Aaron Fetters’ self-professed “passion for driving growth” is evident in his breakthrough work at Kellogg. As director of its Insights and Analytics Solutions Center, he leads a broad marketing insights organization that is applying innovative approaches to measurement and optimization to appreciably improve the company’s media effectiveness and ROI.
Market mix model adoption/application is just one area where Kellogg is pushing boundaries, Fetters says. “Not only has the sophistication of our models increased, we are participating in projects such as the Digital Media Consortium, which is advancing the understanding of social and search results within mix models,” he notes. “We are also participating in industry studies, with partners such as NCS and Millward Brown, on the long-term impact of advertising. As the availability of data and sophistication of modeling techniques continues to advance, we will explore multi-touch-point attribution modeling and other techniques that we believe will enhance our understanding of optimizing every dollar we spend.”
Here he explains how technology and data are impacting measurement and customer targeting at Kellogg, the metrics of most value to the company, and key measurement challenges.
Q. How is new technology helping you to measure, analyze, and optimize the ROI of your media plans in real time?
A. The past few years have seen tremendous leaps in both technology and data available to marketers for use in analysis and optimization. On the technology side we have seen the greatest opportunities, primarily in digital and addressable advertising. New analytic capabilities are allowing us to measure key performance indicators — such as viewability for both online banner advertising and online video advertising — in real time. Our programmatic media partners have proven their ability to ingest and optimize against such a metric in real time, and we have seen tremendous improvements in the delivery and effectiveness of our media because of this.
Q. By the same token, how is the combination of technology and big data helping you to target customers more effectively?
A. To me, what’s exciting in the area of technology and data is the impact it’s having across media touch points. For example, Kellogg is aggressively pursuing the opportunity to enhance the planning and delivery of both television and digital media through the application of purchase-based data. By working with key partners, we are able to better understand our most valuable households and more precisely deliver our messaging to them. When using this approach to plan TV for one of our larger brands, we were able to demonstrate a quantifiable lift in return on ad spend. Moving forward, we envision a data-driven ecosystem in which data and technology allow us to continually optimize the delivery of our message across touch points in real time, in a way that maximizes the impact we have with consumers.
Q. What are some of the key metrics you’re using to measure marketing success?
A. At Kellogg we love the statement “measure what matters.” Ultimate success is measured in the form of volume sold, profit generated, and ROI. For our brands these metrics obviously take time to read and attribute back to various marketing efforts, so we have made great progress in establishing and testing metrics we believe to be most indicative of ultimate success. It starts with the right quality of content — we seek to ensure any content placed in the market has the right to succeed, whether through traditional copy-testing metrics or even a more subjective evaluation against a set of creative principles. From there it’s about reaching the right audience. In the digital space metrics like display viewability, percent video audible and viewable on completion, target index, and frequency are metrics we pay close attention to, optimize on a daily/weekly basis, and hold our partners accountable for. Finally, we seek to ensure our work has the right impact. In the shorter term we use a combination of survey metrics such as top-of-mind awareness and purchase intent, along with occasional offline sales studies which measure return on ad spend. In the longer term our market mix models help us understand the effectiveness (volume/impression) and ROI of each marketing activity.
Q. What big industry challenges remain on the measurement front?
A. From my perspective, I would list the biggest measurement challenges as cross-platform, mobile, social, and content. I am excited by the tremendous progress made in the area of cross-platform measurement, but it’s still a very young discipline and technology set that needs to mature before it’s truly ready to impact marketing results. Mobile, social, and content-based marketing each pose various challenges when it comes to measuring what they deliver in terms of audience and impact for marketers. Marketers have limited dollars to invest, and our goal is to seek and apply new solutions that help us place these emerging spaces in equal context to the traditional spend areas of TV, print, and even digital display and video advertising.
Aaron Fetters, director of the Insights and Analytics Solutions Center at Kellogg, will be a featured speaker at the Association of National Advertisers’ 2014 Masters of Measurement Conference, Sept. 23, in New York.