Closing The Gap Between Targeting And Performance

Much of my writing the last year has been about closing the gap in marketing between the unknown and the known, discussing how you should reduce untargeted message delivery to an anonymous audience and instead use data to know something about everyone, ensuring 100% targeted delivery.   Data is extremely useful in this situation, but there’s a secondary gap you need to close as well, and that lies between targeting and performance.  Understanding the data on the front end as well as the back end can lead to massive increases in efficiency and performance.

Many marketers spend time creating methodologies for understanding how their efforts are impacting business, but in doing so they spend a ton of calories creating work rather than reducing it.  Marketers are very creative, so our first inclination is to prove that creativity by coming up with metrics that are proxies because we don’t have access to the information we need.  These proxies usually sound like “cost per blah blah blah” (like “cost per interaction” or “cost per time spent”).  In doing this, we continue to create distance between true business metrics and our reliance on them as proof that what we are doing is driving the bottom line. 



In many cases, even traditional media-mix modeling is an example of a crutch: something we rely on to cover up our other maladies of disconnected data.  To be truly effective, we need to decrease the space between the advertising and marketing on the front end and the business impact on the back end, and we need to do so in terms of two dimensions: access to the data as well as recency of the data.

Access to the actual sales data and some methodology for tracking a customer from audience exposure through to sale is key.  Whether it be through the use of cookies, deterministic IDs, loyalty programs or some combination of all of the above, the answer is there, and it is accessible if you have the right relationships in place. It may require external partnerships to access the data, especially if you are not in a direct-channel sale category, but it exists, and for at least 40% of your audience you can likely gain insight into the closed-sales process. 

The second dimension is recency, and this is why technology is becoming ever more important.  Your ability to establish a tech stack for your marketing that allows you to gain access to this data and process it in as close to real time as possible is important, and also quite feasible to do.

If you are determining where to begin in the development of your tech stack, my recommendation is to start with the lowest-hanging fruit: email and your site.  These are the two most important “owned” elements of your outbound marketing.  That being said, the data layer of your stack is crucial to making this work properly, and the data layer of your stack will enable you to identify data that provides you access to insights and the ability activate those insights in a fast turnaround time frame.  You might have to start with your site and email, but coming closely behind will be a DMP and data partnerships. 

If you enable these elements and you train your team to partner with IT and the analysts rather than be territorial, you can successfully start to close the gap between targeting and performance, while also closing the gap from the unknown to the known. 

Are you creating new metrics, or are you trying to align the ones that you have?



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