Inch by inch, bit by bit: using Big Data to measure marketing ROI

Measuring ROI on Social Media Marketing campaigns is difficult.  Capturing and analyzing Big Data is a Big part of the solution.

By Eric Benjamin Seufert, Owner, Heracles

As a consultant, I often see executives at client companies run into two distinct but related dead ends when considering a specific marketing campaign:

  • That a campaign looks promising, but we can’t measure it with our existing infrastructure, and we only run campaigns that we can properly measure, attribute, and calculate ROI for
  • That a campaign looks interesting, but since we can’t measure it, we can just lump the expense into “brand engagement / extension” and not worry about ROI.

Neither of these lines of thought is ideal. The former leads to companies clinging tightly to a narrow range of marketing channels, all of which will experience a diminishing rate of return over time, leading to loggerheads within the organization: we can’t grow because we can’t spend money on our portfolio of existing channels, but we can’t extend our marketing capabilities to new channels because we have no way of calculating ROI for them.

The second is worse and generally produces a toxic political climate in an organization. ROI is marketing’s north star: without gearing all marketing activities to ROI, marketing becomes an expensive vanity program for a company: a series of parties, sponsored events, partnerships, and stunts that produce introducing Instagram feeds for the company’s marketing employees but little or no revenue.

Every company on the planet now has the opportunity to connect with customers via social media, especially on mobile, which is probably the closest thing to a unifying experience that humanity has ever known. Whether your game is digital or not, you have the ability to reach, engage with, and track customers on mobile now with a high level of precision. Wading into this dynamic, fast moving world isn’t always comfortable, especially for marketers that are used to running a certain type of campaigns, but it’s highly lucrative.

And what’s perhaps even more exciting about the shift to mobile is that the biggest social media companies are doing much of the heavy lifting for advertisers in terms of targeting and measurement. Facebook, and to a lesser extent Snapchat and Twitter, are able to help you create custom audiences, use your own proprietary targeting data, and track users throughout their journey with your product. It’s in their best interest to do so: the more value you get out of campaigns run on their platforms, the more you’re likely to spend with them.

The presentation I recently gave at the European Lotteries Conference in London emphasized the fact that “big data” in marketing is mostly used to connect the various channels that marketers use and, via internal analytics infrastructure, create a single version of the “truth” concerning ROI. Email, social media, video, and even out of home: with enough effort invested into systems and data architecture, all of these channels can be stitched together into a single marketing framework to help you grow your lottery game, whether it exists online or only on the counters of convenience stores.

And increasingly, doing this — building out a business intelligence infrastructure that can accommodate these myriad, varied customer acquisition and engagement channels — is an organizational imperative. Customers live everywhere: if you’re not creating touchpoints for your existing customers or trying to reach new customers on mobile video, or with email campaigns, or in the retail setting, then you’re giving your competitors ample chance to do so uncontested.

Operating across every possible channel and not just the ones you’ve always operated on, with a model that allows for ROI to be calculated on advertising spend, is a strategic challenge that touches every part of the organization, not just marketing. But it’s marketing that bears the brunt of the responsibility for ensuring that the company is reaching every potential new customer, and so it’s the marketing team that must lead the charge into unchartered waters of customer acquisition. “We’ve never run advertising on that channel” is no better of an excuse for a marketing team to use than “We ran that campaign without worrying about ROI” — if the analytics needs of a campaign dictate how much money can be spent on it, then the marketing team must make sure that those analytics needs are met.

“Big Data” as a concept is actually pretty easy to deal with — in fact, lots of data usually lends itself to simple methods of analysis. What’s difficult to organize and use is “messy data”: data from lots of different sources that doesn’t necessarily fit together well. While the big social media outlets do a lot to make messy data useful to advertisers, it’s still important and obligatory for marketing teams to find ways to tie all of their campaigns together in a way that helps utilize new marketing channels while still focusing on ROI.

