October 2006 - Backend Business

The Data-Centric Explosion: Media, Metrics and Profit

By Steven J. Edelstein

Is it really true that the “one” with the “most” data wins? Or is it the one with the best data wins?

Some would agree-and some would argue on two points: (1) What is the quality of data being gathered and reviewed? and (2) Is the data that is gathered and reviewed being integrated and applied to the overall functional strategy of a “selling” organization? In both cases, data and specifically media analytics are critical to the performance of any direct-to-customer program.

Organizations across many business disciplines, as well as multiple vertical markets are engaging data, performing complex performance analyses-while paying attention to-what most would agree is the most important objective in any of these programs-the return on investment (ROI).

There are several firms that have emerged as experts in the area of direct-to-customer data analysis and performance reporting. The names are not as important as the level of detail and functionality that is performed. Here is a short list of functional points and value enhancements questions to start the evaluation process:

  • What are the overall media and marketing objectives and does the media metrics firm have an aptitude for media and inventory performance?
  • Can the media metrics partner “track” and “reconcile how all media that is being expended?
  • Will the firm not only be able to execute the objectives according to the specifications of the program, but provide detail for reconciliation and trend forecasting?
  • How does the media metrics partner integrate?
  • Is this a direct integration or a hosted solution?
  • Is this information available in an easy-to-use environment?
  • Do I have access to this data? Can I “self-serve” the information and is it easy to change my media outlets?
  • What form of analytics does the firm provide, and how much emphasis is placed on information strategy?

This is just a short list of questions that must be addressed, thereby assuring an accurate and responsible review of the media-metrics partner’s proficiency, as well as technical core.

The evaluation process will ultimately include the “unearthing” of competencies relating to the “type” of data that is streaming and the source(s) of data that is being aggregated. When performing “partner due diligence,” it can be invaluable to develop a list of strategic marketing, data review and critical inventory response checklist(s) to be used in the ongoing evaluation of program performance as well as program growth. Some key items to keep in mind include:

  • Inventory sales vs. media placement/expenditure - How is the media performing vs. the sale of product?
  • Customer profiling - Who, what, where, how, why, when-and how often?
  • Continuity/attrition - What is the re-occurring revenue based on cycle sales vs. media and continued brand enhancement?
  • Upsell percentages against media placement - What is the value of the upsell relative to the media buy and placement?
  • Multichannel evaluation - TV, radio, print, Internet, catalog, etc. Evaluate not only channels of operation, but effectively review for effectiveness and maximum revenue potential.
  • Dynamic adjustment - Examine the shifting media placement across multiple channels of sales.
  • Production performance - What will make my business more efficient?

These marketing and media points of functionality and evaluation are critical to the credibility and applicable nature of the information and metrics being reviewed, as well as play a major role in the decisions that are made when making vital marketing decisions.

Media metrics and dynamic media adjustments have the ability to:

  • Increase the likelihood of an effective media expenditure.
  • Detail the analysis of all benchmarking, trends and forecasting.
  • Evaluate any sustained loyalty and/or retention model(s).
  • Provide business integration teams the understanding of all revenue goals and achieve greater revenue results.
  • Enhance all data reporting and analysis that will provide the client partner with information that will aid in all daily, weekly and monthly reporting needs.
  • Accelerate responsive, proactive communication-with actionable, accountable information.

In today’s business, it is the accuracy and intuition of all data that provides the “backbone” of all successful business operations. With solutions forming-by the likes of innovative companies in the industry as well as other “data-centric” firms-the proliferation of data and the attention paid to self-administration is not a fad, but a trend. With media cost(s) rising, consumer being smarter and more informed, and opportunities to “sell” product across a multitude of “channels”-the desire to engage data and make insightful decisions is at the forefront of business marketing.

The data-centric explosion is here. Reviewing media, paying attention to placement and reconciling performance of both “front” and “backend” activity will make for a smarter, more robust and stronger revenue- generating business.

Steven J. Edelstein is the former managing director of corporate marketing for Fosdick Fulfillment Corp., a backend services company based in Wallingford, Conn. For more information, e-mail [email protected].


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