Don't Let Marketers 'Run With Scissors'

I recently received an invitation to participate in a discussion with more than 25 global research leaders. The title of the discussion was, “Why is it taking us so long to crack the cross-platform measurement code?”   

Why?  Perhaps it’s because we keep holding meetings to discuss why it’s taking so long instead of sharing actual solutions.

Without translating talk to action, we risk losing our way.  New companies are entering the market making competition fiercer than ever, and most presentations have “plans” and “dates” with boxes for marketers to tick off.  Instead, they should be considering presentations that contain concrete solutions for driving sales growth.

One thing is certain:  No one company will have all the answers.   Advertisers will have to curate from a number of analytics sources to create comprehensive measurement systems, at least, for now.  



In the past two years, I’ve seen amazing new solutions from large traditional solutions providers, startups, and smaller firms that are forging new, collaborative platforms. We’ve seen this across the industry as data integrators like Oracle and Datalogix merged to combine their unique powers.

However, when push comes to shove, my experience is that when any one company has a great solution, it also has no interest in sharing it.

That’s why strategic partnerships and mergers are so important, yet difficult. And that’s one reason why the recently announced Verizon/AOL acquisition is so key to industry advancement.   The deal provides opportunities to fully integrate advertising buying, delivery and attribution, including mobile, paid, owned, earned and shared social media, television, radio and print onto one analytics platform.

Those abilities will be advanced by more mergers like this one. Forging new solutions within a single business makes the future look a bit brighter.  I’ve met the analytics teams at both AOL and Verizon, and these leaders are as bright as they come in our industry.   

My message to marketers, agencies and publishers is this:  Management has to recognize that new tools, platforms and solutions must be created, and measurement applied by insights and analytics experts--these leaders are in your own companies right now.   

We can’t have marketers “running with scissors” as they chase that elusive consumer connection.  Analytics have become more complex created by “metrics mania.”

In response, we have to resist “DIY” analytics and push the experts in our industry to solve our needs now.  There are many leaders in insights and analytics that “get it.”  I’ve met them.  

They sit on my Board of Directors.  They listen to the C-suite. They drive solutions providers to innovate with crystal clear “demands” galvanizing growth with speed and creativity.   

They state that “if you don’t solve this for me, I will solve it myself.”  They are attuned to “decision timing” and combine excellent communication skills and restless dissatisfaction with the concept of consumer-first, you-can’t-count-your –way-to-connections. They understand you can’t count your way to great creative either.

While I applaud the impending AOL/ Verizon merger, and I personally know the incredible talent and strength and leadership skills of their analytics teams, we clearly can’t wait for mergers to connect buyers to sellers, publishers to advertisers and analytic solutions.   

Collaboration is essential, and taking the risk of sharing vs. competing is critical.  The bottom line is that analytics leaders need to step up now and lead.   Demand the best from the industry, share successes and failures and push the C-suite to invest in experimentation and the next generation.   

Our next panel discussion will be on any progress that’s been made in this area, and believe me, we won’t be discussing why it’s taking us so long.   

We’ll be networking, evangelizing each other’s learnings, and taking speedy solutions for growth and sales back to the C-suite.
1 comment about "Don't Let Marketers 'Run With Scissors'".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 15, 2015 at 8:35 a.m.

    One of the reasons that branding advertisers are slow to use cross platform measurements is the fact that, tradionally, their media mix decisions  have been arbitrary ones without concerns about audience or ad impact comparisons. Using the old "apples vs. oranges" excuse, until now most media "plans" have treated each "recommended" medium separately, not in combination, and are, in actuality, buying or scheduling plans. Also, in legacy media plans there are rarely, if ever, discussions of alternate ways to go. All the client sees is "the recommended plan"--actually a collection of medium by medium plans, plus an overall spending flow chart. In such presentations there are few "surprises" since the agency knows what the client wants----or expects to see ----and what he will or will not tolerate. Cross platform measurements have little to do with it.

    Whether this situation will change with the move into digital media and the attempt to direct all media decision-making into automated, "data-driven", planning and buying systems remains to be seen. I suspect that it will be a long, difficult haul.

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