How To Avoid Snake Oil In Measurement Solutions

On a recent business trip in New York, I came upon a street vendor selling bottles of what he touted as a cure-all for just about any ailment, from sore muscles to exhaustion and migraines.

My experience got me thinking about the plethora of marketing measurement solutions available today. Some tout the benefits of algorithms based on game theory, agent-based modeling, and any other buzzwords designed to woo the marketer. But are these types of algorithms really applicable to marketing measurement? And if so, how can a marketer be sure they are applied correctly?

In order to avoid snake oil, you must ask the right questions:

Is methodology consistently validated over time? In other words, the actual results must consistently meet or exceed the results that were predicted. When evaluating marketing measurement solutions, make sure the methodology can be scientifically and mathematically validated.

Does the methodology differentiate between causation and correlation? All too often, correlation is used as a way to understand how a new marketing campaign or other event may lead to a conversion. But correlation does not imply causation and can lead marketers astray when determining what’s driving conversions and revenue.

What percentage of your marketing touchpoint data is used? To be effective, an advanced marketing measurement solution must use all possible marketing touchpoints and attributes to which both converters and non-converters are exposed. While sampling and probabilistic approaches may be useful in certain cases, a deterministic approach that uses all possible data points is critical when you are splitting conversion credits at a very granular level.

Does it account for your unique business goals, metrics and taxonomy? Not all solutions have the flexibility to accommodate your specific needs. In order for the insights and recommendations from a measurement solution to be relevant and actionable, it must be configurable to your company’s unique goals, key performance indicators, taxonomy, cost calculation formulae and business rules.

Can the insights and recommendations be operationalized? While accurate measurement and optimization are critical components of any measurement solution, activation is equally important. Look for solutions that can automatically send media buying instructions to programmatic execution platforms, so you can instantly activate optimization recommendations and ensure your media buys are based on the most accurate information.

Can existing clients provide references and proof of return on marketing investments?

Perhaps most importantly, make sure any vendor you’re considering is able to provide client references and proof of incremental ROI on marketing spend from using the solution. Also look for as acceptance of the methodology by independent, third-party analysts.

1 comment about "How To Avoid Snake Oil In Measurement Solutions".
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  1. jack Brown from BDAI, February 24, 2015 at 4:09 p.m.

    Excellent advice, every word of it. Every potential market measurement partner should be vetted before and during your partnership using these guide lines.

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