Author: Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO
Original Publication: Martech Advisor
Date Published: January 26, 2018
Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO, Hawthorne, gives us insights about why marketing automation plays a crucial role when it comes to marketing
Accountability used to be a term that was primarily associated with elected officials or corporate executives. Over the past few years, it has infiltrated and conquered the advertising realm, becoming
one of the most pressing issues facing marketers today. Every organization wants to know that they are getting a return on their investment and that their marketing dollars are having an impact. Marketers that don’t prioritize accountability now seem old-school and outdated .
For the typical direct-response marketer, this trend comes as no surprise. Direct response (DR) has always centered around accountability and measurement. It’s one of the most actionable advertising mechanisms that organizations can use to engage customers. Digital marketers may have made accountability cool, but DR pioneered the concept when most brands were still pouring their dollars into image-based advertising.
50% of companies are currently using a marketing automation solution and this number has soared since 2011. Successful, best-in-class companies are more likely to use marketing automation and say they use these tools extensively.
Marketing automation isn’t just about marketing across multiple online channels and automating repetitive tasks—it also provides organizations with measurement and tracking tools that drive accountability.
Brands today can’t just market on one channel. Between traditional media, like linear TV, and newer formats, like social media and mobile apps, organizations are embracing mixed media campaigns to stay top-of-mind with and relevant with consumers. However, this can also complicate measurement. Tracking the success of campaigns across multiple channels is more complex than tracking the success of just one, but it’s necessary for any organization prioritizing accountability.
At Hawthorne, we’ve seen a surge in the number of technology firms attempting to measure mixed-media modeling, which involves analyzing sales data to determine the effectiveness of the marketing mix. Using the technology tools at their disposal, marketers try to figure out how much “weight” to put on which advertising channels, which platforms are performing the best and worst, and how to effectively allocate budgets among those various options. There are a lot of moving parts, to say the least.
By performing this exercise, companies hope to determine the proper media mix. This is a monumental task in today’s highly-fragmented digital media world. Add cross-device behaviors—the fact that most consumers view advertising content on a variety of devices—into the equation, and the challenge becomes even greater. Fortunately, there are solutions. Companies are using pixel technology to figure out and track consumer engagement levels.
For example, we recently met with a large e-commerce company that wanted to deliver creative only to its largely rural demographic, without wasting money on larger markets. Knowing that Keeping Up with the Kardashians airs nationwide and that urban areas favor cable, the retailer opted to run its content on Dish Network’s airings of the show, which are seen mostly in rural areas. This is just one example of how media is becoming more addressable and helping drive online initiatives—even those that focus on super-specific, targeted audience segments.
With marketing automation, direct response allows advertisers to take accountability to the next level . Brands and marketers can deliver pitches directly to clients at the top of the sales funnel and, using a broad spectrum of online and offline media choices, capture engagement quickly because they know that the targeted demographic is on the radar screen.
What does this look like in action? A few weeks ago, Hawthorne created a campaign that targeted 18- to 25-year-old consumers, who comprise just above 10 percent of persons in U.S. TV households. Using a customized marketing plan that incorporated programmatic and addressable TV, we targeted that small demographic in the same way online media targets certain niches. From there, we used mixed-media modeling to show the campaign’s impact across multiple platforms and to maximize the advertiser’s message across channels. The campaign was highly targeted and highly accountable.
Automating and fine-tuning a campaign is no easy task, as anyone in the space can attest. There’s a lot of technology to learn and upfront research to be conducted, particularly in terms of identifying and leveraging cross-device segmentation. Marketers have to identify the paths that specific demographics are going to take and understand how quickly they will move through the sales funnel and make a purchase or sign up for a service. And they have to understand which advertising mechanisms function most effectively in each case. In short, they have to understand how the consumer responds from one end of the sales funnel to the other while also identifying engagement across devices.
Ultimately, it’s about understanding the lifetime value of every consumer and tying that information back into advertising, station selection, creative, and other key elements that drive the sales. That’s a tall order.
As more consumers using multiple devices to consume content, more marketers will begin to leverage mixed-media modeling and related tools to automate various aspects of the advertising process and achieve their goals. And as consumers find more ways to connect with their favorite brands, agencies and marketers will have to step up to the plate and continue to evolve along with them.