Daily Insights

A Primer on Strategic Marketing Measurement

By: Jason McNellis | Jan 09, 2020

Marketers have two methods to holistically measure the impact of past advertising campaigns and plan future media spend: marketing mix modeling and unified measurement approaches. These methods earn the label “strategic marketing measurement” for the way they answer bigger questions that span longer time horizons, deal with cross-channel interactions, or intersect with non-marketing issues like oil prices or political turmoil. Marketers are embracing these methods to improve campaign performance, rationalize media spending as costs rise, and quantify the impact of brand investments.

Marketers use marketing mix modeling (MMM) to evaluate their media plan and estimate the aggregate impact of different marketing activities on an outcome like sales. Software and service providers usually conduct MMM on behalf of marketing teams. These engagements vary widely—some focus on high-level effects for a channel; others look for impact related to a granular element, such as different versions of a creative marketing message. The top-down MMM method helps marketers plan forward by months or a full quarter.

Unified Measurement Approaches (UMA), in contrast, often combines bottom-up metrics from multi-touch attribution with top-down MMM methods to inform both short-term decisions and longer-term planning. Multi-touch attribution tools measure the impact of a given channel on a specific customer decision to purchase a product. Marketers can execute on UMA either with a combined solution from a single tech vendor or by deploying separate multi-touch attribution and MMM solutions.

To decide which method is right for your marketing team, consider the questions you want answered and what kind of data you have. MMM analysis informs longer-term planning. In contrast, UMA provides insights for short-term and long-term media buying, but requires individual customer-level data, which many companies either don’t have or don’t want to invest in sorting and standardizing.