May 12, 2017

Marketing Measurement: Collect Data First, Ask Questions Later

 

As marketing communicators, we are on the verge of having all the data we could ever want. The only question left now is whether we know what to do with it, or even if it is possible to know what to do with all this data. Christi Eubanks, managing vice president at Gartner, recently shared her organization’s model for total marketing measurement at the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference held in San Diego between May 10 – 12. She believes that the winners of the future will be the marketing teams that measure everything.

Total Marketing Measurement, or TMM, is the combination of several measurement models that exist today. This new idea of measurement blends marketing mix modeling, customer experience and customer journey maps together to develop a persistent view of how consumers engage with brands.

“You have to start now, even if it is to just collect the data required to build out these forms of measurement. If you don’t, your competitors will,” Eubanks said.

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Understanding Each Form of Total Marketing Measurement

Marketing Mix Media Modeling is a statistical analysis designed to estimate the impact of a brand’s future marketing efforts. Reviewing past performance in paid, owned and earned channels as it relates to sales creates an opportunity for companies to learn from their past actions. Companies can then use that data to plan for upcoming campaigns and forecast the potential impact of those changes.

“We are looking back so that we can move forward,” said Eubanks. “This is typically done yearly at the strategic leadership level.”

Marketing Mix Media Modeling offers a holistic view of long-term performance, rather than the tactical, point-by-point and day-to-day activities that your teams require. For that a brand must rely on customer experience analytics, which brands use to track every point where a potential customer engages before becoming a sale, whether it is a website, an email, a social post or an in-store experience.

Eubanks explained that brands will often start by looking at their website to improve conversion rates. Think of cart abandonment in e-commerce or a customer returning to a website and ordering the same product again. By reviewing these customer experiences, also known as “session replay,” marketers can find deficiencies and make continuous improvements.

At this stage, a brand starts to know who a customer is, obtains the customer’s name, and purchasing habits. However, customer experience alone won’t tell companies what these people think or how they feel about your brand.

The final piece of the measurement puzzle is customer journey analytics, which looks to translate peoples’ feelings about your brand into advocacy. Here brands play in the realm of collecting reviews, social sentiment and net-promoter score data. An important step to consider in the customer journey is where prospects consume information beyond a brand’s owned resources. A huge piece of that is in earned media and social media. By using media monitoring to understand the content that customers are consuming, you can paint a better picture of who they are.

Eubanks’ position is that with all three of these methodologies, brands can solve questions around attribution of marketing success.

Bringing Marketing Measurement Together to Create a Clearer Picture

Marketing Mix Media Modeling provides the top down strategy for deciding how to allocate marketing dollars. Collecting customer experience data helps identify areas of friction so brands can reduce that friction enabling an easier purchasing experience. By analyzing the customer journey, brands can A/B test daily engagement with customers to hammer home efficiencies and improve conversions. Each of these forms of measurement provide value, and they all must be combined to create the most accurate performance and forecasting picture.

“There is no silver bullet for assembling an effective attribution model,” Eubanks said. “Beware of any AI software vendor who say it does it all, because we aren’t there yet.”

Even if a company doesn’t have a clear plan on how to use the data they are collecting, they can’t prove performance or do any kind of forecasting in the future if they don’t collect that data in the first place.

Total marketing measurement is the idea that a company will know who their customer is, where they are in a buying cycle and how close they are to advocating on your behalf. Doing this requires a wide range of technical solutions, organizational integration and likely a series of vendors that coordinate on your behalf to collect and operationalize all this data, all the time.

It is a daunting task, but if Eubanks is right, brands that aren’t giving it a try are going to get lost in the dust. Start measuring your campaigns today with the Cision Communications Cloud™.

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About James Rubec

James Rubec is a data geek, a former public relations lead and journalist with a love of content and advocacy. Ask him anything @JamesRRubec and be sure to follow @Cision_Canada.

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