Marketing and Research Consulting for a Brave New World
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Math multiplies message

Math men and Don Draper CAN co-exist. In fact, they multiply each other!

What I’m referring to is that the targeting strategies that I have helped create with the MMA, Neustar, and Numerator will work regardless of copy quality.  However, the better the creative, the bigger the base effectiveness the multiplier has to work with.

We have published that the Movable Middle (those with a 20-80% probability of choosing your brand) has five times the responsiveness of those not in the Movable Middle. However, for average creative, that might be five times $1. For great creative, it might be 5 times $2.

I have analyzed about 10 sets of in-market data and this multiplicative effect has never failed (in fact some multipliers are even much greater). And the reason I conclude that the math works to multiply the creative…ANY creative…is because the campaigns had a wide variety of characteristics:

  • Mix of CTV, online video, and display with both brand and performance goals (highest multiplier we have made public…19X)
  • Online video only
  • Online display only
  • Mix of display and online video
  • CTV heavy
  • Distribution of free product samples (lowest multiplier we have made public…2X)

Not all campaigns were equally effective (or even produced acceptable results overall) but they ALL exhibited the multiplier and would have benefited from targeting the Movable Middles with 2-3 times the weight of non-Movable Middles.


Great creative with the right, non-reachist media math is a complete home run.

In my estimation, 80-90% of creative is workmanlike but closer to average. But doubles and triples are available there as well by using the right math. Targeting the Movable Middle is the difference between your advertising being viewed as an expense or being a solid citizen profit generator. Targeting might even be the best way to justify high CPM addressable media like CTV to deliver high branding value content in ways that still work profitably in the short term while building durable feelings about your brand.

I love a quote I saw that flipped the old Wannamaker quote on its ear.  “I know half of my advertising is wasted, I just don’t know how long I can ignore the data telling me which half it is!”

Now for some more #mathmultipliesmessage

Working with Neustar, IRI, marketers directly, and DISQO, I see a lot of MTA and test vs. control results. Some tactics work much better than other tactics. Some tactics don’t even provide any measurable lift. It is just throwing money away to not do these analyses and not move money to what is working.

The math of Movable Middle targeting is lawlike (based on calculus) and should be used on every campaign. MTA or test vs. control findings might be more parochial to the campaign but do the analysis early and pivot in-campaign.

And math can also guide you to choosing the right meaning for your brand. I’m not talking about standard attribute analysis from trackers, although they are certainly useful.  I am talking about Markov switching matrices. Such matrices measure the repeating and switching behaviors between any pair of brands.  So let’s say you are losing more to a given brand than you are gaining.  Let’s say you see some generalized pattern to the imbalance. This tells you a lot about who you directly compete with and where you might have deficiencies.  Worse, unless you reverse this pattern, it also implies a longer-term decline. I can help you solve for how bad this can get by either using Linear Algebra and Eigenvectors or by using the same types of systems of differential equations used in contagion modeling.

My advice is to use Marketing research and good strategic thinking to find the right meaning and message for your brand and win at all points along the journey. I highly recommend two books…Primal branding and Breakout Brands.

But you must also use the right math because #mathmultipliesmessage

Best wishes for a great holiday and transformational 2023!