Category Archives: Measurement

If It Ain’t Broke… Then Just Enhance It

I recently returned from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)  trade show in San Francisco for our client Manheim.  We repurposed last year’s “sports lounge” booth, enhancing a few key elements.  Why would we want to use the same sports lounge concept from last year?  Well, it worked.  How do we know it worked?  We looked at the results.

We didn’t just look at anecdotal comments from industry leaders such as Kathy Jackson of Automotive News, who stated in her blog, “They really had it going on at the Manheim booth – sports bar with lots of flat screen TVs and free beer, wine, soft drinks and nuts.  You would have thought you were on the set of ‘Cheers.’  The bar was packed.”  We also looked at last year’s results, such as 800 unique attendees engaged at the booth for an average of 28 minutes per person.

So going into planning for this year’s trade show, the consensus was to go with what worked last year and aim to make it even better.  The primary goals were to increase the number of attendee engagements as well as time spent with the attendees.

First, we increased the size of the booth footprint, making the sports lounge 10 feet deeper.  Since the sports lounge was packed last year, we figured attendees may appreciate more seating and more elbow room.  And, oh yeah, we may be able to engage with even more attendees.

Second, we promoted the sports lounge with news racks near the trade show and pre-show e-blasts to dealers, promoting an NFL replica football giveaway.

Third, we secured and branded a nearby sports bar with 31 interior and exterior window banners, two continuously looped, closed-circuit television spots, napkins and cups.  We invited attendees to join Manheim and watch the “Big Game” between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers on February 6th after the trade show.  There, we gave away more footballs, iPod touches and iPads.

The results:

  • An increase in unique engagements over last year, from 800 to 1,150.
  • An increase in average time spent in-booth with attendees, from 28 minutes to 32 minutes.
  • Engagement with more than 350 attendees for an average of THREE-PLUS hours at the off-site sports bar.

So what does it all mean?  First, by establishing measurement criteria up front and looking at results, you can evaluate program-to-program performance objectively.  Second, even if previous results were good, they can always be better.  Third, you may not need to reinvent the wheel to drive results.  And finally, people like free beer and sports.

Gary Sayers, Vice President, Account Director

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Filed under advertising, Customer Experience, Engagement, Measurement, Trade Show

It’s Déjà vu all over again

As long as I have been in this business, I’ve heard the saying, “There are no new ideas, only old ones recycled.” I think we’re seeing that played out again with regard to test marketing. A staple of the direct marketing industry, it had fallen out of use by other marketing disciplines in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

When I started in the agency business, testing was a priority for a number of accounts that the agency handled.

I’ll throw out a few terms: “Little U.S.” and “As-It-Falls” (which one coworker thought referred to an actual market in the Midwest called “Acid Falls”). These referred to the methodologies we media folk used so that results from any test could be projected to a larger area, most often the entire U.S.

Test markets were selected based on their ability to replicate what the U.S. as a whole looked like. Additionally, they needed to be smaller in geographic scope so as to limit out-of-pocket cost. A few of the more popular test markets were Fort Wayne, Green Bay, and Tucson.

As the business moved into the ‘80s, testing seemed like an afterthought. One of the reasons may have been that the cost of production started to increase dramatically, and running expensive spots in small, inexpensive test markets may have thrown the media cost/production cost ratio out of whack. In any event, I can’t remember a single brand that I worked on during that time that did any testing.  And I find that interesting, given the primary reason for any test is to limit financial exposure.

Fast forward to the turn of the century and the spread of the Internet, and what’s back in style is the concept of testing, analyzing, and optimizing. An idea whose roots are firmly entrenched in the earlier days of advertising is making its way back in a big way. And that’s a good thing.

Testing should be an integral part of any plan. The more we learn, the better we are, and the better our clients are as a result.

The advent of the Internet has only strengthened the case for testing. As I said at the beginning, “There are no new ideas, only old ones recycled.” But a good idea always has a place.

— Dave Capano, EVP, Director of Media Services

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Filed under Compelling, Engagement, Measurement

Office Pools – the epitome of compelling, measurable engagement

It’s been said that U.S. employers lose an estimated $1.8 billion in productivity during March Madness.  What is it about office pools that not only drives employees to spend so much time planning, watching, and discussing, but also drives employers to look the other way?

Whether it’s “March Madness,” college football bowl pools, or even the weekly football pick ’em, office pools are a compelling form of entertainment that provides an office common ground in a friendly, competitive environment.

The days of copying a sheet of paper and turning it in to the office pool manager have succumbed to the digital age.  One only has to type ”office pool” into Google to see page upon page of office pool variations with free and pay-to-play websites and software.  Many of these websites and software provide tips and post-pick analytics in real time, so that everyone can see the results and how they rank against the competition.

It’s a time when the office sports geeks and sports agnostics are on the same wavelength, as employees become more engaged with one another.  Water-cooler talk turns from gossip to last night’s upset and today’s Cinderella.

