Now’s Not The Time To Cut Back On Marketing. Here’s What To Do Instead

I know what you are going to think when I say this, but don’t cut your marketing.

I get it — business has not yet fully rebounded, costs have gone up, the labor market is tight, inflation is eroding spending power, and the latest Covid variant is adding even more uncertainty into the mix. Slim margins have gotten thinner. Cutting marketing is an easy choice. But don’t.

Why Cutting Ad Spend is Dangerous

For many consumer product categories — whether it be apparel or electronics or even dining out, the sales cycle is not a question of days or even weeks but months. Your customer may have walked into your store today, but the consideration of that decision may actually have begun months ago, with the consumer just finding the right time and opportunity to act upon it.

A tiny percentage of marketing and advertising has next-day turn-around impact. Even sales promotions, with special savings offered in the coming week, still require an existing predisposition to your business on the part of the consumer for a conversion to take place. The sales promotion only works as a last-mile type of incentive. The consumer has to be already interested in buying from you for it to work.

Consider, for example, auto dealers. The sales cycle in that industry is currently 90 days out but may actually begin months in advance of that. So, if you are an auto dealer, marketing and advertising really only begins to bear fruit after engaging with that consumer over most of the preceding year.

Businesses that withdraw from marketplace visibility have a much harder time, and find it far more expensive in the long run, to regain customers once they start re-engaging, with market share declining even after they resume advertising. So, while cutting back marketing spend can help address some short-term bottom-line issues, it will create significant challenges to long-term sustainability.

And of course, disappearing from the market now can have major implications for the holiday sales season, which is almost upon us, especially as the consumer considers transitioning to even more digital buying.

How to maximize ad spend efficiency

Instead of pulling back, think creatively about how to maximize the dollars you do have so that you can produce the greatest return.

  • Stay visible in the community. Advertising can produce reach, but being in those places that are important to your customer can produce greater relevance, retention, and meaning to your customers. Support local causes and initiatives. Sponsor community groups. Be a part of civic and community board meetings. Meet people and shake hands. Use your location to help advance fundraising and take advantage of awareness building via nonprofits of importance to your customers.
  • Use your ad budget more effectively. Facebook or Google ads might seem like the most cost-efficient choice for your ad budget, but don’t discount the impact and value of local broadcast. The CPM for some local TV markets is about $5 for a 30-second ad. For radio, the average daytime CPM rate is typically in the $12 to $16 range for adults between 18 and 49. As the goal here is to remain visible in the market, you don’t need high levels of frequency. Look to simply get messages of support out to the community on a semi-regular basis. Most local TV or radio stations can even help you with simple creative to get the message out.
  • Partner with local print. Local newspapers and you share the same goal. You both want to support your community and know that local media and businesses are vital to that mission. Contact local publishers to see how you might work together. Perhaps offer a “meet your local reporter/publisher day” from your location. Join together to support a cause. Offer to provide free copies of your local paper for a week from your location in exchange for an ad to help promote local media.
  • Take a look at your content strategy. It’s tempting to use social media posts as a vehicle for promotion. But is that the most relevant content to your customers to keep them engaged? Consider producing content on topics of greater importance to your customers as a means of underscoring your importance to the community. Perhaps start a series of recollections from customers on the history of the block you are on or the local community. Highlight the stories of customers who are doing good work or have interesting backgrounds. Use your location to invite customers to submit ideas.

With margins tight, it is tempting to target discretionary spend. But marketing and advertising is an investment that produces both short-term and long-term returns. It is vital, especially now when so much uncertainty exists, that you let customers know you are there for them and helping the community weather challenges.

Doing so will put you in the best position to keep sales flowing now and reap the rewards as conditions improve.

How To Convince Local Businesses To Get Back On The Air

As radio sales teams work to convince local businesses hit by the pandemic to get back on the air, part of their pitch should include the importance of building brand awareness – something radio is well known for. “We haven’t done a really good job of educating our core advertisers on the value of what we provide, and that one of the most important values that we provide is an upper funnel awareness,” says Jeff Greenfield, Senior VP, Buy Side at WideOrbit.

