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Nielsen Visual IQ’s Ben Samuel on the Digital Transformation of Marketing

February 26, 2019 - By Ginna Hall, Senior Content Writer, Nielsen Visual IQ

Nielsen Visual IQ’s Ben Samuel on the Digital Transformation of Marketing

The article appeared originally on Digital Doughnut.

In this interview with Digital Doughnut, Ben Samuel, VP EMEA, Nielsen Visual IQ, discusses how the disruption of marketing has ushered in the promise of better measurement, multi-touch attribution and the need for speed.

Digital Doughnut: To what extent has digital disrupted traditional marketing?

Ben Samuel: The effects of digital transformation on business as a whole have been groundbreaking, and marketing has changed in ways that would have been unimaginable ten years ago.
The speed at which digital marketing and media can be executed, measured and optimised alone is completely unlike traditional marketing methods. Gone are the days of waiting months after a campaign ends to understand performance. Digital has brought the ability to access insights into what activity is and isn’t working in near real-time.

It’s also created a new generation of marketers who don’t need to depend on the brilliance of an original marketing plan to ensure success. Now, marketers can pinpoint the actual triggers that drive desired consumers’ behaviours and pull the right optimisation levers while campaigns are still in-flight. This ability to make faster, smarter decisions based on what’s happening in real-time today can dramatically reduce waste and have a significant impact on ROI.

Finally, digital disruption has ushered in the promise of better measurement. Advanced measurement approaches such as multi-touch attribution enable marketers to take advantage of the unique set of person-level data produced by digital channels to understand effectiveness at granular levels and with much greater accuracy. With a clear understanding of the touchpoints that drive performance, marketers can make smarter investment decisions that optimise performance and enhance the consumer journey.

So, in reality, the question isn’t what opportunities digital presents, but how many brands are actually taking advantage of its promise of faster insights, smarter optimisations and better measurement.

DD: What are some of the benefits gained by brands that have embraced advanced measurement techniques, such as multi-touch attribution?

Ben: To optimise experiences and results, marketers need a granular and actionable understanding of what’s influencing customers and prospects across the entire consumer journey. Knowing what touchpoints are important and how they work together to impact behaviours and drive leads, conversions and other desired outcomes is the foundation of multi-touch attribution.

More sophisticated multi-touch attribution models are updated daily for the most accurate and up-to-date views of performance, and some can even incorporate audience attribute data to reveal which combination of channels and tactics work best for each audience segment. Marketers can then use these insights to optimise spend and create relevant and personalised consumer experiences.

Brands that embrace multi-touch attribution not only see 20-30% gains in media efficiency and ROI, but they’re also able to put the consumer at the centre of their marketing strategy. And in a world where so much of the power has shifted from brands to consumers, adopting a consumer-centric approach is essential for attracting new customers and retaining them over the long-term.

DD: Why is there a ‘need for speed’ in today’s marketing landscape?

Ben: Digital is a real-time medium. The tactics that worked last year, last month, or even least week may not be effective today. The success of digital campaigns depends on how quickly marketers are able to measure and react to fluctuations in performance. The faster you can capitalise on optimisation opportunities, the more effective you’ll be.

The problem is that many marketers are still basing their decisions on old data, yet they’re making decisions and digital buys every day. This mismatched speed isn’t just imprecise, it’s also expensive. In fact, recent Nielsen research found that marketers can waste as much as 38% of their monthly digital spend by basing their decisions on what would have worked in the past.

In an ecosystem where market conditions, competitive activities, and consumer behaviours change every day, brands’ underlying success will depend on how well they are able to react to, and optimise for these changes.

DD: Consumers are becoming a bigger focus for brands: why is having a customer-centric marketing strategy so important in 2019?

Ben: Consumers have always been the primary focus for marketers. The difference is that marketers now have the tools to better understand how marketing impacts consumer behavior at both the macro and individual level.

Technology is raising customer expectations at a breakneck pace. If consumers don’t get personalised experiences from the brands they interact with, they’ll take their business elsewhere. If a brand chooses not to embrace a consumer-centric approach, they can be sure that their competitors will. For marketers, it’s really a case of keep up, or get left behind.

DD: Why is the need for an integrated and holistic view of marketing performance more critical than ever?

Ben: We live in an era of unprecedented amounts of data. The ever-growing number of channels, touchpoints and devices has opened up a world of opportunities for marketers when it comes to reaching and engaging with consumers. But it has also made it much more difficult to get a holistic view of marketing and media marketing performance. And it’s only getting harder as different mediums start to blur into each other, and as third-party tracking limitations and privacy regulations like GDPR get stricter.

Ultimately, marketing success comes down to how comprehensive you can make your coverage. If marketers can’t detect which complex web of factors are impacting consumers’ decisions, then they can’t build a marketing plan that corrects past mistakes or capitalises on successes. If marketers are able to close those coverage gaps for a holistic view of performance, then they can fully optimise their spend and drive the best outcomes for their business.

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