Maybe employers look the other way because it’s an easy way to improve employee morale, or maybe it’s just because they’re in on the action, too.  Regardless, it’s easy to see why something as compelling, measurable, and engaging as office pools continue in the work environment.

With that, feel free to join us in some compelling, measurable engagement by participating in the 2010 Kilgannon College Bowl Pool.  It’s free to play, and you could win a gift card.

— Gary Sayers, VP, Account Director

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Embracing Measurement

As I have said before, with marketing being held to a higher standard, the days of running programs and hoping that they worked are over.  The old saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” rings true today, more than ever.  Nearly every target interaction can be measured in some manner.

But how do your get your marketing team to embrace measurement?

If you truly want measurement and accountability to permeate your organization, it can’t be just lip service.  You must make a wholesale change and bake it into the DNA of your company.  It may sound difficult, but it isn’t that hard to do.  We’ve helped many of our clients implement analytics programs to track and improve the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Here are a few of the keys.  Make sure you…

  • Put your analytics plan in place prior to any implementation.
  • Get input and buy-in from senior management.
  • Measure the right things – the data points that tie back to your specific objectives and can truly have an impact on revenue.  In some instances, 2-3 items will suffice.  In other cases, you may need to track 10-15 items.  It is fine to track softer items (e.g., awareness, favorability), but it is also critical to develop mechanisms to track leads/engagement and hard business metrics.
  • Create a conversion funnel that, where possible, tracks all the data points from each customer interaction all the way through to revenue.
  • Develop a scorecard to track the data.
  • Assign the team members who will be responsible for each data point.
  • Set a reporting schedule… and stick to it.

Don’t be afraid of measurement.  Embrace it.  Your future may depend on it!

— Stephen Weinstein, Director of Account Management

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When CPC and CPM Meet

DoubleClick recently released its benchmark figures for 2009. The overall Click-Through Rate (CTR) clocked in at a whopping 0.1%, which is comparable to the figure for 2008. For those of you not quick with a percentage, that means that for every 1,000 people who view an ad, one person clicks on it.  Click-Through Rates have been on the decline pretty much from their inception, starting at CTRs of 10% and 15% and drifting downward ever since. The fact that they have settled in around 0.1% may indicate that they have finally reached their low-water mark.

This figure is also significant because 1,000 is the rate that some publishers use to sell display advertising (Cost Per 1,000 Impressions or CPM).  It used to be that most CPMs charged by publishers were much higher than the cost per click, or CPC, (because click rates were higher than one in a thousand.)  Now that click rates have sunk to 0.1%, your CPM is your CPC. So if a publisher is using a CPM-based analog pricing model, and trying to charge a $50 CPM (because of their rich content and their valuable audience), you better be prepared to pay $50 a click. Conversely, if you are only willing to pay $10 a click and the publisher wants to charge $50 CPM, you best tell them to get real.

Not so un-coincidentally, Google recently decided to enter the display market. Google made its name in paid search by charging on a CPC basis and letting a free market-based bid model (theoretically) determine the CPC price. This created no real mystery for the advertiser, as they only pay for people clicking on their ads, and the bid model tells them what it will cost.  More of this kind of economic model will be a welcome entry to the display market. We should expect CPM-based publishers to start professing the brand message value of the display ads, and that it’s not all about clicks. Good luck with that one.

— Mike Reineck, Principal

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Auditing your measurement will help you achieve success outside and inside your organization.

When was the last time you audited your marketing measurement program? We find that most marketers don’t do this enough. And when they do, they find they’ve run into obstacles at many critical data points during the evaluation process.

Why? I believe everyone’s intention to adequately measure the results of individual or collective programs starts out meaningful.  Who does not want to measure whether or not the marketing initiative actually yielded the desired result? But the difference we find is not in the intent, rather, it is in the delivery and integrity of the data.

Oftentimes, information has to come from sources outside the marketing department’s control. Like sales lead information. Or, the data from IT, which doesn’t exactly match up to a reportable statistic that verifies that the marketing initiative works. Thankfully, there are tools like Google Analytics that are able to inform the process such that it allows data gatherers to get reporting moving.  Often, though, it is only one step in the measurement chain.

Technology changes everything we do when it comes to the collection of relevant data. More sophisticated technologies can help a marketing group get a clear understanding of how the myriad of tools employed actually can connect to relevant activity.

Marketers must make auditing their measurement a priority. Not just for measuring the effectiveness of their campaign but for internal accountability and the promotion of marketing’s agenda. And because today’s executive team demands hard numbers.

Using business goals as a clear metric is key to success. Using softer measures often does not satisfy the folks upstairs. Making sure all are aligned to deliver data that suggests an investment in the marketing program was well worth it will ensure success when budget time comes around.

— Rena Kilgannon, Principal & CEO

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