In other words, capturing as many leads as possible (upper funnel), before slowly nurturing prospective customers through the purchasing decision (lower funnel), is often overlooked in today’s short-term ad world where digital frequently gets the credit for the final click to buy. Greenfield, who joined WideOrbit in January with a mandate to “help our customers” (the broadcasters that use its advertising software), points to Procter & Gamble to make his point. The consumer packaged goods giant was seeing diminishing returns from narrowly targeted lower funnel digital advertising at the expense of building brand awareness through reach media like radio and TV. So it cut $100 million in digital advertising it deemed ineffective and got back in business with radio.

“When advertisers focus their dollars at that lower part of the funnel, the number of people that you’re exposing, gets less and less, and as a result, advertising dollars are not going to work as well as they did before,” Greenfield says.

He ought to know. Before joining Wide Orbit he was founder/COO of attribution and analytics firm C3 Metrics, which helped such clients as JP Morgan U.S. Bank “understand how different media interact with each other and, and what works best together and what doesn’t work best together.”

As digital advertising gained favor and advertisers allocated less budget to brand awareness in favor of a short term focus on digital advertising, Greenfield says advertising effectiveness dropped dramatically.

Making matters worse, the uncertainty brought on by the COVID pandemic caused many advertisers to cut their ad budgets, and in the process, lose market share that is “almost impossible” to gain back.

‘The Value Of Brand’

Now working with WideOrbit’s radio and TV clients, he is urging local businesses to keep themselves top of mind in the community. “There’s a lot of work that radio can do to drive the point home of the value of brand and the value, especially now, of letting folks in your local community know that you’re here, and that you’re part of the community, that you’re feeling the same pain that they are, but you’re here for them,” Greenfield says. “You want to let your community know that you’re not abandoning them. And when you stop advertising, your local community thinks you’re not there anymore.”

Remaining on the air is a message that Nielsen has also been advocating for. The measurement giant says on average it takes three to five years to recover equity lost because of halted advertising and long-term revenue can decrease by 2% for every quarter a brand doesn’t advertise. Furthermore, company data shows that long-term marketing contributes to sales growth.

This is especially true in the auto industry, where computer chip shortages brought on by the coronavirus significantly depleted inventories on dealer lots. As a result many dealers made major cuts in advertising. With an average car buying cycle lasting nine months, from the time someone comes into the market to the time they buy, auto dealers need to be thinking long-term, Greenfield says. “You’ve got to look ahead to 9-10 months from now, when there’s a ton of people that are going to be in market. And that’s why it’s important to keep your name out there and keep that awareness there.” Whether it involves a car dealer sponsoring a local food bank or some other profile-raising activity, “letting people know that you’re there is the most important thing you can do so you will not lose market share,” he cautions.

‘The Power Of Voice’

With digital ad fraud now spreading to connected TV and the oncoming “cookie apocalypse,” Greenfield sees the advertising door swinging open wider for radio and its sister medium of podcasting. “Audio is one of the most powerful things out there… It’s the power of the voice,” he says, pointing to the ability of storytellers ranging from Howard Stern to podcasters to influence behavior. “Those messages can kind of get into the brain when it’s in a little bit of a relaxing mode. And that’s very powerful.”

Solving The LinkedIn Bot Problem

LinkedIn is great for business, once you get passed the spam and bots.

Spending over a decade building a B2B business, you learn a couple of marketing tricks.

The biggest one:  discover where your customers hang out.

For AdTech, this used to be conferences like AdWeek, DMEXCO, iMedia, etc, but over the last couple of years, LinkedIn has grown in importance to every B2B marketer.

Instead of traveling to a conference, having a single portal where each of my current and potential customers participates was like a dream.

And LinkedIn was that for me.

I slowly built my network and over time it has grown to over 6,000 people.

LinkedIn worked for me because I was providing data which my network deemed valuable.

The LinkedIn app is on my phone and it’s the only app (besides SMS) where I have notifications turned on.

Yes – I’m a LinkedIn Lover.

But now, with in-person conferences and business travel at a standstill, every B2B marketer has substantially increased their LinkedIn outreach.

The volume of invitations and inMail messages has increased to a point where it disrupts my daily work.

  • Yes…I should turn off LinkedIn notifications.
  • Yes…I should only check LinkedIn once a day.
  • Yes…I should take the app off my phone.

But I don’t want to.  LinkedIn is my only social network and is an integral part of my business.

And it’s not just me.

Even other LinkedIn Lovers like Rob Griffin are venting their frustrations.

Rob’s post immediately struck a nerve and started me down a path to find a better solution.

I didn’t have to search far.

Eric Ramos, Director of Analytics at BusinessOnline came up with an innovative solution and shared it in the same thread.

