Just published: The Forrester Wave: Cross-Channel Attribution Providers

Blogged in collaboration with Rebecca McAdams, Research Associate, serving Customer Insights professionals.

Consumers are connected, constantly influenced by marketing messages, their friend’s social posts, blog posts, reviews, mobile messages, and Twitter posts. In fact, US Adults have an average of three connected devices.  Consumers are leaving breadcrumbs of information behind, across multiple channels and devices.  Marketers are jumping at the chance to connect with their customers through proactive marketing campaigns and even through non-marketing interactions. But which interactions actually drive impact? What interactions are responsible for sales conversions, and which interactions merely "assist" conversions?  CI Pros and marketers are stumped; they must measure these complex interactions to help drive future marketing and media investments and to actually measure their marketing efforts.  

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Make the Case for Cross-Channel Attribution

By now, we know that attribution is essentially the answer to many marketers’ prayers: more accurate performance metrics, better cross channel insights, and a more informed marketing spend.  While the benefits to attribution are clear,  many CI pros and marketers still need to make the case for attribution.  They need funding, and support from their executives.  In light of this aversion to investing in attribution, the recent business case report, Measure the Impact of Cross-Channel Attribution, will help CI pros build the business case you need to convince executives that implementing cross-channel attribution is definitely worth the time, effort, and money.  As you follow our guide to building the business case, you will cover all necessary bases by laying out the costs and benefits of attribution, while also planning for any possible risks you may run into along the way.

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What Does Acxiom's $310M LiveRamp Bid Mean For Marketers?

On May 14, Acxiom announced its intention to acquire LiveRamp, a "data onboarding service," to the tune of $310 million in cash. Several Forrester analysts (Fatemeh Khatibloo, Susan BidelSri Sridharan, and I) cover these two firms, and what follows is our collective thinking on the impending acquisition after having been briefed by Acxiom's leadership on the matter.

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The Recent Attribution Technology Acquisitions Don't Surprise Us In The Least

On the morning of May 6, 2014, Google announced its intent to acquire Adometry, a leader in the attribution technology space. Later on the same day, AOL announced its intent to acquire Convertro, another top-performing attribution technology vendor. The Adometry acquisition is not surprising, as Google needed to make major investments in its existing attribution offering with some enhanced analytics and insights services, which Adometry can provide. AOL’s acquisition of Convertro was a move to further build out its ad technology stack, hoping to obtain strong attribution algorithm and stellar engineering staff through this acquisition.

Both companies stand to benefit from the acquisition of these small but extremely knowledgeable experts in marketing and media measurement. Two of the biggest benefits for each include:

  • A strong services staff with deep knowledge of all media and marketing data and, more importantly, the expertise in driving actionable insights in a complicated media-buying world.
  • An innovative ability to stitch data sources together — online, offline, and mobile — across the buyer’s journey.
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Case Study Preview: Adopt Marketing Mix Modeling to Guide Future Investments

Consumers interact with brands across various mediums — their smartphones, computers, call center, in-store — just to name a few. Their interactions with brands — from viewing a TV ad to re-tweeting a promotion — are creating such a rich trove of data that marketers are left wondering: How do I glean relevant insights to optimize my marketing and media? Which channels should I optimize? How can I meet my growth goals while expanding into new, unfamiliar markets and channels? These questions keep marketers up at night; they are looking for best-in-class examples of measurement and analytics success. Well, look no further.

Our latest report, “Extract Business Value From Your Mix Model,” co-authored by Jim Nail, showcases USAA’s successful approach in leveraging marketing mix modeling to measure channel performance with greater precision and to identify and optimize future strategic investments, including marketing investments, product development, pricing structures, and organizational support. The report highlights USAA’s measurement and optimization challenges, how it used marketing mix to help refine metrics and identify the right levers to optimize business strategy and investments, and how it used the results to guide significant customer-driven changes at USAA. The case study is a good blueprint for firms that want to create a marketing mix model — and how to do it successfully!

We are thoroughly impressed by the analytics and marketing team at USAA; every decision made at the organization is driven by data and insights. Further, USAA is committed to using insights — including insights from its marketing mix model — to improve the overall customer experience.

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Announcing The 2013 Customer Analytics And Measurement Survey

Last year, my colleague Srividya Sridharan published The State Of Customer Analytics 2012 (subscription required). Using the results of her annual customer analytics adoption survey, she uncovered key trends of how customer analytics practitioners use and adopt various advanced analytics across the customer life cycle and highlighted challenges and drivers associated with customer analytics.

