Rethink your measurement approach to confront disruption

With a unified view of the business, brands can move forward with confidence in a disrupted environment

Walled gardens, blind spots and data limitations in an ever-changing ecosystem mean we must rethink our approach to measurement. Change and disruption are challenging all industries from multiple directions. This is the new normal and businesses need to learn to adapt to survive.

Being adaptive means re-evaluating what once worked and may now be sub-optimal. The most recent "Forrester Wave™: Marketing Measurement and Optimization Solutions, Q1 2020", in which Analytic Partners was named a Leader, touches on the ways in which our company “focuses on next-generation solution innovation”, a statement which we believe highlights our emphasis on iterating and innovating to meet new standards in a changing landscape.

Not all change is growth, but change does present opportunities. Being in the analytics realm, I have witnessed our insights ecosystem challenged in a variety of ways. Many advertisers approach Unified Measurement with the idea that you can just combine Marketing Mix Modelling (MMM) and Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA) to customer data and fulfil the promise of a single version of the truth. However, while this appears to be a logical approach, it can be deceptive and even dangerous.

MMM and MTA should not have equal footing. Most brand leaders can attest that when looking through the MMM/MTA lens, on average, the majority of the data-driven decisions and subsequent business impact in Unified Measurement is coming from MMM versus MTA. In fact, in my own review of activities with marketers, I’ve seen about 80% of the impact coming from MMM and only 20% coming from MTA.

This smaller impact contribution from MTA also comes in the face of MTA being problematic, given walled gardens, blind spots and data limitations – all of which are reaching a breaking point. And, while, MTA is not “dead,” per say, we must admit that it is extremely challenged. However, we still need to attribute, qualify and quantify the impact of digital touchpoints on the marketing mix. This is a disruptive challenge.

We can’t sweep the issues under the rug and pretend that its business as usual. Advertisers must shift their attribution approach to address these challenges. By analysing “touchpoints” rather than falsely believing you can connect measurement across disparate and deeply disconnected “multi-touches,” marketers and their agencies can get deep, user-level analyses within the channels that matter while leveraging a holistic measurement framework to bring it all together.

While it has become clear that MMM more valuable than MTA, I’ve still seen a wide variation in speed, quality, and granularity across insights produced under the umbrella of MMM. I have experienced shock at times with what we have uncovered when reviewing advertiser’s existing models. When I look at the quality of some of the analyses marketers share with me, it is clear why MMM is (incorrectly) viewed by some as a slow method yielding results that are too high-level to be actionable. For MMM to be successful and effective, it is critical to go to a deeper, more granular level and drive towards forward-looking actionable insights faster.

While MMM has its place, the implications of today’s somewhat messy environment necessitate a move beyond MMM and MTA to a more advanced Commercial Mix Modelling (CMM) approach; a path that is holistic across all business levers and granular enough to provide strategic and tactical insights while taking ecosystem realities into account. We need an approach that is faster to turn around, much more granular, and something that can not only tell you what happened, but also lend insights into what you need to do next.

By addressing the whole business at a deeper, more granular level, Commercial Mix Modelling can act as a foundation for a more unified picture of what’s working and what isn’t. With a Commercial Mix lens at the centre we gain a holistic picture of the business by customizing models to address specific market, brand, customer and business challenges.

As a foundation, Commercial Mix Modelling analysis allows marketers to layer on and integrate other analytics such as experimental design, branding, operational, customer and touch-point analytics. The result is robust granular insights to support both strategic and tactical decisions – all connected to the full business view resulting in a strong impact to your business.

By facing the harsh truth that we need to lean into disruption – versus patching up past approaches or creating inadequate work arounds – our industry should build something better that helps to increase the impact of our marketing spend. Moving to a Commercial Mix Model would enable marketers to be better prepared to face this disruption. Shifting to CMM provides a framework to address the full business (not just marketing) needs and help us all be ready to adapt through data-driven decision making.

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