His solution was so popular with colleagues, he created a loom video in April detailing his method for handling LinkedIn connection requests.

Eric’s system filters out 90% of connection requests and is based on growing his network only where there’s mutual value and it’s a real person.

To get this up and running, Eric created a form at Typeform with questions designed to determine if the mutual connection could be of value to both parties.

The process is simple; he copies and pastes a message to any request who sends an introductory note.

No introductory note and Eric will remove your request.

Here’s the message he sends for the 50% of requests who send an introductory note:

According to Eric, 20% complete the form.

A completed form sends a Slack message to Eric with a score he calculates based on the answers.

(I got a 4 out of 5.)

For salespeople, he asks them to refrain for 90 days from pitching him; if they agree, he connects with them.

To date, all except one have followed his request.

Eric’s system of verification plus quality is 100% the right move and I loved it!

Eric used to spend 12-13 hours per month managing Linkedin Invitations.

His system allowed him to reduce it down to less than 2 hour per month for an 89% time savings!

I knew that by integrating a little additional technology, we could accomplish the same goal plus save even more time.

Since Covid, my daughter and I have spent time thinking how to best optimize sales funnels which led to the creation of Overnight Dealer.

This LinkedIn issue was the opposite problem.

We now needed to ‘disrupt’ the sales funnel.

Step 1 was to stop the inbound ‘insanity’ by adjusting my LinkedIn preferences here.

  • Scroll down until you see the ‘Who Can Reach You’ Section and 
  • Click on ‘Change’ as shown

  • Clicking on CHANGE displays three options

  • I clicked last option as shown

It was a Zen moment.

The LinkedIn noise immediately stopped.

Unfortunately, keeping it this way meant no one new could connect with me, since I did not import my contacts.

And…I want the door open to new people who I don’t know yet.

We needed a process to verify people similar to SpamArrest but, without taking the time to individually act on each one.

Using Zapier with Twilio, Typeform and Slack, we were able to do the following:

  • Get a US phone number for my LinkedIn profile
  • Prompt people to ‘text me’ to connect
  • Send opt-in users to Typeform
  • Send responses to Slack

Without any user intervention or time requirements, we quickly duplicated Eric’s awesome system.

And it works great for anyone familiar with Zapier who has a minimum of the multi-step ‘Starter’ plan.

For those that don’t, spending $19.99/month on Zapier to cut down on LinkedIn spam is a far stretch.

And that’s why we’re excited to have you meet Clara.

Meet Clara stops LinkedIn bots without the need for user intervention.

As a virtual ‘artificial’ assistant, Clara allows you to set a reporting cadence and establish networking holidays.

If you’re interested in joining the Meet Clara beta, text me at 646-851-2382 or visit MeetClara.io

Attribution Predictions 2019: Interview with Jeff Greenfield

Tell us about your role and journey into technology. How did you co-start C3 Metrics?

While working in the world of product placement and branded entertainment, I was lucky enough to meet my C3 Metrics Co-Founder Mark Hughes. A marketing legend, Hughes convinced a town to rename themselves from Halfway, Oregon to Half.com Oregon, creating both the first ‘dot-com’ town and one of the most memorable company launches.

The worldwide attention attracted eBay and shortly thereafter Half.com was acquired. With the release of his best-selling book ‘Buzzmarketing: Get People To Talk About Your Stuff,’ Mark and I started working together to solve in-depth marketing problems for a number of Fortune 500 brands.

The biggest problem we faced was how to properly credit and ‘attribute’ what marketing tactics were actually working. We worked with the former CEO of Nielsen and created a software that captures all consumer touch points in order to see what was working and what was not.

Besides keeping our product pipeline growing, my number one role at C3 Metrics is to ensure we keep our culture intact. We’ve grown quickly as a company and both Mark and I make a conscious effort to keep diversity, inclusion and transparency at the forefront of everything we do to create a great environment for everyone to thrive together as a team.

What is C3 Metrics and how is it different from other attribution providers?

C3 Metrics is truly ‘Built By Marketers’. Mark and I built C3 Metrics to solve problems we were facing ourselves. We’ve faced the same pressures as every one of our clients and we used C3 Metrics daily to solve those problems.

As data and the sources for that data grew, we developed the only Attribution Data Cloud to unify user journey data across channels and platforms to integrate with proprietary viewability, fraud controls and cross-device. We are the only ones to distribute attribution credit algorithmically through our Attribution Data Cloud and as a result, we are the source of truth and decision making in our industry.

