Marketing and Research Consulting for a Brave New World
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How do we optimize marketing in a multi-touch era, where consumers are influenced by multiple messages on different screens, some pushed and some pulled, resulting in a journey that is both purposeful and accidental at the same time?  If I pull out my smartphone at point of purchase to search for information on a brand I was unaware of, then buy it in the store…is the smartphone communication upper funnel or lower funnel? Or is the funnel idea itself losing relevance?

Marketing is becoming a bottom up, one user at a time process driven by data and analytics. And that means that the venerable marketing mix model (MMM)…the classic top down, big regression model approach where the consumer is literally not in the equation…can’t help with marketers’ toughest problem. Such modeling will be replaced by, or evolve into, methods that rely on something called Multi-touch Attribution Modeling (MTA).

To marketers, there may be no promise that is more compelling than MTA.

  • A total solution: know exactly what marketing levers are working to produce business outcomes (whether the levers are online or offline and the outcomes occur online or offline)
  • A single source of  truth
  • MTA is more likely to get digital marketing effects right vs. marketing Mix Modeling
  • Ability to optimize marketing spend by shifting budgets in flight (close to real time)
  • Maximize marketing impact by getting the most out of a data-driven, digital, mobile, addressable marketing age

Yet research among marketers found that the reality is short of the promise with a NPS that is shockingly low (MINUS 35), a lack of consistency between MMM and MTA results that undermines trust, and a chaotic landscape of methods that leads to a characterization from numerous marketers that MTA is the “wild west”.

Leadership is needed to bring the industry to a better place.

I have been honored to consult with the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) for the past six months on the most comprehensive review and assessment of MTA methods ever conducted. This has resulted in a “Marketing Attribution Decision Guide” (MADG) that will be released to advertiser members by the MMA on November 1st. (If you are a member of MMA and want to attend the release event please contact me or ). MADG consists of a comprehensive report, a standard RFI you can use, a scoring model to evaluate suppliers, and suggested lists of who you might consider as a provider.

Yes, MTA is scary.  You didn’t study it in college like you did regression models.  You didn’t study programmatic real time bidding like you did the effects of TV advertising.  But marketers need to be brave. Programmatic advertising and mobile marketing (includes the 70% or so of Facebook advertising that appears on mobile devices) are the two fastest growing communications platforms (together often accounting for more than half of the current ad budget) and they can only be guided by user level MTA modeling.

To resolve the gap between the promise and today’s reality, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has just formed MATT, the Marketing Attribution Think Tank, a game-changing initiative designed to unravel the complexity brands face with measurement and rethink the world of attribution. It is starting on November 1st and will continue through 2017 and probably beyond.

As Jack Neff wrote in Ad Age…”The MMA Marketing Attribution Think Tank (MATT) will “rethink the world of marketing measurement and attribution,”…it’s backed by executives from [many leading marketers]. “Rather than living in a world where the last touch gets all the attribution, we as marketers need to understand what the combination does,” said Sanjay Gupta, exec VP-marketing, innovation and corporate relations of Allstate, one of the backers of the project.

Perhaps most importantly, MATT will help engaged Marketers stay one step ahead.  For example, MTA itself is evolving.  While user level modeling is the starting point, the best methods also include aggregated data streams for completeness, adding in marketing data that cannot live at the user level, such as linear TV or social media conversation. Also, while 1-2 years ago these methods were mainly cookie based, in a mobile age almost all providers have gone to unified IDs so the exposure on the smartphone that results in the sale on the computer or in store can be properly credited.

Ultimately, marketing activities are increasingly oriented towards a process of leveraging data assets to curate consumer journeys across multiple touches and screens in a way that results in better business outcomes…one user at a time. We’re here to help you understand and master this new way that marketing works.

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