With today’s world of instant access to infinite information, consumers—not brands—are in charge of how, when, where and if they want to engage with a brand. While there are more channels than ever to engage consumers, it also has never been harder to reach them. The average marketer struggles to keep up, or at least tries not to fall too far behind, now that consumers have assumed a leadership role in defining or influencing a brand’s success.
Combine this with the notion that 37 percent of all ad spend in the U.S. is wasted, and brands are seeking greater accountability such as that found in targeted media (e.g., direct mail). The dynamic, elusive nature of the consumer has made it harder for marketers to reach their audiences and measure the effectiveness of their marketing/advertising spend.
What’s New Is Really Not So New
This “new” world of online and offline media requires new skills, technology and processes in order to understand how consumers learn, discover and evaluate options when deciding to buy. Those new capabilities are also necessary to measure how media and channels work together to drive consumer purchases. Marketers are tasked with understanding consumers in multiple dimensions such as preferences, geodemographics, economics and multiple end-user devices, while facing a never-ending race to keep up with the latest advances by empowered consumers.
In the “old” world, direct mail got credit for a sale if a consumer made a purchase within 60 days to 90 days of a direct marketing event. It’s not so easy now, because no single medium gets sole credit for a sale today. All media have to share the contribution for creating a sale. And measuring this is what enables the precision of consumer marketing in this new world that connects with the principles of direct marketing. Making sense of how all these channels and different consumer touchpoints logically work together is the big challenge where media attribution is the art and science of measuring the statistical contribution that each layer of media/channel activity has on creating the final output: a sale.