7 Marketing Problems and How Multi-Touch Attribution Solves Them

August 2, 2018 Ginna Hall

Last year, the American Marketing Association unveiled the first ever “intellectual agenda” in its almost 80-year history. The slate features the “seven big problems” confronting marketing today.

In an article on the AMA’s site, CEO Russ Klein states, “The seven big problems will drive content for the entire AMA community: a multi-faceted and diverse group of professionals in marketing and sales, academic researchers and educators, and collegiate marketing hopefuls.”

“You have a life pulling you in different directions in what is arguably the most distracted and distracting society in history,” added Klein. “And that’s what the seven big problems aim to address—how you can best be both objective and action-oriented.”

The article, “7 Big Problems in the Marketing Industry” describes the issues that matter most to marketers and pressing questions surrounding them.

As an attribution vendor, Nielsen has a unique take on each of these issues. Our platform helps marketers make accurate, data-driven decisions about strategies, audiences, tactics and timing, so you can create the best experience for your customers and the greatest returns for your business.

Here are our seven “MTA Takeaways” that show how multi-touch attribution can help address each of today’s biggest marketing challenges.

1. Effectively Targeting High Value Sources of Growth.

In the digital era, marketers have added new data, tactics and technologies to their toolboxes. We’re finding more opportunities than ever before. But there are costs to pursuing any one channel at the expense of another. We’ve realized that expanding our reach isn’t enough. We need to be selective and home in on the highest value audience segments that are cost effective.

MTA Takeaway: The path to growth is via high-performing audience segments based on relevant actions or desired characteristics. Identifying and integrating customer and third-party data with multi-touch attribution measurement gives you an unparalleled view of marketing and advertising performance by audience segment, which allows you to optimize those with growth potential.

2. The role of marketing in the firm and the C-suite.

The place of marketing within organizations is changing. The primary responsibility has shifted from being the brand voice to generating leads, with an increased emphasis on revenue and ROI. Marketing leaders are questioning what a “world-class” organization looks like, how their teams should be structured, and the relationship between in-house, agencies, and vendors.

MTA Takeaway: Because consumers travel across channels and expect seamless experiences, marketing team silos must break down so that each team member has access to insights along the consumer journey. Multi-touch attribution solutions reveal cross-channel performance and, when implemented properly, force previously siloed teams to share insights and collaborate and give insights to C-level leaders.

3. The digital transformation of the modern corporation.

Mobile, the Internet of Things, smartphones, and widespread wireless broadband have disrupted the way we live, work and play. Industries from retail to healthcare have seen unprecedented change. And according to the AMA, “[T]he entire organization is changing, not just the interfaces with customers. Structures, processes, workflow and decision right are being transformed due to digitization.”

MTA Takeaway: New times call for new measurement. Today’s digital world requires multi-touch attribution. Estimates of how many people might have seen your message have given way to knowing the location, device, time, browser and action of every consumer touchpoint online. Being able to reach and engage your best customer as they move along a tangled digital path requires sophisticated understanding of tools and tactics, as well as a clear strategy and vision.

4. Generating and using insight to shape marketing practice.

We all leave digital footprints online. Marketers have access to more data than ever before. But “[a]n argument could be made that while our data and knowledge are rapidly growing, our actual insight is not. What does it mean to have a customer insight that can be leveraged in the marketplace?”

MTA Takeaway: Multi-touch attribution lets you take advantage of the unique set of data produced by addressable channels to understand marketing effectiveness at granular levels, by audience, and at a near real-time cadence. It’s the difference between understanding how TV, print, radio, email and paid social impacted sales last quarter, and seeing which display ad worked best yesterday to drive in-store sales so you can boost ad spend for the winners while the campaign is still in-flight.

5. Dealing with an omni-channel world.

Continuous growth in the digital space has dramatically changed how consumers interact with brands. The proliferation of new channels and devices has created a complex environment and new opportunities.  What new capabilities do firms need to put in place to take advantage of this world? How can companies connect online and offline customer experiences and determine the impact of digital advertising on offline sales?

MTA Takeaway: One of the biggest benefits of the digital era is the ability to engage with real people. Addressable channels allow marketers to move from marketing to anonymous personas to engaging with actual individuals. Persistent IDs can be linked to demographic and interest data via multi-touch attribution for a 360-degree view of each consumer and their interactions with a brand, no matter where those interactions occur. This type of people-based marketing enables brands to reach the right audience, with the right message, at the right place and time.

6. Competing in dynamic, global markets.

The speed of change is accelerating, at both customer and competitor level. Because customers can now tap into a 24/7 global marketplace of ideas and products, new competitors and new marketplaces are emerging. What is the best way for companies to expand globally and fend off threats from innovative rivals? How can they move more quickly?

MTA Takeaway: Identifying changes in the market quickly requires near-real time insight. The shorter the timeline from when an individual engages with a brand until they convert, the better. This means marketers need to be able to act on the touchpoints along a prospect’s journey as quickly as possible. By using algorithmic attribution models that are updated every day, marketers don’t need to rely on outdated data for their analyses. These real-time insights and optimizations can have a significant impact on campaign efficiency and long-term growth.

7. Balancing incremental and radical innovation.

Companies need to market effectively in the present while preparing for the future. How do we continue to innovate while managing the initiatives that keep the lights on day-to-day? And “How do we foster innovation beyond the product—to the organization, networks, financial models, distribution channels and other forms of innovation—that can accelerate competing for the future?”

MTA Takeaway: The future is a place where real time is more important. Today, it takes time for some channels to work. In the future, it will take less time. Everything will become faster with greater opportunities for optimization, which needs to mirror the cadence of each channel. Having real-time data via multi-touch attribution gives marketers the information they need to optimize at the right time and frequency. Building today for a future like that is incredibly important. The successful brands of tomorrow are those that develop the capability to learn from the data today.

Learn More

To learn more about how multi-touch attribution can help you be a better marketer in the digital era, download our ebook: Crossing the New Digital Divide: Your Guide to Marketing Effectiveness

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