What is the current state of Attribution Platforms? How does C3 Metrics deliver on its ROI promises?

The promise of MTA is massive, but the lack of standards is leading to backwards movement and confusion among marketers. We’re seeing providers ignoring industry standards such as viewability and fraud, which had led to poor outcomes. At C3 Metrics, as we incorporate all of the industry standards and guidelines surrounding viewability and fraud, we’re able to guarantee our ROI promises in every client contract. Attribution works, but only if you follow established industry standards.

Could you elaborate more on the recent recognition by the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB)?

It’s been far too long that Marketers have been given the short end of the stick — one day they have budget and then it’s taken away, so Finance can ‘hit their numbers’. We’re working with the MASB to move Marketing up to the same level as Finance and get the recognition it deserves at the board level. Most marketers are shocked to learn that less than 3 percent of all public company boards have a representative from Marketing and MASB is all about changing that. We’re excited to be working with MASB members to improve marketing accountability and recognition.

Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use?

We use Salesforce in combination with Outreach, Zoom and Slack. We also rely heavily on a number of proprietary tools for our Sales Automation needs.

What are the biggest challenges in advancing into the accountable marketing practices? How does C3 Metrics help customers on this front?

The biggest challenge in advancing accountable marketing practices is not the technology or the know-how, it’s the ability of the team to adapt to utilizing technology in a way which guides their decisions. Everyone wants better measurement and ROI, but to do so requires an organizational shift, which has to come from the analyst level all the way up to the board. That’s where our team of professionals and dedicated resources come in — we’re there to help that paradigm make its way through an organization.

Could you tell us about an outstanding digital campaign from your experience?

We have a B2B client who was targeting enterprise users and spending heavily in all digital channels — predominately in paid search, where they were ‘seeing’ some decent results. They saw minimal ROI in programmatic display and as a result, they decreased their programmatic spend.

When they started working with C3 Metrics, they discovered that programmatic display was actually increasing awareness at the top of their sales funnel and that paid search was simply lower funnel activity that would have come naturally. As a result, they shifted some spend from paid search to programmatic display and saw their cost per lead drop by 25% and leads go up 37% without spending any additional money.

What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Marketing Operations for 2018-2020?

Two major disruptions coming to Marketing Operations are:

1) Unification of Brand & Media Teams. Traditional brand and media metrics live in different worlds and don’t talk to each other. We’re going to see unification of brand metrics with multitouch attribution (MTA), which will finally unify brand and media teams to be working together.

2) MTA Accreditation/Standards to be established. The measurement industry is currently lacking standards, given that accreditation had been non-existent, but the Media Ratings Council has come out with viewability accreditation. With upcoming MTA /Attribution accreditation, marketers will have more confidence and more quickly embrace measurement changes from ‘last click’ to MTA.

What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?

Very impressed with the team at OpenSense and their utilization of email as a marketing channel — in addition to C3 Metrics, Salesforce is also a customer. Also watching Walmart’s digital side — operating like a start-up and on track to massively disrupt Amazon.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?

As a leader, you need to keep one eye on the future and dedicate resources to always be testing new technology and integrate where it makes sense. Our team started testing AI a number of years ago and we currently have aspects of AI in both our infrastructure and underlying algorithms. The key is to be constantly testing and looking ahead.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

Technology should assist both your work and home life — not impede in your day-to-day routine. Far too often, we see tech get in the way — we see that daily in our business. You’re working, trying to do your job and all of a sudden, there’s a new ‘tool’ that is supposed to help you do your job better. It may help — but there’s a learning curve and it becomes a major hassle as you do your day job plus learn this new tech. Part of my job is to help this transition and demonstrate how tech (if used properly) can save countless hours each week and provide more time to think, relax and enhance your life.

One word that best describes how you work.

Focused.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

I’ve fallen in love with my Apple Watch. Blown away with the new ECG feature and encouraged to see future medical integrations — it’s like we’re finally living in the era of The Jetsons! Can’t live without SnagIt — this simple screenshot/video tool from TechSmith is in constant use and my Sonos helps turn our home into a nightly 80’s dance party.

What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?

