Trending the Trends

Over the past three months, I have been meeting with various existing and potential clients, and I began to notice several themes in terms of what brands are looking for in 2011.

Trends. Isn’t everyone trying to figure out what is the next big thing, or at the very least, trying to be the whistleblower who lets everyone else know what it is? Whether looking at digital trends, mobile trends, or video trends, companies want to see what they should be considering as part of their marketing mix and how to test new opportunities and platforms. The industry moves at such a fast pace, with new announcements daily in terms of acquisitions, product development, or capabilities; therefore, there is no shortage of trends to share.

Measurement and analytics. Digital continues to play a larger role for brands, not only within media or marketing, but with content and sales. Measurement and analytics is at the top of clients’ minds as far as how they can better optimize their website and how consumers are interacting with their brand from display banners to social media. Even clients who do not have this at top of mind (when it comes down to accountability and how other elements interconnect) always circle back to measurement and analytics. Who said numbers weren’t sexy?

Attribution modeling. The accountability digital provides across all channels is feeding the need to know exactly what works and what doesn’t; what is the right media spend on each platform; how each media vehicle works in conjunction with another; and what are the key levers to push and pull based on specific objectives. By integrating data from various sources, different models can be used to evaluate performance inclusive of regression, allocation, recency, and custom. Here, too, digital is leading the charge and bringing offline into the mix, and at the end of the day, helping better attribute that $400,000 TV spot to a big sales weekend.

Benchmarks. As we look at testing new opportunities or developing custom measurement models, there is a need to reaffirm where – and perhaps just as importantly, what – we should be measuring against. This prompted some discussion recently, at the heart of which was the question, “What are benchmarks compared to our top competitors for this model?” This is a challenge when using a custom measurement model, as there is no industry average interaction or click-through rate benchmark to deliver to top executives that they are exceeding since the model is more complex and customized to the client’s business objectives, inclusive of several metrics. The net-net of the discussion was an understanding of establishing a benchmark within the first testing period, and then looking at other industry average benchmarks within the campaign as another measure of success. A fair compromise.

Retargeting. Ever since The New York Times article that ran in late August of last year, “Retargeting Ads Follow Surfers to Other Sites,” everyone seems to be aware of the concept of retargeting. Even my mother, a retired art teacher who still doesn’t know how to send a text message, is aware of the swimsuit ads on her e-mail after shopping for a swimsuit on a few sites. While those within the industry are either aware or currently leveraging the technology, there seems to be a disconnect among organizations regarding how successfully they are leveraging it. Start simple? Yes, but the opportunity to evolve by layering on more complex bullion expressions, dynamic creative, and other types of retargeting inclusive of creative, e-mail, or video creates an opportunity to be more relevant and react to consumers’ behavior.

At the end of the day, we are all reading the same articles, talking to the same publishers, and attending the same conferences. The differences exist in the people, brand, budgets, and the willingness to push to the next level. It’s evident digital is in the driver’s seat.

Related reading