Last year, P&G’s Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard called all of us out. He said that marketing was wasteful, not as transparent as it should be and not proving its value. And when you take in aggregate the stories of brands appearing on unsafe sites, ad fraud and ad blocking that have dominated the media over the last two years, it’s hard to argue the point. Marketers now know they are “on watch.” And to play devil’s advocate, some of our collective failures are due to how businesses have pushed for proxy metrics like clicks, approached programmatic as a line item on a media plan and thought in siloed channel strategies. But we can and must get better about proving ROI for our clients, pushing for real marketing KPIs and applying automation, machine intelligence and other technology across a wider swath of marketing activities.
1. Interpret the data
Don’t think your customers are communicating with you? Every time they block an ad, skip a video or don’t convert on an ad, they are telling you what you are doing is not working. Your analytics should be able to tell you what’s working and what’s not. But you need to be able to gather actual insights from your reports so that you have the proof to make a change in campaign, audience segmentation or media strategy. Can you test how segments will perform before you activate in media? Are you able to do in-flight campaign optimization based on real-time reports?
2. Set better goals
Proxy metrics like clicks and impressions don’t translate to revenue. You know that, your clients might not. Show them the how and why to get better: case studies, white-labeled performance data, testimonials showing ROI and ROAS. Custom metrics tap into optimization capabilities that map to business outcomes that align with your strategy. For instance, when trying to drive site engagement, look at a user’s time on site.
3. Simplify and clean up your supply chain
Fraud, ads that marketers don’t know are seen by their audiences and a generally convoluted supply chain ecosystem have made buying media a headache for many marketers. The good news is that there are technologies, industry bodies and partners who are making it easier to navigate the complexity of media buying. Companies that hand-curate deals, technology that can ensure your company appears on only brand-safe sites and the IAB’s ads.txt initiative are all options to explore for getting the best value out of your inventory.
4. Ditch being single
Channel, that is. As part of simplifying and cleaning up your supply chain, start thinking of how to approach marketing in an omnichannel way that is led by audience, not content. Reorganize how media planners operate so they can buy and launch campaigns across channels like display, mobile, audio and more in a cohesive, seamless way that reach your audiences where they are instead of where you think they are.
5. Go bigger with programmatic
Programmatic can be used across your entire media budget, drive more mature audience management and help you harness insights from analytics. Automated adtech and martech are empowering us to create more targeted ads across owned channels like email and paid channels like display, but you need to do the work to converge these systems first. Think outside of where you currently apply programmatic. If you’re just using it for display, why not trial putting budget towards video? Or running a mobile-audio campaign?