"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 Mollie Parker, director of analytics and tech ops at DWA Media.
When an agency and client first start working together, it’s crucial to get on the same page before a campaign launches. They must first outline what to monitor so goals can be reached by the end of the campaign.
This isn't revolutionary, but it's amazing how often these conversations are skipped over in an effort to get in market quickly. This groundwork includes discussing desired outcomes, expectations, strategy, tactics and stakeholders. If a campaign isn’t set up the right way, a project can easily get derailed. This leads to frustrated agencies and disappointed clients asking for success benchmarks the agency never knew to track.
At the start of the campaign, agencies and marketers should envision the achievements they want to hit and work backward to reach those goals. Several key questions must be asked and answered at the start of any media campaign.
What Problem(s) Are We Trying to Solve?
Marketers should look at their brand’s challenges from the viewpoint of their CMO and other C-suite executives. What does success look like to them? Is it ROI, impact on leads, reach, frequency or brand movement?
I approach any type of buy the same way, whether it addresses lower-, mid- or upper-funnel goals. While tactics can be aligned with any desired back-end result, a test-and-learn approach is necessary to land on the correct media mix in the end. Knowing the specific strategy associated with a particular outcome will help determine the approach and recommended tactics.
Once the business goals, strategy and tactics are identified, it becomes clear which metrics need to be monitored and where they come from. This helps drive the conversation around data integrations, access rights and reporting needs. Instantly, this creates the start of a measurement infrastructure and data management strategy.
What Action Plan Will Lead To Necessary Performance?
After the objectives and other metrics needed to reach business goals are identified, an action plan should be created based on the strategy of media, tactics in market and level of investment.
For a brand awareness program using a PMP buy, for example, I would optimize to a high click-through rate and report on partners driving high site engagement, including visits, time on page and pages per visit. I would then recommend monitoring all conversion or sales activities that occur to understand trends in impact to the overarching business goals.
There must be enough data for the results to be statistically significant. This data is usually pulled into reporting on a daily or weekly basis. When reporting on a result like on-site activities, monthly trend analyses can ensure the campaign is driving engaged users. I wouldn’t recommend optimizing media to this result, because only a fraction of activities is reported through post-click activity. Lastly, monitoring data points such as net new opportunities, pipeline created or sales can be done on a quarterly basis to show directional growth of the business, agnostic of media in market.
Running a measurement strategy and action plan by key stakeholders is critical to ensure buy-in. It also reduces the possibility for an uncomfortable end-of-quarter meeting where questions can’t be answered because the team wasn’t prepared to report on certain key metrics. By creating an action plan, the table has been set and everyone agrees which KPIs will gauge a campaign’s success.
What Systems Are Being Leveraged? How?
To make the measurement strategy work, marketers must first get access to existing data. For the most part, clients know which pieces of technology they have implemented and why.
But many marketers don’t know the collective benefit of these systems or how to get them to communicate. Unfortunately, they don’t leverage these silos. The web team uses one silo for one thing, sales for another and marketing for yet another.
A good partner will work across teams within an organization to ensure that all relevant systems, such as Tableau, Datorama, Salesforce and Marketo, are leveraged to maximize the end result and write the full story of media impact.
What Happens Without A Measurement Strategy?
If no measurement strategy exists, the campaign will end with only one side of the story and it might not be compelling enough to keep the media funded. An agency won't know the on-site activity that was driven during the campaign, how engaged the audience was on the site or the quality of leads driven from the program. It also won't have insight into how much pipeline it generated or the sales that were a direct result of the media.
End-to-end measurement starts with a strategy and infrastructure and provides the analytics-informed optimization plan at the end of the campaign. All in all, having a full picture of media impact helps agencies and marketers make better decisions with business goals in mind.