CMOs are now lasting just three-and-a-half years in their jobs—much shorter than their C-suite colleagues—according to a Spencer Stuart research study. The rationale driving this downward trend is grounded in digital metrics, which have become confusing, abundant, and dead weight dragging down the CMO role.
Unfortunately, we’ve complicated our ecosystem by creating more and more acronyms that, while shiny on the surface, are quite empty when they’re under the magnifying glass.
With such a slew of measurement systems finding their way into programmatic campaigns, and a difficult data tracking environment thanks to the restrictive data giants of the world, accountability is also suffering, “The industry hasn’t been able to break down these walled gardens in order to track a user journey, or work in a constant narrative to measure what attribution or conversion really looks like,” says Arshan Saha, president APAC at Xaxis. He goes on, “Over the last two to three years the programmatic value chain has only gotten more complicated, and it’s also become slightly broken. When I say 'broken', I meant the trust from CMOs has reduced.”
This doesn’t bode well for those bearing the job title, whose responsibilities have seen seismic shifts parallel to the digital landscape. Simply put, there needs to be a mending of trust between programmatic and marketing, and with programmatic penetration set to nearly double in the APAC markets by 2020, the time is nigh for a re-evaluation of this relationship.
Connecting the dots in the consumer journey
Enter the outcome-based marketing strategy, a framework inherently tied to real results, “When you’re looking at this digital marketing strategy, metrics are customised, and tied back to the ROI of the business, or actual business goals that have been set in place,” says Saha.
An easy way to lay out this strategy might be to start from the end result and work backwards: consumer purchase or engagement, that’s the conclusion. From there, work back into touchpoints that are unique to a campaign. It could be Google Analytics data, it could be analytics data on-site, or it could be footfall within stores.
After establishing those touchpoints, then it’s about understanding patterns. What devices are used in the process, and in what order? What ads are leading consumers to what spaces?
There’s a lot to work through, but there are also ways to handle these troves of data. Saha explains, “we use AI to handle the scrolling amount of data assets, that are massive, to deliver a defined metric currency that is personal towards a particular brand.”
With this strategy also comes an ease in focus on disclosure and procurement, swinging the spotlight back towards ROI and growth in sales which, somehow, campaigns have strayed from as of late.
Taking the wheel for real outcomes
CMOs across the APAC region have started to rethink their strategies in terms of digital transformation and ROI, and some brands have already begun to see results. Case in point, an auto company adopted an outcome-based strategy in a recent campaign in collaboration with Xaxis.
With massive data sets waiting to be implemented in a useful way, the opportunity was there for the taking. Step one: honing in on the various touchpoints consumers were making on their way to purchase, narrowing on a demographic who spent a least five minutes browsing car models, and downloaded a brochure, configured a car model online and/or filled in a test-drive form, giving suitable weight to each of these touchpoints in targeting efforts.
Step two: reaching further back in time, tying those individuals to a completed video viewing session or banner ad (who had spent at least 10 minutes on the affiliated website).
Step three: amalgamating these touchpoints into a custom metric capable of benchmarking and quantifying consumer intent, which governed the digital campaign as a whole.
The campaign brought more customers into the automaker’s dealerships, owed to some creative flourishes, but also in large part thanks to the adoption of automated programmatic processes. Saha elaborates, “This is where AI came into context. It’s starting to play a huge role within digital advertising. The larger spectrum of advertising will become digital, and all digital will become programmatic and automated.”
Soon enough, we’ll likely see the user journey within a single view. Until then, making sense of data and automating towards conversion is only going to be made possible with the use of AI, custom metrics, and a push for real outcomes.
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