Why continuous testing holds the key to effective omnichannel marketing

Why continuous testing holds the key to effective omnichannel marketing Sandra Loeffler is Regional Vice President, EMEA, at Nielsen Marketing Effectiveness.

Innovation isn’t just what keeps marketing interesting; it’s an essential part of the job. The constant stream of channels, tools and technologies makes for an ever-changing landscape, and an expanding list of priorities. No wonder CMOs currently devote 16% of their budgets to innovation and 9% feel it’s crucial to deliver on their marketing strategies. 

But managing endless change can be challenging. Marketers can’t adopt every new platform or build their campaigns around each consumer trend. Before they invest in innovative campaigns, they need a budget green light and senior level buy-in. 

This makes testing vital. By proving the impact of new initiatives, marketers can justify a larger rollout. Provided, of course, they are using the right metrics to draw a clear line from their activities to sales.

Old-school measurement doesn’t cut it 

Insight is often a stumbling block for marketers. While they understand the need to demonstrate the impact of their marketing efforts to make the case for future investment – gathering accurate and actionable data is often hard to come by. 

Previously, insight used to inform decisions and improve budget requests has come from outdated metrics like clicks, or inaccurate models such as last-touch attribution. But this information isn’t enough to help marketers power innovation and retain their competitive edge in an omnichannel landscape — which may be why CMOs currently rate themselves at 2.2 for innovation maturity, 2.1 points below their ideal level.

What marketers need is an accurate view of whether their advertising investments fuelled conversions, as well as which tactics were most effective. In other words, they need the kind of insight that comes from measuring incrementality.

What is incrementality?

The official definition of incrementality is the uplift produced by marketing and advertising above native demand. Put simply, it’s a measurement of results that wouldn’t have happened without promotion.

Native demand norms are compared to ad-driven leads, sales, or other key performance indicators (KPI), and the difference is incremental lift: representing the conversions that can be linked to advertising or marketing.

How to master incremental measurement 

Incrementality can help marketers pinpoint exactly how successful their efforts are. But the value it provides depends on their approach. Following popular interpretations — such as assessing conversions at the beginning and end of promotions — will only offer an approximate picture of impact. To accurately analyse lift, marketers must embrace more advanced measurement. 

Understanding how well a specific channel or campaign achieved goals requires a reliable basis for comparison, such as response or purchase data from consumers who saw the ads versus those who did not. By comparing the sales metrics between these two groups, marketers can measure true incremental lift. Once marketers understand the incremental sales impact driven by their advertising, they can optimize their future campaigns and investments based on actual sales metrics.

The gift that keeps on giving 

Embracing incrementality allows marketers to fulfil two major objectives: (1) quantifying the impact of new channels and tactics, and (2) optimisation. With tangible evidence of performance, they will have a better chance of winning executive favour and securing additional funds for innovative campaigns. Moreover, data about what works (or doesn’t) can help marketers decide where to direct their budgets and energies for the greatest possible results. 

For instance, incrementality measurement can help marketers determine if purchase frequency has increased as the result of a campaign, and which audiences to target. While segments with a lower incremental lift have a greater likelihood of purchase regardless of seeing an ad, those with a higher incremental lift may need an additional push to move them through the funnel.

Today’s marketers don’t have it easy. They must keep up with rapid evolution in consumer behaviour, industry tech and tactics. At the same time, they need to be smart about which trends and tools they back if they want to make a real impact on the business. Finding a way forward requires better measurement. By moving toward incrementality, marketers can close the loop between advertising and sales, create more effective omnichannel campaigns, and ultimately prove the value of their efforts. 

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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