The New Integration: It's Not What You Think
The key is to execute across all relevant, accountable media. Generally, if the media can't be measured, don't start there. However, most media are now measurable, at least to some degree.
4.Measure and Optimize Discretely
Each channel needs to be measured on its own, knowing that attributing the lead to the correct channel is sometimes just a best guess. This will never be perfect. Someone may have seen your DRTV commercial and responded to the direct mail-so the mailing gets the credit. Establish business rules for attribution before the fact and get all stakeholders to sign off to prevent arguments later. However, perfection is not the goal. Learning and optimizing is the goal.
Optimization is also done by channel-at the appropriate cadence for the medium. For example, media buys can be optimized weekly during a DRTV campaign, where it may take several weeks to know which direct mail lists have performed best.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
When you know what has worked best in your tests and have learned whether you have met your goals, you can start over again-this time allocating media not by your assumptions, but based on performance and optimization. Reinvest in media that drive results. Drop those that don't. While you're at it, you will also want to test creative approaches and offers within channels. But that's a different story for a different day.
By building your media plan based on performance, rather than what's been done in the past or the biases of your agency partners, you will create a positive feedback loop with metrics that resonate with your bosses in the C-suite.
Spyro Kourtis is president and CEO of Hacker Group, one of the largest direct/digital agencies in the West. To hear more, attend his session, "Which Medium Works: Multi-Channel Testing For High-Performance Results," at the DMA2011 Conference in Boston in October.