11 December 2017 | Hannah Schaller
Take traditional print publication readership figures for example. These were estimated by the organisations’ own media team. The figures are approximations based on pretty dubious stats typically a survey that consists of a tiny readership sample size that is then used to approximate a broad (and unsurprisingly optimistic) view of how the publication was performing.
This already patchy figure is then jacked up even more with a series of further assumptions. For example, by increasing exposure via free distribution in coffee shops and airports, marketers will happily add a 5-6 person multiple per copy in print. It’s pretty finger in the air.
But things have come a long way online. There are now so many touch-points between a user/reader/customer and a brand, the challenges are almost quite the opposite, with every media or content owner claiming a piece of every measured interaction.
In the context of a market where brands are vying for attention, advertisers and publishers alike are under pressure to back up their stats. But this in turn has led to seemingly indecipherable rationale behind claimed costs of engagement.
There are two key areas for consideration here that will help marketers create a robust marketing infrastructure: The first is how to actually organise the many touch-points between a user and a brand, and map communications and services from first interaction through to sale (and beyond). Everyone has a different way of doing this — at Matter Of Form we use our proprietary Brand Interactions™ framework.
The second: how to develop an attribution model that quantifies the value of each of these points of exposure and interaction. If you’re a travel brand and you drive users to your mobile experience via a promotion, you need to make sure your business is setup to measure the sale two, three or even four touch-points later because while a user may book impulsively, its increasingly unlikely.
Clearly this logic varies from market to market. At Matter Of Form we work with high end organisations who sell big-ticket items. Users are looking for an ‘experience’ and purchases are considered: editorial content, influencer marketing, and immersive digital experiences help to warm the user up for when they’re ready to buy. It is vital we know the roles of every activity, and hence the final cost of sale.
And herein lies the problem. Most luxury brands don’t have marketing science in their DNA — typically communication has been brand led, not driven by price, promotion or place. But in a rapidly changing market, every organisation needs to identify an attribution model that works for them. Without this, its impossible to financially plan and develop new opportunities for engagement, and brands run the risk of being made as redundant as the print publications they once loved to advertise in.