This year, I have the pleasure of teaming up with Sri on her yearly survey, to further explore the adoption of advanced analytics, measurement, and attribution. Please read her blog post to learn more about the survey.  This survey will explore the adoption and usage of measurement techniques, including attribution, and the adoption of advanced analytics methodologies. With this expanded survey we want to understand how you use and apply measurement and analytics in your organization to optimize both cross-channel marketing campaigns and customer programs.

In particular, we’re fielding questions to understand the goals and challenges associated with measurement and analytics, the adoption and application of measurement and advanced analytics methods, the use of several marketing and customer metrics, the customer insights process and workflow, and the organizational aspects that support measurement and analytics. We encourage you to participate in this survey, as this information will help you benchmark your measurement and analytics adoption efforts.

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Q3 2013 Takeaways: Advanced Measurement Continues To Be A Key Initiative

The end of a quarter forces me to reflect on what I learned in regards to my coverage area: measurement and attribution. From customer insights (CI) pros and marketers, I saw an increased interest in advancing their measurement approaches. On the attribution front, there is an appetite to learn about specific methodologies, use cases, ongoing attribution management strategies, and attribution applications to marketing/media buys. On the vendor side, I saw more advancement in tools, approaches, and offline and mobile data integration. I predict attribution — and general consumer and marketing measurement — will continue to be a hot topic for marketers and CI professionals well into 2014. Specifically, I expect to see more attribution adoption and usage of attribution to measure customer purchase paths and to learn more about customer behaviors and motivations.

In the meantime, let me recap the Q3 2013 measurement takeaways:

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Google Steps It Up With Data Driven Attribution

More news from Mountain View on Tuesday, where Internet powerhouse Google released the much-anticipated Data Driven Attribution (DDA) feature for its Premium users. The release of Google’s DDA approach comes as no surprise to the analytics and measurement community. The world of attribution measurement is constantly evolving and new attribution approaches, new players, and new tools regularly enter the market, enabling marketers to select the right attribution tool for their business needs. It was only a matter of time before Google released a persuasive, more advanced measurement offering.

First, the Data Driven Attribution feature is only available for Google Analytics Premium users. It has several notable features worth highlighting:

  • Google DDA’s approach is statistically driven methodology. Google’s DDA approach is a huge improvement over its rules-based Attribution Modeling tool (which is available for FREE for Google Analytics users). The DDA approach uses probability modeling to best estimate the values of each interaction. The approach itself is transparent, understandable, and Google is extremely open about how it calculates the value parameters.
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Key Findings From Forrester's EMEA Marketing Leadership Forum

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in London and met some members of the Forrester Leadership Board (FLB) for Customer Insights (CI) professionals. I was eager to share my research on attribution measurement and (selfishly) get their point of view on measurement successes and challenges in Europe. Here are a few key takeaways from our CI colleagues across the pond:

  • Attribution measurement is a growing topic among European firms. When I met with the FLB members, I was delighted to learn that attribution is being widely adapted in most organizations, with the same challenges that we face in America. In fact, it seems that the firms I spoke with adapted attribution for quite a while, and they’re really looking to advance their attribution approach in the near future. Overall, they are making significant investments in the right data, resources, and tools to have a more sophisticated measurement approach.
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Just Published: The Forrester Wave Marketing Mix Modeling Providers Q2 2013

Marketing professionals are more and more accountable for proving value, and making investment recommendations and decisions, based on business and marketing performance. Marketing mix modeling is quickly being adopted across different industries as the preferred way to measure, forecast, optimize, and plan marketing budgets. 

Today, I am pleased to announce the publication of The Forrester Wave™: Marketing Mix Modeling, Q2 2013. This evaluation is a result of countless hours of vendor reviews and assessments, in-person briefing reviews, customer calls, fact-checking, and intensive research work. This Forrester Wave will help firms create a shortlist of providers, based on their unique business needs.

After long days and nights, I am glad to share with you the key takeaways that emerged from the Forrester Marketing Mix Modeling Wave:

  • Wide arrays of firms are adapting marketing mix modeling. Marketing mix modeling is the traditional approach to uncover value and build a marketing plan for consumer packaged goods companies. However, other industries, including financial services and retail, are quickly taking an interest in adopting this approach because they need a more scientific, holistic way to understand marketing and business performance. As a result, we see an upsurge in adoption across different industries.
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