Stop Making Excuses for Poor Marketing Measurement

By Wayne St. Amand

Today’s soaring consumer expectations are forcing marketers to rethink their engagement strategies and how their efforts are measured and optimized. It’s no longer enough to focus on individual channel performance and last-click attribution. These approaches not only create siloed and duplicated reporting, but also neglect to provide accurate insight into the strategies and tactics that are delivering the best results.


This year, marketers should resolve to embrace a more intelligent approach that provides an actionable understanding of what’s influencing consumers across the entire consumer journey.


But change is never easy. Here are three common excuses for not investing in more advanced measurement techniques and how marketers can overcome them:


Excuse #1: My martech ecosystem is already too fragmented to add another platform.


At last count, the marketing technology landscape had ballooned to more than 5,380 solutions, with the average company investing in 16 separate martech platforms. While these technologies provide critical capabilities for any marketing department, the problem is that each platform uses different metrics and taxonomies. Without a single system of record, marketers can’t get a comprehensive view of performance, or understand how all of their channels and tactics are working together to drive desired business outcomes (e.g., engagement, leads, conversions, sales) at each stage of the funnel. What’s more, the cost of this fragmentation is high: Gartner estimates that the lack of full transparency costs businesses at least 10 percent topline revenue growth annually.


Analytics tools, such as multi-touch attribution, can actually reduce fragmentation. These platforms seamlessly integrate disparate performance data to establish a single source of marketing truth. By collecting, consolidating and normalizing performance data into common measures and taxonomy, marketers can de-duplicate conversions, uncover hidden optimization opportunities, and act precisely and quickly. These platforms become the centerpiece around which all other systems operate, eliminating many of the obstacles that currently keep marketers from achieving the best results. 


Excuse #2: We already have customer journey analytics.


Marketers typically have insight into what ads customers and prospects click on, which emails they open, and which content they download. While it’s critical to know which brand interaction came first, second, and third, it’s only the first step toward a complete view of the customer journey.


Understanding the path alone is not actionable. To be effective, marketers need to know the value of each touchpoint in driving a particular behavior or outcome.


A successful measurement and optimization practice is based on a granular understanding of how different marketing channels and tactics contribute to a desired business result. Whether marketers use a more simplistic, rules-based model or a more sophisticated algorithmic model, either will provide actionable insight into the cross-channel consumer journey that they didn’t have before.


Excuse #3: Upgrading our measurement approach will interrupt the workflow and be expensive.


It’s true that upgrading to a more advanced approach may temporarily disrupt a marketer’s workflow — but consider how much money could be left on the table by sticking with the status quo.


While easy to understand and implement, default measurement approaches like last-touch attribution can be dangerously inaccurate. Since last touch assigns 100 percent conversion credit to the last touchpoint, it incentivizes each vendor to insert “their” touchpoint into the last spot of the journey. They end up focusing on “How can I win more of these?” instead of “What’s the best thing to do?” 


When marketers take the first step to attribute properly, they know exactly which marketing channels and tactics are performing well. With this insight, they can direct partners to target the right audiences and buy the most effective inventory, rather than what will get them the most clicks.


In the age of the empowered consumer, it’s critical for marketers to stop making excuses and accurately measure the impact of their efforts, even if that means investing time, effort, and money in a more advanced measurement approach. Although upgrading measurement approaches may initially seem disruptive or expensive, the long-term benefits will far outweigh the up-front efforts and costs.


Optimizing customer experiences and marketing results to their full potential will only happen when marketers have an actionable understanding of what’s influencing consumers across their entire journey. So, stop making excuses and start embracing a multi-touch approach to measurement and attribution.

About the Author

Wayne St. Amand is CMO of Visual IQ, a Nielsen company. He oversees the marketing of the company’s marketing intelligence platform, including product marketing strategy, demand generation, branding, PR, analyst relations, and sales enablement activities.


Wayne is a veteran marketing leader who has played a key role in one IPO and two $100+ million acquisitions. Prior to Visual IQ, he served as CMO of Brand Networks, a provider of cross-channel social media advertising software and services. He previously served as EVP of marketing at Crimson Hexagon, a provider of social media analytics software.


He has also led marketing for several high-growth data storage start-ups and held senior agency marketing roles with clients such as GE, HP, Motorola, and Texas Instruments.