I’ve been a Direct Marketing person for a long time, and I like my marketing measurements pretty tangible: “number of people responding to my message,” “total sales per person,” “number of buyers per household,” “return on marketing investment,” and so forth. Measurements like GRPs and Pass-Along Copies always seemed pretty squishy to me – it always seemed like someone was getting fooled, yet no one really got upset about it! I was secretly delighted the other day to read Forrester’s David Cooperstein write (in his January 15th article “The Future of Media Measurement, Preparing for a Convergence of Measurement across Channels”):
“In time, the measurement of TV advertising will become more like that of interactive marketing,
and branding will be held to the stricter accountability of direct marketing.”
As media channels proliferate, and different measurements are computed in seemingly endless ways across each channel, there has to be a point when we will figure out how to converge all the measurements. It’s all going to have to come down to the marketing’s effect on the behavior of the individual consumer – where did he/she visit, click, buy, return, etc. At the end of the day, we need to be able to measure: What did the consumer DO? What action did they take? Just like we’ve always done in Direct Marketing.)
Just as the Rosetta Stone helped 19th century archaeologists to finally understand the meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphics by providing a translation link to Greek, it’s the information about real individual consumers that will be the ultimate link between the measurement languages of the different channels.
Of course I’m not so naïve as to believe that we’ll ever be able to track most consumer activity to an “addressable consumer” with a perfect name and address or email address. But the real Rosetta Stone for measurement will be some kind of individual consumer identifier that can persist across channels and across time. We’ll need to retool our marketing technology and our data models to start looking for, capturing and maintaining those identifiers if we ever want to make real cross channel comparisons.
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