The CMO’s workload has expanded and grown more complex in recent years, as they take on responsibilities for marketing technologies, often in addition to their current remit. New channels continue to emerge, meaning they must dedicate more precious time to juggling technologies, reporting and vendor management. Overall, the complexity of the ecosystem leaves many decision makers having to play catch-up on the latest developments.
The findings of our report, ‘Modernising the Mix’ show this to be true: the majority of UK marketers feel that the largest current threat to their team’s success is that they are stretched too thin, due to working with too many tech vendors. Meanwhile the main challenge, in their view, is creating an effective marketing mix to drive results. That’s why we’ve put together this simple three-step guide to help CMOs make sense of their marketing mix in the most effective and time-efficient way – no matter what the industry throws at them!
1. Assume your current mix is wrong
Beginning from the premise that your current marketing mix and attribution model are wrong will encourage you to assess it thoroughly and regularly. This critical view that the current set-up isn’t ideal should be applied to all stages from media planning right through to attribution and measurement.
CMOs are expected to know how to best incorporate new channels into the mix and optimise performance across them, but with the rate this industry moves at, this is no small feat. That’s why CMOs in the UK and US are increasingly hiring marketers to manage technologies to ensure an omnichannel system is in place to cater for new initiatives and ensure a deep understanding of the data available.
It’s easy to say that your current marketing mix, attribution and measurement is wrong, but the much bigger question is how to improve the current status quo. One way is to follow an experimental marketing approach – a concept that measures ROI across all marketing channels.
2. Design and create around causal effects
Unfortunately, it is of little help to measure channels in isolation. Not many consumers purchase a product based purely on exposure to display ads if they’ve never heard of your brand before. Essentially, any conclusions you come to from measuring a channel in isolation is misinformation. It’s not as simple as dividing spend on one channel by the number of conversions attributed to that channel to find your CPA. And the bigger question is whether a CPA actually matters – but that’s a debate for another time!
Even today’s models that work on multi-touch attribution do little to help marketers understand the nuances of what influences a consumer to buy. If your model tells you that video came first, then social, display and finally search, how do you know which part had an effect on the consumer’s behaviour and how much of an effect? Maybe none of them did, maybe it was simply down to a great TV ad they saw weeks ago. Attribution often shows correlation, but what marketers actually need to understand is causation.
Vodafone UK, for example, has taken this test-and-learn approach to heart and uses a pulsing technique to measure ROI for all marketing channels – from digital to radio and TV. Results from thousands of simultaneous media mix experiments helped the telco giant improve the efficiency of its marketing investments by 10%.
3. Measure only against your ultimate goals
Whether in progress or complete, your campaign should be measured constantly against KPIs. But the question that often arises is which ones? What KPIs are a true indication of performance? At the end of the day, typical KPIs such as brochure downloads, free trials and CTRs offer little insight into how well your marketing efforts are impacting your business goals, when the goal of every campaign should be measured against revenue for the business. Brochure downloads do not necessarily lead to a conversion, and in many cases, creating assets like brochures costs you money without guaranteed revenue.
Once you’ve decided how to measure success, it’s also crucial to make sure you are measuring it well. Our survey results show that 22% of UK marketers perceive the biggest threat to their team’s success as poor visibility into metrics on whether or not their marketing is working. This lack of visibility can be a huge hindrance to success, so make sure you have the right organisational structure and tools available.
Creating the most effective marketing mix can feel a bit like chasing a rainbow: just when it feels like you’re getting closer to that pot of gold, it is still just out of reach. But that shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing – all it means is that there’s always room for improvement, thanks to new technologies that are constantly evolving and creating new pathways for marketers to reach their desired audiences. While you may feel overwhelmed by the choices around channels, attribution models and measurement, talking to your partner of choice will help you on your way to a continuous cycle of improvement.
By Chris Le May, senior vice president and managing director for Europe at DataXu
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