Chances are, no broccoli lobbying group is going to come down on Dean Witkin the way they did on former President George H.W. Bush when he said he didn't like the green, leafy substance. The difference is Witkin, sales director for Livonia, Mich.-based media and marketing services company Valassis, is advocating that marketers — who may not like the healthy vegetable that is analytics — do what is good for them in this economy and add in targeted marketing backed by analytics.
"Advertisers are being asked to do much more with much less," he says, pointing out that this change will help marketers level the playing field. He was one panelist telling marketers how to do so during Tuesday afternoon's session "It's About Knowing Your Customer: Leveraging Data" during InterACT!
Taking a bigger bite of the broccoli was Aaron Leibtag, director of financial strategy planning and analysis for Priszm Income Fund, which operates restaurants in Canada. For his company, embracing this approach provided the opportunity to change more than marketing. Priszm changed its business models, which Leibtag says makes his company more adaptable. "That was the greatest ROI," he says, adding that the standard definition of ROI can hold companies back from optimizing around their customers and really realizing improved results. (This, obviously, was a loved or hated concept during this session. No attendee who spoke sounded indifferent to Leibtag's assertion.)
Some companies do seem to realize that they should embrace data and analytics; according to one of Witkin's presentation slides, "Senior marketers report that they expect to recruit more data analysts, planning, interactive design, online advertising and digital marketing competencies."
What worked for one of the Valassis clients, Witkin says, is the "learn/do loop." A major mid-market fashion retailer allowed Valassis to perfect the predictive model by first mailing to 5 million households, underpenetrating; then to 12 million households, overextending; and finally getting it just right with 10 million households, which made the major mid-market fashion retailer happy with its ROI.