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3 Marketing Measurement Takeaways from Dell

August 08, 2019 - By Ben Samuel, VP EMEA, Nielsen

3 Marketing Measurement Takeaways from Dell

Measurement is the key to optimizing any process, and marketing campaigns are no exception. When you set and measure key performance indicators (KPIs) for your marketing campaigns, you can clearly see what works and what doesn't. Then you can invest your marketing dollars in the most effective campaigns.

But you need tools to help you measure and optimize marketing. A complex customer journey than spans multiple channels and devices has made this even more difficult. To shine a light through the haze, many brands have adopted multi-touch attribution to improve their marketing effectiveness.

Zaid Nasir, Consultant, Media Planning & Analytics Team at Dell, recently shared how the world’s premier computer technology company has used advanced measurement techniques to thrive in a competitive market.

“The last few years have been pivotal in transforming Dell. With Nielsen, we were able to drive data-driven analytics to make more intelligent decisions,” said Nasir.

Nasir was the featured speaker with Aman Khanna, Director, Customer Success at Nielsen, at a recent event that I hosted. An Evening with Dell: How to Prove the Effectiveness of Marketing brought together marketing executives from leading brands including Airbnb, ASOS, DAZN, Dixons Carphone, Financial Times, Laura Ashley, LEGO, MediaCom, RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland), Telegraph Media Group, Trainline.

Dell is a U.S.-based multinational computer technology company that develops, sells, repairs, and supports computers and related products and services. Named after its founder, Michael Dell, the company is one of the largest technology corporations in the world, employing more than 145,000 people in the U.S. and around the world with revenue of US $78.7 billion (2018).

Why Dell Uses Multi-Touch Attribution

Dell was using outdated tools and was dissatisfied with the flawed nature of last-click measurement, which assigns all of the credit for a KPI to the last touchpoint of a consumer’s path to purchase. 

Last click does not allow marketers to capture all the touchpoints that led up to the final conversion. To do that, you have to be able to measure from the first touchpoint to the last touchpoint. Web analytics solutions, such as Google Analytics, do not as standard allow marketers to track this information. Multi-touch attribution allows marketers to understand the true contribution of each touchpoint and channel.

In 2013, Dell engaged Nielsen and selected our multi-touch attribution solution in order to understand the impact of mid- and upper-funnel media. It also sought to understand the impact of its marketing media as it related to Gross and Net Revenue generated on the Dell site.

The company wanted to set a standard for media measurement and optimization in North America that could be adopted by its global media teams.

Reworking a Traditional Marketing Outlook

According to Nasir, Dell needed to rework its traditional marketing approach in the areas of creative development, media activation and measurement. It identified three key goals for the multi-touch attribution engagement:

1. Single Source of Truth: Bring together data in one dashboard for all media teams to consume, optimize, forecast and budget with daily data refreshes.

2. Unified Data Sets: Unify all data sets and measures of success with a consistent global governance and taxonomy for variations in data output.

3. Accountability: Increase rigor and discipline with regard to media ROI.

Marketing Measurement Success

Dell’s strategy began with the creation of an internal Center of Excellence to help manage the global attribution needs of each media team. Nielsen’s multi-touch attribution solution delivered timely, actionable insights Dell needed to assess marketing impact and determine the optimal level of investment.

With the intelligence gained from the Nielsen solution, Dell saw a 6% overall revenue lift for its U.S. Small Business unit. The multi-touch attribution model also revealed that every additional dollar of spend in search resulted in a 23% lift in ROAS for its Japan Consumer and Small Business unit.

All of Dell’s digital media is now evaluated using Nielsen Attribution metrics refreshed on a daily basis as the sole measure of success. With the switch from traditional KPIs to advanced analytics and intelligent KPIs, Dell gained both quantitative and qualitative insights into its marketing performance including which channels are the best performers and which tactics correlate to downstream revenue.

3 Learnings from Dell

Armed with new insights, Dell has been able to take great strides in the optimization of its marketing spend. Importantly, these gains have had organizational implications for Dell as well. 

Nasir noted that the implementation of an advanced attribution solution has contributed to the normalization of marketing objectives across departments, the creation of shared goals across departments, and optimal team decision making.

Here are three of the key learnings from Dell:

1. Adoption of multi-touch attribution takes time but is worth it.

While the implementation of multi-touch attribution may take time from a technical perspective, the benefits were growth in incremental revenue and better ROAS for media that was optimized using attribution.

2. Don’t cut corners when preparing data for use.

The work of tagging, delivering data feeds to end users, and revising internal and external reports all paid off because it helped Dell achieve its goal of making better media decisions.

3. Data validation must be an on-going exercise.

Dell saw the benefits of recurring data validation for its upstream data, needed by Nielsen to process refreshes, and downstream QA, for outputs shared with Dell and its partners.

Answering Key Questions

When Dell decided to implement an advanced attribution solution, it was able to build a scalable foundation that enabled it to increase the effectiveness of the brand’s audience targeting, improve its understanding of customer behavior, and answer key questions related to marketing spend.

Learn More

To learn more about which attribution approach is right for your company, download our ebook: Untangling Attribution’s Web of Confusion.


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