Thursday, July 31, 2008

Who creates value here?

One of the hottest marketing topics over the next years will be a rather hidden and technical sounding issue that will have large ramifications of how brands invest their marketing dollars: Attribution Modeling. It describes the challenge of understanding what and which marketing program and channel truly drove a consumer behavior, from signing up to a newsletter, to browsing a website, visiting a store, purchasing something, or any behavioral consumer action that marketing is trying to influence.

Take for example the current run of marketing dollars into Search and purchasing of key words: Most companies contribute the click on paid key word and the following consumer action (e.g. starting a subscription, purchasing an item) to 100% to the marketing dollar spend on the particular purchased key word without any consideration of what else has influenced the consumer before and during the search activity, either consciously or unconsciously. This false attribution is rampant across most measurement of marketing programs, even for simple Test and Control set up for direct marketing programs. The Test and Control set-up assumes that no other marketing communication has driven the success of the Direct Marketing program in the Test group as long as it occurred in the Control group, too.

This is just plain wrong but most marketers have no idea of how to attribute a particular consumer behavior across all the different actual or potential marketing touch points that the consumer might have had before taking the particular consumer behavior. This attribution model challenge will become increasingly difficult due to the proliferation of marketing channels and fragmentation of media spaces within all the different channels. But it will also be one of the most critical insight disciplines for any CMO to understand consumer behavior and align marketing strategies and budgets against it.

Interestingly one of the most advanced companies in understanding this emerging practice is not a marketing agency but Microsoft. Why? Microsoft believes that brands spend too much money on Search (=Google) and need to readjust their spending behavior. It’s a smart way of hurting their biggest enemy. It will not be long before all the traditional Media Marketing Mix firms will enter this challenge, too. Truly integrated marketing firms and brands who understand this practice will have a big advantage over competitors.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The data cruncher Don Draper

The hype about the TV show “Mad Men” over the last weeks is pretty big but it’s one of the rare instances where I would support the hype. It’s an extremely well written and insightful TV drama, it’s less about just the advertising industry in the early 60ies than human beings trying to cope with changing values in the intersection of the business and their personal world. And these intersections are getting quite messy in most episodes, especially since it deals with men who prefer stories over realities.

Avi Dan in this week’s Adweek makes the smart observation that Don Draper would be not a lead creative guy in today’s world but a data cruncher who would focus on “…analyzing consumer data, understanding how consumers behave and coming up with insights and new ways to connect with them.”

One thing that would definitely change is the way of how Don Draper is coming up with insights. Interestingly enough his character is always the most curious, the most unsatisfied, the most soul searching marketer on the show. He is truly trying to understand consumers beyond the first veil of clichés, even in 1960ies where cliches run abundant. His personality disposition makes him a perfect analytical guru in today’s world, but his work ethic would need to change.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I am back

The sabbatical that I took from writing weekly postings for my blog encouraged me to redefine the publishing structure for “Marketing Geek”. It helped to take a step back and look at the overall blog and marketing industry.

In the future this blog will be different in a few ways:
  • It will have more frequent postings. I will attempt to write something daily or at minimum every other day, including the week-end.
  • The posting will be shorter, less elaborated, it will contain more emerging thoughts, ideas, and references than thought out POV on different topics
  • I will write more about things that I experience in my life as a marketing executive, still always focussed on content issues, not political context issues that are irrelevant for a insightful discussion about marketing

Some things about this blog will not change:

  • There will be no industry or company rumors or person specific news that seem to dominate most blogs more and more.
  • The blog tone will continue to be professional and respectful
  • I am looking forward to engage in conversation with blog readers and people who leave comments but it will not be the focus of the blog. I encourage everyone who is reading the blog to comment on a topical level and advance my ideas. That should be the focus, not necessarily a back and forth between myself and the reader’s comments.

I am back and I am looking forward to be “Marketing Geek” again.