Hiring an executive assistant to handle all my email and calendar related duties — shout out to Jen Fox, my lifeline to the virtual world of email hell. You don’t know how much your productivity is hindered until you realize how much time you spend answering emails and managing your calendar. The constant interruptions hinder your ability to focus and actually take time to think about the future of your company (and your life).

What are you currently reading?

I’m in the middle of two books ‘Benjamin Franklin: An American Life’ by Walter Isaacson on my Kindle and ‘The Art of Fermentation’ by Sandor Katz in the hardback version. The New York Times is my daily paper (also on my Kindle) and the rest of my news tends to come from Hacker News.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I ever received is “It’s a temporary situation.” Incredible advice for both bad and good times. When you’re in the middle of an awful scenario (which happens a lot in business), it’s great to be able to remind yourself that the awfulness is temporary and will soon change — sometimes for the better, other times for worse — but it’s never stationary.

When times are great, it’s even more important to remind yourself that this too is temporary, yet with proper guidance can continue in the right direction. This mindset helps you keep one foot in the present and the other one always navigating the future.

Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

The secret to my success has been to constantly reinvent myself by always learning. Life is a long journey, filled with many types of people and challenges. Success is the result of confronting difficult situations with both skill and knowledge.

Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Tim Barnes, Chief Data Officer at AT&T advertising and Analytics

Keith Block, Co-Chief Executive Officer at Salesforce

Gary Laben, CEO Dynata/Research Now/SSI

This article originally appeared in Martech Advisor

How To Adapt When Data Suppliers Change The Landscape

In a move to more adequately protect consumer privacy, Google recently announced that its Chrome browser will no longer support third-party tracking cookies “within two years.” In its place, the walled garden unveiled its “Privacy Sandbox” initiative.

While advertisers have used cookies as a key mechanism to target audiences and track consumers online, let’s all admit that the eventual drop of third-party cookies comes as no surprise to anyone in adtech. The move comes after the ad industry took advantage of the benefits of cookies to reach audiences more efficiently and bit off more than the public wanted. Then, Cambridge Analytica outraged the world, and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I work with enterprise clients seeking multitouch attribution (MTA), and we stopped relying on cookies three years ago because we knew this was coming.

This is hardly the first time that walled gardens have disrupted the ad ecosystem. Remember when Google launched and, somewhat overnight, became the go-to browser for internet users around the world? Hungry companies seeking mass audiences for their wares flocked to optimize their ranking and buy search keywords to get on the first page for the word “shoes,” for example. Those first movers raked in millions from their quick thinking, never anticipating that Google would eventually disrupt their entire business plan with updates to its search algorithms. Well, Google did, and the behemoth will continue to do so at an even more frequent pace.

Remember, just because a Google or Amazon—or any other data supplier—is part of your process doesn’t mean that you’re reciprocally part of their process. This will certainly not be the last time that data suppliers “break” the system and disrupt the way advertisers and their partners market products and services. Here are three things you can do to ensure those who fundamentally impact your business don’t blow it up when they change the rules:

Change Your Attitude

You should adopt an attitude that any third-party data or third-party process you are relying upon can change on a dime. It’s also important to note that data providers making business-level decisions will not halt pivoting their product strategies just because you have a signed multiyear agreement in place guaranteeing access and use of their data. If their business plans shift, your company will be impacted. It’s as simple as that. Advertisers, agencies and their adtech partners all need to adopt an attitude that crucial data supplies may be shut off and have a plan in place for every possible aftershock.

Hire Really Smart, Innovative Thinkers

By assuming the inevitable, you’ll have the right mindset to plan for what will surely happen. Find the right people to help you future-proof your business. You need to find and bring in really smart, innovative people from the outside into your organization to disrupt and reignite how work is done. All businesses need futurists on staff who are thinking about what’s next rather than the “right now.” These innovators aren’t going to be set in their ways or expect the status quo to hum along as it did in the past.

If you are currently relying on a tremendous number of outside sources and your business has been built that way, there’s probably a 95% chance there is no one at your company currently who can solve the problem of what to do when your data supplies are shut off and how to work around not having that data. Why? Because it’s highly likely that your current team does not know any other way to operate, whereas innovative newcomers with a startup mentality can better see beyond the routines, systems and processes that employees often become entwined to.

Don’t Catastrophize

Don’t freak out. If you have customers, and if you’ve done a great job solving their problems to date, you will get your smart people in a room and find ways around data supplies changing or drying up.

