Case Studies (New)

Nielsen Helps The California Academy of Sciences Optimize its Marketing Mix and Spend

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1 Copyright © 2019 The Nielsen Company (US), LLC. Confidential and proprietary. Do not distribute. NIELSEN HELPS THE CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OPTIMIZE ITS MARKETING MIX AND SPEND TESTIMONIAL As one of the largest museums of natural history in the world, California Academy of Sciences (CAS) welcomes more than a million visitors to explore the wonders of nature every year. But non-profit marketing isn't easy. Increasing awareness, admissions and membership sales without spending an arm and a leg can seem impossible in a world of bigger, more financially equipped advertisers. Success depends on adopting smart, efficient and effective marketing strategies. SITUATION Given its relatively small marketing budget, CAS needs to make every marketing dollar work harder. Reaching as many people as possible as efficiently as possible is essential for driving awareness while keeping costs down. Prior to working with Nielsen, CAS didn't know if its marketing investments were even profitable, much less how much to spend, when, and in which vehicles to drive the greatest revenue and return. Understanding the impact of all business drivers – from traditional and digital media, to pricing, product and external factors such as weather and competitive activities – would be critical to success. CHALLENGE Understand the true drivers of performance and maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of CAS's marketing spend in driving general admission tickets and membership sales. GOAL CAS has partnered with Nielsen to help them make smarter marketing investment decisions since 2010. Every 18-24 months, Nielsen performs a marketing mix modeling (MMM) analysis to uncover key revenue drivers and deliver actionable recommendations for optimal marketing performance going forward. Nielsen's MMM approach is a regression-based model that takes into account all potential drivers of sales to tease out the drivers of demand and calculate return on investment. For CAS, the media factors in the model included TV, online video, OOH, print, radio (traditional and online), email, direct mail, digital display, paid social, organic social and search. Several non-media factors were accounted for as well, including price, weather, holidays, special exhibits and competitive activities. Based on the analysis, Nielsen was able to diagnose the drivers of attendance and membership sales, understand changes over time, and calculate the return on investment by activity so CAS could make key advertising and investment decisions. SOLUTION "CAS is an analytically rigorous organization, and Nielsen has been instrumental in helping us make fact-based marketing investment decisions within the context of our business realities. With each analysis, we've been able to answer key business questions around pricing and new products, in addition to understanding performance drivers and how to best optimize our marketing mix. Each MMM study we run is an investment that pays for itself." Melissa Felder Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer, California Academy of Sciences "We work with advertiser budgets ranging from a few million to a few billion dollars to help them optimize their marketing spend. While California Academy of Sciences falls at the lower end in terms of spend, it's impressive to see the analytical rigor and discipline they have implemented in an organization of its size. It requires the right mindset, team and persistence over time. Nonprofit and for-profit organizations alike can learn a lot from The Academy." Ankur Jain VP, Marketing Effectiveness, Nielsen

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