Customer Analytics

Manage What You #Measure – And Then Optimize What You Manage

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It’s been a busy summer for the IBM Digital Marketing Optimization team. In between launching this blog, customer visits and preparing for our upcoming fall release, one major project we’ve been working on is something we’re calling “Thought Leadership Thursdays” – a six-city roadshow across North America in which we’re teaming up with some outstanding partners and clients to talk about how marketers can take advantage of big recent advances in marketing attribution technology and methodology. These half-day events are free, informal and open to everyone, and we’re fortunate to have some outstanding partners presenting with us, including the marketing team from Rackspace and practitioners from Ernst & Young’s Digital Analytics group (formerly known as Semphonic), Neo@Ogilvy, Stratigent, the Publicis Omnicom Group, and more. Check out the links below to see if we’ll be in your area soon.

Why this focus on attribution? Well, a couple of reasons.

To say that the pace of innovation in marketing technology is “rapid” would be a candidate for understatement of the year. It’s not just the proliferation of new digital and mobile channels, which we’re all constantly reminded about, either; it’s also the growing realization that as marketers, we engage with people, not segments. Those people engage in a journey of experiences and marketing touchpoints with your company or brand – some of which you control (ex. PPC ads, in-store promotions or targeted email), and some you don’t (ex. earned media on social networks). Understanding each customer’s unique lifecycle and then tailoring messages, promotions and customer experiences in the most effective way possible is the innovative marketer’s El Dorado.

Problem is, how do you actually determine which messages, ads, combination of channels and so on are most effective? And if you don’t know that much, then how do you possibly allocate scarce marketing resources effectively?

We often see marketing teams struggle with these questions. Often, they’re from a couple of distinct perspectives: the channel manager or analyst, whose job it is to optimize returns from Display Ad #1 or #2, or figure out which touchpoint is influencing conversions; the digital marketing or ecommerce leader, who wants to know what tactic or product is migrating customers from being Cart Openers to First Time Buyers, or about combinations of discrete channels and touches; and finally, the CMO, who wants clarity into the overall marketing ROI and is interested in optimizing the total investment mix of channels and media.

All of these challenges are fundamentally attribution problems, and they call for different sets of methodologies and tools. But they’re also inherently connected. The ultimate challenge is the same: marketing teams must measure, optimize and demonstrate return on their spending decisions, using both software that is up to the task and people and teams within an organization that can use data intelligently to drive the business. This is where point solutions and work-arounds lose their effectiveness, because moving from attribution insight to tangible action requires the kind of deep integration across the marketing function that only a full partner can offer.

These are some of the topics we’ll discuss at these roadshow events, and later on this blog. For more background, you can access the most relevant whitepapers here: Digital Marketing Attribution and Marketing Performance Optimization with IBM.

For now, be sure to check out our upcoming roadshows in New York City (9/5), Toronto (9/12), Chicago (9/19) and Atlanta (9/26). Feel free to comment here or tweet to us at @IBMEMM with any questions. See you out there!

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