You surely remember it: those days in the not-so-distant past when Multi-Touch Attribution– or “MTA”- was hailed as the marketing save-all. As its many proselytizers declared, MTA had the keys to unlock the magic “path to purchase.”
Its grand promise? By tracking users across devices and ads, using their identities and clicks to determine which ads “caused” them to make a purchase, one could measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
But the system was forever inherently flawed: half of all online purchases have two or fewer clicks prior to purchase. And if cookies and third-party data get the consumer matching wrong by even a small percentage, the models and measurements near-instantly become inaccurate.
Sure, tracking via MTA can be an effective means by which to understand the consumer experience. But it’s a flawed one for measuring the contributions of an ad.
Now, with new privacy regulations hitting marketers — including the GDPR in the European Union and the CCPA Stateside, whereby consumers can “opt-out” — as well as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Safari all blocking cookies and preventing fingerprinting, the precise tracking needed to deem MTA effective has serious chinks in its armor.
Marketers have excellent choices with proven measurement methodologies available at their disposal, even with MTA out of the picture as a viable option.
For brands that are moving away from previous click-based attribution methods, some options include A/B Testing, that when designed and executed properly can provide a good measure of a campaign’s incremental contributions.
The downside is it’s slow, expensive and difficult to execute effectively.
Another option is Marketing Mix Modeling, which measures digital and traditional media, measures online and offline outcomes, and controls for non-marketing factors that impact sales.
Its downsides? It too is slow and expensive, measurement is quite generalized and it can often miss or understate the value of digital marketing.
Therefore, the undeniably best method to adopt for any marketing team is an overall more agile approach to their methods.
Opportunities abound for marketing teams who draw from the agile methodologies used by successful technology companies to chart successful paths forward by using agile processes & analytics providing advantages in speed, lower risks and improved measurement and intelligence.
For the uninitiated, some of the keys to agile marketing include rapid iterations, frequent testing and data-driven decisions, experiments to define and refine a “minimally viable approach,” strong alignment with the market and the end customer, collaboration and planning within smaller teams with strong accountability, and utilization of a strong foundation of measurement as the guide.
When agile marketing efforts are put into place, both speed and flexibility are key. Knowing that getting to market first is a major advantage, agile marketing teams focus on the core offerings allowing them to get to market fastest, with fast and frequent campaign testing.
Furthermore, by listening to the market and adapting quickly and flexibly, agile marketers can succeed by iterating in rapid test and measure cycles to continuously improve.
Also core to an agile approach, is a foundation of measurement. The feedback cycle is essential for continuous improvement and cross-channel measurement approaches are now needed for marketers to get the full picture.
But how can a marketing team become agile? Following three primary areas can lead to success: creating a scrum team, rapid testing and measurement cycles, and scaling with a measurement foundation.
Creating a scrum team is essential to an agile marketing approach.
Typically comprised of 3-5 people who plan, execute and measure results, the roles include the Marketing Owner, who owns market and business strategy inputs, a.k.a. the voice of the consumer; the scrum master, someone who is actively involved in the planning, coaching and facilitating of the agile process; and additional team members, who comprise marketing channel representatives, marketing operations and analytics.
With the scrum team assembled, minimally viable campaigns (MVCs) that align with business goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) become the focal points.
Two-week “agile sprints” essential — the team runs fast-paced in-market execution and tests to identify best approaches that can be translated into full-scale efforts. Most essentially, this reduces both time and expense on losing bets.
Lastly, agile marketers rely on a base of flexible cross-channel measurement — a system that keeps pace and accounts for cross-channel contribution of any scope.
On the whole, unlike MTA, a more agile approach is accurate, extremely fast, highly detailed, and measures both digital and traditional media with both online and offline outcomes.
If your brand still relies on a MTA approach to measure marketing effectiveness, it is time to strongly consider a new approach. As outlined above, serious barriers to MTA-based marketing measurement are hampering its effectiveness.
A more agile approach then, is the best path to success. With cross-channel measurement, speed and guidance, a business can quickly transform a fruitless marketing effort into an effective one.
Matt Voda is the CEO of OptiMine Software, a leader in Cloud-based cross-channel marketing analytics and optimization. He has over 20 years of experience in marketing and product strategy, positioning, and consumer analytics for ecommerce and e-marketing solutions.
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