d suggest learning more about unified measurement, which experts consider to be the best practice for achieving marketing efficiency and making a greater impact in the marketplace.