There’s a silver lining in moves like Google killing off its cookies: At least the playing field is even. While you’re being cut off, everyone is also being impacted. Unfortunately, startups and emerging businesses will be most impacted given fewer resources needed to quickly adapt. We can only hope Google and other data suppliers spare a thought—and provide a plan—for those who are less prepared and financially able to react and pivot to save their businesses before bank accounts run dry.

Regardless, if you are the one people turn to for reaching audiences more efficiently, then they’re certainly looking to you for a solution now. Go out and find it if you haven’t already.

This article originally appeared in Forbes

Bloomberg Technology Interview On Single’s Day

Shery Ahn
Great record sales for Alibaba and yet investors don’t seem to be impressed. The stock actually fell and Baird now saying that sales saw a meaningful deceleration from 2018 levels. What’s your take?

Jeff Greenfield
It’s definitely a deceleration compared to previous years, but the key is that if you look at the growth since they started pushing on Singles Day, it’s absolutely incredible.

We shouldn’t be too impressed with the dollars, the big story here is the data: how they’re able to do it and when you look on comparison – when you look at the number of people that Alibaba shoppers have and you compare that to the US population, Prime Day and Black Friday it is actually not that far behind. The numbers with Alibaba are much much larger, but there’s so many more people.

The big story here is the data and what happens with the data for retailers in the US.

Kurt Wagner
I’m curious when you talk about that data. Give us a sense of why that’s so valuable to Alibaba especially in the growing field here of e-commerce players. What does that kind of data give them that someone like an Amazon for example might not get through prime or do they get that through Prime Day?

Jeff Greenfield
They do get it through Prime Day. The key here is understanding how that data has an impact for advertisers. There’s a lot of advertisers here in the US and a lot of big companies that traditionally don’t have access to that data. For example, CPG companies – like a cleaner
or soap company – they don’t have access to that data and advertisers are finally waking up and that’s why you’re seeing that a lot of advertisers are now jumping onboard and realizing that in
order to get that data they need to have a relationship with the consumer.

If you look at Tide for example – they have gone and started acquiring cleaners around the country so they can actually have that ‘one-to-one’ relationship.

 

For a lot of people in this country, their local cleaner is now called Tide Cleaners.

The other side to that data and why it’s so important, is that consumers today want a curated
experience. Consumers don’t want to just walk into a mall and have everything that’s for sale there and that’s why we’ve seen companies like Stitch Fix start to explode like crazy.

This idea that you can get exactly what fits you, exactly what you need, what’s made for you, to come to your home every single month – that’s what consumers today want and that’s where retailers really seem to kind of miss the message.

If you walk into a mall today – you’re really walking into a graveyard of brands that have not
caught up and are not taking advantage and looking forward with business intelligence.

Shery Ahn
When it comes to Alibaba though, there’s always some questions about what the Single’s Day sale means for their bottom line. There has been some accounting scrutiny over Alibaba here in the US, so what do we know about how much this actually contributes to their business?

Jeff Greenfield
That’s a great question – because at the end of the day in order to get that many consumers to purchase that large number of goods, there’s a lot of deep discounting that goes on. Across the world, consumers all still want one thing – they want a huge bargain and that’s why sales are so big. That’s a big question that we’re not going to find out today in terms of what it’s going to impact their bottom line – but believe me there’s a lot of discounting that went on there.

Kurt Wagner
You talked a lot about making sure that this experience for consumers is moving towards this idea of being personalized. How do you kind of align that with what we’re seeing from social platforms like an Instagram or a Pinterest that’s trying to be both spontaneous and also personalized at the same time?

Jeff Greenfield
Social platforms are a whole different aspect in terms of data. The big problem that these platforms have is they can personalize as much as they want but they’re not actually selling anything so they’re missing that link between commerce. Think about it in terms of Facebook – the only thing they’re selling are ads. They’re really just selling your information. Google
themselves are also not selling anything at all – all they’re selling is your information. They’re missing that link that Amazon actually has.

Amazon is in an amazing and powerful situation because not only do they have that data, not only
are they selling ads, but they also have goods that they’re able to sell.

It wouldn’t surprise me when you start to look at Facebook and Google with the amount of cash they have, that they would be looking to make an acquisition for some shopping platform. They need to have a direct connection to commerce in order to really take full advantage of all the data they have.

Shery Ahn
How are we expecting the Singles Day performance to help when it comes to that Hong Kong IPO share sale of 15 billion dollars that could come any day now for Alibaba?

