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Sellers Need To Measure Impact of Ads

Boston— In an age of increased accountability for media expenditures and returns on campaigns, marketing executives would be wise to deploy as many analytical tools as possible in driving and gauging efficiencies for their initiatives.

During the “New Approaches to Measuring Marketing ROI Across Disciplines” panel at the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing Summit on Tuesday, cable operator, ad agency, advertising sales and marketing executives spoke about ways clients and companies can get more bang and return for their marketing bucks.

Rachel Brook, engagement director of Insight Partners, a division of the media-buying firm MediaCom Worldwide, said the agency is using mixed modeling plans that include the amount of TV, print and online media spent on a campaign — and also consider marketing levers like pricing, distribution levels and promotional efforts, as well as external factors like seasonality and competition, in determining the return on investment.

PREDICTIVE MODELING

Brook said mixed marketing models can “help set budgets, determine how much and when to spend your media, and which ones will likely be the most efficient. Based on past performance, these models can predict what is likely to occur.”

Cox Communications Inc. strives to “minimize the art” of marketing and “maximize its science,” said Tony Maldonado, the cable company’s vice president of acquisition and marketing sciences.

To that end, Maldonado said Cox measures performances against control and holdout groups (those who don’t buy particular services). It also tries to isolate marketing tactics from one market to the next to better understand relative efficiencies of a campaign, and whether that tactic is increasing or decreasing the take rate, or having a neutral effect.

“You have to get all the methodology in place up front, in order to be able do an analysis on the fly and change tactics as needed,” Maldonado said, noting that if a direct mail piece is not producing the desired result, “you’re not going to kill it because you’ve already made an investment.” Instead, supplementary tactics like print or broadcast can be added.

Maldonado warned attendees that if they don’t do “triage along the way,” the campaign — and the marketer — may not make it to the post-mortem phase.

Charlie Collier, executive vice president and general manager of advertising sales at Court TV, talked about the network’s success with the sale of schedules based on viewer engagement, not just pure ratings.

Rooted in length of tune-in and the measurement of viewers who stay with the programming through the commercial breaks, Court sold ad packages to clients of Magna Global, Carat, Mediaedge and StarCom last year based on the aforementioned measures, as well as engagement criteria that either was determined by syndicated research or the shop’s own in-house standards.

Three of the agencies have signed up for similar packages this year (Carat is the holdout), and several others have expressed interest, said Collier.

Executives selling local cable inventory could factor in lifestyle data from Prizm, product usage from Scarbrough and other information from other organizations like the Cabletelevision Bureau of Advertising to establish qualitative benchmarks for engagement on the local level, he added.

'INNOVATION GROUPS’

“I’m not naïve enough to think this is a panacea locally,” he said. “But it’s a start beyond the typical standard. I’m confident selling viewer engagement can work on the local level.”

Tricia Melton, senior vice president of entertainment marketing at Turner Broadcasting System Inc., said the programmer can determine how well a particular campaign is working by seeing ratings results for a show in markets that have benefited from additional media tactics, versus those that have only received Turner’s own on-air promotion.

Melton also turns to “innovation groups” to gauge the effectiveness of different campaigns.

“This is mushy, but a good mush. These are not like traditional focus groups. These are small, quick groups that are rough and rapid that we turn to see if we’re right,” she said.