Beckon shared the Advertising Week stage yesterday morning with a group of data-driven marketing leaders from IBM, Coke and Reebok to talk candidly about some of the so-called “best practices” in modern marketing and whether or not these tactics actually make an impact on the business. Responding to findings from a report released by Beckon earlier this week analyzing $16B in performance data across the world’s largest brands, the group talked about trends and opportunities in marketing today, and gave recommendations to improve marketing ROI.
Here are some of the highlights from the discussion but if you have time for a short video, I highly recommend checking out the recorded version of the panel here.
Every brand should be a content machine.
David Oksman, head of US Marketing for Reebok, recommends identifying content KPI’s upfront. “At Reebok, we don’t just focus on the “what,” we focus on the “why.” What does success actually look like with the content we’re creating?” He commented that many brands focus on top of the funnel content rather than middle of the funnel content that isn’t as effective in customer conversion. He also urged brands to consider looking at third-party publishers who are content experts, citing an example of working with VICE on successful initiatives.
You should DRASTICALLY reduce your non-working media spend.
For Leana Less, VP Global Connections and Media for Coca-Cola, her team is less concerned about the “right” ratio of non-working media spend and more on the optimization of the media spend. She talked about a recent restructuring of the entire marketing organization to be able to identify where funds should be moved and allocated. This included a deeper focus on data-driven decision-making across the team and looking at skill-sets and team structures.
Oksman commented, “Non-working media could also be called creative media spend. It’s not one or the other—it’s about efficiency. Do I need better, more personalized content that’s going to pull people in, or is it more about eyeballs and reach? Looking at the data will tell you where you’re most efficient.”
Every brand should be doing programmatic.
Data-driven marketing is a core element for Ari Sheinkin, VP Marketing Analytics for IBM. Programmatic is executed across the organization because they’ve measured the ROI and seen improvement. “For us, understanding our audience has made us successful and is probably critical for the success of programmatic buying across the board.”
Less mentioned, “The programmatic adoption rate is quite high across our organization because we saw significant increase in ROI. But it’s important to be realistic about the results and be aware they generally go up very quickly, then gradually decline over time.”
For Reebok, they use programmatic for buys that are supported by the data that they have but still use traditional buying in instances when they’re relying on human thinking and intuition.
You must separate church and state and bring analytics in-house. Agencies shouldn’t be measuring their own performance.
The panelists unanimously agreed that analytics must be a core internal capability and not something that is entirely outsourced. Said Oksman, “We all have to be analysts. If we’re not curious and constantly analyzing what’s working and not, we will never drive change.”
Less noted that agencies are important, but the traditional marriage of the two parties—where brands kept agencies for decades at a time with limited review—simply isn’t as common anymore. Having access to the data after those relationships change or dissolve is important. She also emphasized that good partnerships exist when both the agency and the brand have access to the same, clean data so their decision-making processes are aligned.
Agile marketing is essential. Marketers should act like traders—use data and optimize constantly.
All of the panelists agreed that data is the key to unlocking agility.
Sheinkin said, “Agility comes pretty naturally to us. IBM is a software company so encouragement to become more agile comes from the top down. Our leadership is familiar with agile development principles so data informs every decision we make. Our team has the tools they need to access that data and understands how important it is to our success as a team.”
Less said, “For us, data is critical at every stage of the process. We need to know what is working and not before we can make decisions. The faster we have access to the data, the faster we can make decisions and the more agile we become.”
Oksman noted, “Gone are the days where we spend days coming up with the message we think, but don’t know, will resonate. Now we come up with a range of ideas and let the consumer choose.”