Jeff Greenfield
Investors should be somewhat impressed with those numbers. They probably aren’t that impressed that the growth wasn’t as high as the years before, but I think what’s going to be interesting more than even what happens with Alibaba is how does this impressive number with Singles Day – what does it do for the economy here in the US and what what’s going to happen in Q4 as we move towards the shopping season here?

Are we gonna see a 25 percent jump? We should.

If we don’t see as much of a jump what that tells us is that Alibaba is really taking better advantage of their data than the retailers here in the US.

Shery Ahn
It’s all about that data and analytics and Jeff thank you so much. That was Jeff Greenfield joining us from C3 Metrics. This is Bloomberg.

In-Home Delivery: Welcome To The Brave New World Of Store-To-Home

Did you ever think we’d reach a tech-enabled retail revolution where groceries would be delivered not only to our front doors, but inside our refrigerators? Starting this fall, Walmart is doing just that with its InHome grocery delivery service. The new service heats up the in-home delivery market, and follows first mover Amazon, which offers in-home delivery inside customers’ front doors, as well as in-car delivery and in-garage delivery.

While these two retailers have high expectations for moving beyond the mailbox — believing that consumers will be willing to sacrifice their privacy in the name of convenience — store-to-fridge represents a new frontier of delivery, breaching the barrier of privacy to our butter, bread and berries. In-home delivery presents an opportunity for retailers to set themselves apart from their competitors and increase market share. But, given the privacy and security risks, in-home delivery services must be cleverly executed.

Amazon pioneered in-home delivery with its Key by Amazon service. Key by Amazon is a connected door lock and security system that allows package carriers into the home via the Amazon app to drop packages inside of a homeowner’s front door. The app alerts consumers of pending deliveries with a series of status notifications and provides users with the option to live-watch the delivery in progress and/or view a video clip of the delivery post-event. Amazon’s drivers are instructed to knock before requesting to unlock customers’ doors via their Amazon handheld scanner. As home access is provided via Amazon’s smart lock and app, the e-commerce giant does not need to share sensitive codes or keys with its drivers. Once the delivery is complete, the homeowner’s door is relocked, and security is contacted if lock issues arise.

While Amazon seeks permission to access customer entryways, Walmart wants permission to walk beyond that threshold to consumer kitchens and fridges. Allowing delivery workers so much farther into American homes could breach the last barrier of privacy.

Walmart understands that consumer privacy and safety is paramount to its success. Similar to Amazon’s home access model, the retail giant announced that it will use smart door lock and smart garage door kits and equip workers with body cameras to ease consumer concerns about strangers entering their homes. In addition, Walmart says it will ensure that employees have at least 12 months on the job before being allowed to enter consumers’ homes. Walmart will also include short bios of each worker within its delivery app to personalize the experience and begin to create loyal customers who will trust this service for all of their shopping needs.

But, as Uber and Lyft have painfully learned, extensive background checks and training for those in contact with customers is rarely enough. The ride-hailing companies have experienced a string of disturbing ride app incidents involving drivers. Uber has since launched an investigational unit devoted solely to driver misconduct, and it says it enforces a “three strikes and you’re out” policy. Meanwhile, ride-hailing company Lyft is under fire in a new lawsuit for reportedly mishandling what is being called a “sexual predator crisis” involving its drivers.

And there are widespread issues that arise from retailers’ use of smart home and video technologies too. Just last month a California father’s Nest camera was allegedly hijacked by woman threatening to steal his 18-month-old son. Last month a criminal reportedly used compromised passwords to hack a family’s camera security system to turn up their thermostat and play obscene music. Igniting further concern, security experts confirmed that no smart lock is perfect and demonstrated the ease of hacking various smart lock brands back in 2016 and shared a slew of smart home security flaws in recent months. Amazon’s Key by Amazon Smart Lock Kit has been the subject of numerous hacking news stories, and I believe that Walmart’s Level Lock could potentially have a similar fate.

Another quandary yet to even be considered by brands, the advertising community and regulators alike is how do retailers venturing into in-home delivery address in-home privacy in a GDPR and CCPA compliant world? The laws are not yet written, yet retailers entering homes will have access to highly personal information that can help them to further personalize interactions and communications with their consumers.

