An MVP Can Score Programmatic Payback

marcustewksbury“Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Marcus Tewksbury, global vice president for product strategy at Experian Marketing Services.

The MVP here is not a reference to Peyton Manning, the NFL’s five-time most valuable player. Rather, it is a reference to minimum viable product.

Minimum viable product is a strategy used for fast market testing of a product or feature to gain quantitative or qualitative feedback. As the name connotes, the strategy behind MVP is to put together the most basic offering to demonstrate a concept that is on target before heavily investing in time, energy and resources.

There is a lot of background noise in the industry, which tends to be very vendor-driven, around the need for more sources to feed hungry, big data solutions. While there is value in large data sets, marketers can deliver results faster, cheaper and easier by first focusing on MVP.

For example, once you get past basic abandonment retargeting, MVP is good advice for any programmatic effort. Lessons can be drawn from the CRM or direct side of the house where they’ve essentially been practicing data-driven programmatic for a long time. A common failing you see is that data-driven initiatives are often bogged down by trying to bring in all possible data sources on day one, before they ever get off the ground. Instead of spending days, weeks or even months integrating the next data feed, the focus should first be on generating incremental lift from each feed as it comes online.

Marketers need to think incrementally. Make sure you generate a lift, a measurable business outcome, from each new data source before you move on to the next. You can usually find impactful data that can be incorporated into your MVP strategy without needing a data-science team.

For example, five data points to focus on first include recency, proximity, lifetime value, channel preference and household income.

Recency: This is a measure of the last time a prospect bought, clicked, visited or otherwise engaged with your brand. Engaged does not equal impressed – views and sends don’t cut it. Over the years, nothing has proven to be as predictive as recency. The only variance is by market, whereby the window of optimal response for retail may be 30 days, and seven days for media.

Proximity: The lyrics “love the one you’re with” say it all here. Proximity has become a lot different and possibly even more important in our ubiquitously mobile world. Incorporating geo elements that enable fencing (triggering when someone enters a radius) or targeting (promotion with geosensitive dynamic content) can net significant lift.

Lifetime value (LTV): There is no excuse for not knowing your customer’s value. An LTV is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer. This is a crucial component to include as part of your MVP strategy. All of your messaging strategies should have your customer’s best interests at heart, but this becomes even more crucial when dealing with your most valuable customers. However, a common mistake and recipe for disaster is to risk fatigue with your top customers in order to gain an additional impression. You never want to overexpose your top customers. Instead, you want to minimize any campaign strategy that promotes their erosion. On the flip side, when you have unique offers that may be perceived as high value, they can be extremely receptive.

Channel preference: There are many aspects that drive channel choice. Knowing and acting on your customer’s communication preference can have a large impact on the ambient sentiment in which it is received. If you ignore your customer’s preference, they will view you and your message as rude and annoying. There are a couple of ways to find channel preferences, such as having it directly supplied from the customer or by monitoring responses.

Household income (or summarized credit): This is generally an easy attribute to append to your targets. It may not be necessarily for every program, but for those who segment by offering or focus on specific markets, knowing household income can be highly useful.

Although if you could afford him, going with the other MVP – Mr. Manning, the Super Bowl champion – would be excellent for performance, in most cases here a minimum viable product is your best approach for speedy programmatic payback.

Follow Marcus Tewksbury (@tewksbum) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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