Nielsen’s Matt Krepsik Urges a Return to Brand Building

August 27, 2019 Ginna Hall

Part of this article originally appeared on Beet.TV

Multi-touch attribution sounds like a dream come true. The ability to break down the consumer journey and assess the incremental impact of each touchpoint on leads, sales and revenue can be a godsend for marketers who need to make the most out of every marketing dollar spent.

But what happens when all the focus is placed at the bottom of the funnel and what drove a conversion? Marketers have to build the brand before they can grow the business. In all the excitement around attribution, many marketers have lost sight of the importance of brand building. 

In a recent interview for Beet.TV, Nielsen’s Global Head of Analytics Matt Krepsik explored the unforeseen side effects of attribution, how it’s shifted the focus to lower-funnel activities, and why long-term success means finding the right balance between branding and direct response. 

Investing in Long-Term Brand Building

Krepsik issued a call-to-arms for getting back to brand-building. He thinks brands should actually look beyond merely media measurement, and beyond counting existing audience members, to return to bringing in new audiences in the first place.

“Over the past three to five years, we’ve focused on metrics, and metrics have been indispensable to helping ad brand advertisers drive accountability, drive transparency and drive clarity,” he says.

“However, those metrics have also made it easier to focus on short-term outcomes. That’s come at the expense of brand building. And brand building takes time.”

Many brands have taken advantage of the arsenal of digital tools available to develop sophisticated, data-enabled strategies that increasingly veer toward targeting consumers known to be in-market for a particular product.

And many publishers and intermediaries are now on-hand to price those ads based on known outcomes, such as when an actual purchase occurs and can be attributed to an ad exposure.

But Krepsik thinks that more brands need to get back to building initial awareness.

“The biggest gap that a lot of brands see today, is they need to continue to nurture that upper funnel,” he says. “It’s not just about that last click, that last conversion and getting a customer once they’re already in the store.

“It’s about ensuring that your brand is in the consideration set. So before they go to the store, before they go to your website, before they engage at an automotive dealer or a bank or a financial institution, you want to make sure that your brand has that awareness.”

Krepsik says Nielsen has picked up know-how from service auto companies, whose products typically operate on a longer consume awareness-to-purchase cycle, and has been applying that timeline to things like financial services and consumer packaged goods.

He is telling a new generation of brands: “It’s not just about the next transaction, it’s actually the next five transactions, it’s in the next 10 purchases.

“It’s ‘how do we make sure our brand stays in the basket, our brand stays in the consideration set, and build that strong connection with this next generation of consumers?'”

Keeping Pace with Consumer Behavior

Never before have we been able to watch, listen to, download, and read the content we want, via the services we use, on the devices we own. The evolving technology landscape continues to shape new media patterns for consumers.

Though each platform offers its own distinct advantages for consumers, there a symbiotic relationship between traditional and digital technologies, whether users are augmenting their linear TV viewing experience with social media via their smartphones or purchasing goods related to a radio ad they’re hearing.

As consumers continue to interact with media across a growing number of screens, marketers equipped to address the unique measurement challenges of the multi-device world will gain the edge on  competitors without these critical tools.

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