Marketing and Research Consulting for a Brave New World
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What were the hot topics in 2017 for marketers and researchers and what do they portend for 2018? One barometer comes from tens of thousands of page views of my blogs in 2017 (see bottom of blog for my top 5).

So, what will 2018 bring? Marketing research and analytics leaders will need four new tools to address this burning issue:

“The tension between ‘building the brand’ and ‘driving the business’ is getting worse because performance marketing has the evidence to prove it delivers while brand marketers are still selling unicorns and rainbows because attribution models don’t truly capture the contribution of the brand to the growth of the business.”

Lou Paskalis, Chairman of the North American Board of the MMA

Marketing spending will shift towards performance marketing in 2018 because it can prove its impact at Driving the business. The Latest boost to performance marketing is based on targeting. Viant, NCS, and Rubinson proved it is now possible to achieve a quadrupling of short term return on ad spend (ROAS), as Marc Pritchard of P&G is calling for.

Who wants to be the CMO whose ROAS is flat and lags their competitors?

Making sure the brand stays healthy for the long term. Yet, for every action there is a reaction. The shift of ad dollars towards performance marketing will intensify concerns that we are mortgaging the brand’s future.  Do you really want to solve for short term sales and forget about the long term? That is what current marketing models encourage.

Which brings me to…

The four tools Research and analytics teams must adopt for 2018

  1. Brand guidance based on two key numbers. Rethink, redesign, and right size brand tracking.  There are only two metrics that matter: short term ROAS and a composite metric of brand strength. If both are going up, the brand is having a very good year, case closed. Measure your ROAS. Balance it with a fully loaded brand strength metric that reflects key signals like top of mind salience, size of universe who consider or buy your brand, ratings on key attributes vs. competitors, social sentiment, digital metrics of interest, and NPS.
  2. Multi-touch attribution (MTA) methods, fully loaded. Achieving breakthrough ROAS requires targeting the right segments as guided by MTA which leverages user level data. Marketing/Media mix modeling is geared to channel based media questions and cannot deliver targeting insights because, literally, the consumer is not in the equation. However, when you DO use MTA, you must solve for brand as well as short term sales.
  3. Targetable segment CREATION tools. To really drive up ROAS, marketers need to create high propensity buyer segments at scale.  This goes for existing brands and new products.  Most non-buyers of a brand will never buy your brand, but lurking inside, is a subset who are prime prospects. Identify and target that group. The linkage of survey panels and digital profiling platforms is now in place to enable this.
  4. Targetable segment VALIDATION tools. Caveat emptor! Initial testing demonstrates that some segments DO NOT deliver. Ted McConnell of Lucid reported research findings at the Attribution Accelerator event in Oct, 2017 in NY that across data aggregators, the validity of the same consumer segment can range from good (30% or more above random) to pretty bad (below random) across different sources. Segment validation is needed in the coming age of targeting. I am collaborating with other industry leaders to offer such segment validation tools (to be announced shortly).

Performance marketing is about targeting.  Brand marketing is about message. With the right tools, perhaps there is a way to prove out a strategy where everyone wins?

My top five blogs for 2017

The 5-point purchase intent questions sucks, or does it? Presents the idea of treating purchase intent as one of a number of targeting variables. This led to MoreCastR, a new method used for targeting to generate higher trial rates.

Get ready for the next sea change in marketing. No one has better targeting data than Amazon and Walmart. Retailers are becoming publishers and ad networks and will rival Google and Facebook for ad dollars.

Marketing research needs a mission change more than a name change. Insights without predictions are empty calories.  We need to be in the business of predictive insights that deliver repeatable success.

Relating consumer segments and high performing audiences.  Delivering messages to the right person in the right context can improve Return on Ad Spending 4-10X, proven! This is an underdeveloped area that has huge payback.

Why you are getting the wrong answer on advertising effectiveness. We track and analyze users like they have equal weight at understanding sales lift. They don’t. Category users are either actively shopping or dormant. The actives account for 90% of short term sales.  Those who are dormant probably account for the majority of brand effects.

 

Ad tech data don’t conform to sampling theory but if researchers don’t use them, they miss out on driving growth with higher marketing ROI which is the goal.

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Retailers are becoming publishers and ad networks, offering reach, unified IDs and a way to target active shoppers that can dramatically improve marketing ROI. Amazon could turn the big 2 into the big 3.

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Measuring the full effects of advertising is not done correctly but when a simple but critical concept is added, everything changes.

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Marketing dollars are fast moving to precision targeting of tightly defined segments. Mass mktg firsters: The train is leaving the station…all aboard!

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