For example, if the bodycam footage of an Amazon or Walmart delivery worker notices, through artificial video recognition intelligence, that a customer is running low on Sir Kensington’s ketchup, should the retailers offer the highest paying bidder the opportunity to deliver a coupon for Hunt’s or Heinz ketchup? Does this action create a privacy concern? Does it violate the trust a customer has built with the company? Or is it simply something that consumers could find creepy? This remains to be seen. In the meanwhile, as a best practice, I recommend that all data should be frequently deleted, and brands should tread very carefully around using consumer data gained in-home until lawmakers play catch-up.

This article originally appeared in Forbes.

Are The Hurdles For Outcomes-Based Measurement Surmountable?

Today, marketers are being held accountable for their organizational bottom line more than ever before. With transparency increasing across marketing departments and businesses, brand leaders are being asked to track every dollar spent and demonstrate to finance leads how they are impacting revenue.

This reality, in tandem with marketer concern about how many of their ads are actually being seen by human beings — and prominent researchers like Dr. Augustine Fou outlining a bleak outlook for dollars wasted due to digital ad fraud — has pushed both viewability standards and outcome-based attribution measurement to the forefront.

The Biggest Hurdle

True outcomes-based measurement means being able to look holistically at your marketing channels, while filtering fraud and viewability at the individual user level and accurately connecting devices across the user journey. The key challenge for agencies, sellers and brands seeking outcomes-based measurement, at scale, is the lack of an omnichannel measurement platform with reliable protections in place. Accurate outcomes-based measurement requires a gold-standard multitouch attribution (MTA) solution complete with the bells and whistles of filtering fraud and viewability across devices to determine true incrementality.

Marketers need a lot of information because they’re looking for proven cause and effect metrics and essentially putting their jobs on the line and telling finance, “When will you give me more money? I’m spending it on X. It’s going to drive Y more dollars, and it will generate Z more profit.” So, with those stakes in mind, it’s important to be absolutely certain that your predictive models will perform as promised.

Set Realistic Outcomes

Much of marketing today is predicated on key performance indicators (KPIs), such as views, engagement and clicks, that are not always directly tied to revenue. For example, an auto manufacturer like Ford or Toyota might be focused on driving leads for their dealers. But, technically, that lead is not worth anything in terms of revenue.

With MTA — identifying an individual and stitching together a consumer’s journey anonymously — marketers are able to accurately tie that lead to revenue. Those automakers are then also able to ascertain which individuals end up buying the most expensive cars and track their outcomes in terms of revenue to actual action.

And that’s really what the goal is here!

There is always a path to outcomes — even for notoriously difficult industries like pharmaceutical brands. With today’s advanced MTA technology, you can track almost any KPI back to real revenue with the right platform. And, at the end of the day, we have to remember that leads don’t mean anything to finance, but revenue certainly does.

Know What Can’t Be Measured And Create Workarounds

Some sectors, like consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands, may require sampling to get information that cannot be obtained at the user level, but outcomes-based measurement is possible. Additionally, in a scurry for user-level data, I have seen a lot of CPG companies now moving very aggressively to have direct relationships with consumers — take Unilever’s acquisition of Dollar Shave Club, for example. Other resourceful CPG brands, like Tide, have cleverly worked around their lack of user-level data by launching and acquiring dry cleaning businesses around the country, enabling a direct one-to-one consumer relationship.

Industry Standards Are Necessary

Right now, every company has its own standards, and there’s no consensus in place for marketers or their agencies. Until industry attribution standards are agreed upon, wide-scale adoption of outcomes-based advertising approaches will be slower than marketers desire.

It’s challenging for companies delivering metrics to agree on standards and change the way that they do business for the greater good. Some attribution and outcome-based measurement businesses will struggle to adapt to the standards mandated by the industry. To prepare yourself for those new standards and develop outcomes-based measurement in your own organization, start with the following:

Perform A Geo-Based Hold-Out Test: This is often considered the gold standard, where you test one media channel versus your baseline in similar regions to demonstrate the incremental value of running a specific media channel to your organization.

Determine Your Time To Financial Impact: Extend your hold-out test for up to 90 days (or longer) to calculate how long it takes for consumers who are engaging with your media to have a financial impact on your organization. Remember that some channels may impact higher in the consumer funnel and may take up to six months or longer to have an impact.

Eventually, my prediction is that we should anticipate a shakeup in the attribution space as the inevitable takes place. In the meantime, you and your business should do everything within your power to stay up to date on these changing expectations.

This article originally appeared in Forbes.