email: eric@hrcls.co, website: http://hrcls.co

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Synopsis

Français
Centimètre par centimètre, petit à petit : en utilisant les Big Data pour mesurer le marketing ROI.  Par Eric Benjamin Seufert En tant que consultant, je vois souvent les dirigeants des entreprises clientes s’engouffrer dans deux impasses distinctes, mais liées, quand ils envisagent une campagne marketing spécifique :
  • Une campagne semble prometteuse, mais nous ne pouvons pas la mesurer avec notre infrastructure existante, et nous ne lançons que des campagnes dont nous pouvons correctement mesurer, attribuer et calculer le ROI.
  • Une campagne semble intéressante, mais comme nous ne pouvons pas la mesurer, nous pouvons simplement attribuer la dépense sous la ligne « engagement/extension de la marque » et ne pas s’inquiéter du ROI.
Aucune de ces approches n’est idéale. La première conduit à ce que les entreprises s’accrochent fermement à une petite gamme de canaux de commercialisation. Le second est pire et produit généralement un climat politique toxique dans une organisation. Si l’ensemble des activités marketing d’une entreprise n’est pas orienté vers le ROI, le marketing devient un programme coûteux qui ne fait que flatter l’organisation. Fonctionner dans tous les canaux possibles et pas seulement ceux dont vous avez l’habitude, avec un modèle qui permet au ROI d’être calculé sur les dépenses publicitaires, est un défi stratégique qui touche toutes les parties de l’organisation, pas seulement le marketing. Il s’avère que le concept de « Big Data » est assez facile à traiter. En fait, beaucoup de données se prêtent généralement à des méthodes d’analyse simples. Ce qui est difficile à organiser et à utiliser, ce sont les « données désordonnées » : des données provenant de nombreuses sources différentes qui ne correspondent pas toujours bien entre elles. Si les grands réseaux sociaux s’efforcent de rendre les données désordonnées utiles aux annonceurs, il demeure important et nécessaire pour les équipes marketing de trouver des façons de lier toutes leurs campagnes, et ce de manière à pouvoir utiliser de nouveaux canaux marketing, tout en se concentrant sur le ROI. E-mail : eric@hrcls.co, site Internet : http://hrcls.co                                                              
Español
Palmo a palmo, dato a dato: usar el Big Data para medir la rentabilidad de la inversión en marketing.  Por Eric Benjamin Seufert Como consultor, observo a menudo ejecutivos de empresas, que son clientes nuestros, que acaban en dos callejones sin salida distintos pero relacionados cuando consideran lanzar una campaña de marketing específica:
  • una campaña que parece prometedora, pero que no podemos medir con nuestra infraestructura actual; y nosotros solo lanzamos campañas que podamos medir y asignar, y para la que podamos calcular la rentabilidad de la inversión [en inglés, Return On Investment (ROI)] de forma adecuada;
  • una campaña que parece interesante, pero ya que no podemos medirla, solo podemos meter el gasto como “expansión/compromiso con la marca” y no preocuparnos por el ROI.
Ninguna de estas reflexiones es ideal. La primera lleva a las empresas a aferrarse a una gama reducida de canales de marketing. La segunda es peor, y suele generar un clima político tóxico en la organización. Si no se enfocan todas las actividades de la comercialización al ROI, el marketing se convierte en un costoso abanico para airear el ego de la empresa. Operar a través de todos los canales posibles y no solo en aquellos en los que siempre ha trabajado, con un modelo que permita calcular el ROI del gasto en publicidad, representa un desafío estratégico que afecta cada parte de la organización, no solo el marketing. El “Big Data” como concepto es, en realidad, muy fácil de abordar: de hecho, las grandes cantidades de datos se suelen prestar bien a métodos de análisis simples. Lo que es difícil de organizar y utilizar son los “datos desordenados”: datos obtenidos de un montón de fuentes diferentes que no tienen por qué encajar bien necesariamente. Mientras que los grandes medios sociales realizan grandes esfuerzos para dotar de utilidad a los datos desordenados para los anunciantes, sigue siendo importante y obligatorio para los equipos de marketing encontrar maneras de unir todas sus campañas de una manera que les ayude a utilizar nuevos canales de marketing sin perder de vista el ROI. Correo electrónico: eric@hrcls.co, sitio web: http://hrcls.co
Deutsch
Zentimeter für Zentimeter, Stück für Stück: mit Big Data den Marketing-ROI messen.  Von Eric Benjamin Seufert Als Berater sehe ich oft Führungskräfte bei Kundenfirmen, die in zwei verschiedene, aber verwandte Sackgassen laufen, wenn sie eine spezifische Marketingkampagne betrachten:
  • Dass eine Kampagne vielversprechend aussieht, aber wir sie nicht mit unserer bestehenden Infrastruktur messen können, und wir nur Kampagnen durchführen, die wir für das ROI richtig messen, zuschneiden und berechnen können
  • Dass eine Kampagne interessant aussieht, aber da wir sie nicht messen können, können wir einfach die Kosten in „Markenengagement/-erweiterung“ zusammenfassen und müssen uns nicht um das ROI sorgen.
Keiner dieser Gedanken ist ideal. Ersterer führt dazu, dass sich die Unternehmen eng an eine begrenzte Palette von Marketingkanälen klammern. Der zweite ist noch schlimmer und schafft in der Regel ein toxisches politisches Klima in einem Unternehmen. Ohne die Übertragung aller Marketing-Aktivitäten auf das ROI wird Marketing zu einem teuren Eitelkeitsprogramm für ein Unternehmen. Der Betrieb über jeden möglichen Kanal und nicht nur die, die Sie schon immer betrieben haben, mit einem Modell, das erlaubt, dass das ROI auf Werbeausgaben berechnet wird, ist eine strategische Herausforderung, die jeden Teil des Unternehmens berührt, nicht nur das Marketing. „Big Data“ als Konzept ist eigentlich ziemlich einfach zu handhaben – in der Tat eignen sich große Datenmengen in der Regel für einfache Analysemethoden. Was schwer zu organisieren und zu verwenden ist, sind „unordentliche Daten“: Daten aus vielen verschiedenen Quellen, die nicht unbedingt gut zusammen passen. Während die großen Social-Media-Outlets viel dafür tun, unordentliche Daten für Werbetreibende nützlich zu machen, ist es immer noch wichtig und obligatorisch für Marketing-Teams, herauszufinden, wie man alle ihre Kampagnen in einer Weise zusammenführt, die hilft, neue Marketing-Kanäle zu nutzen, während man sich immer noch auf das ROI konzentriert. E-Mail: eric@hrcls.co, Website: http://hrcls.co

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