A fairly large contingent of my colleagues attended the recent Masters of Marketing annual conference in Phoenix held by the Association of National Advertisers.
For three days, 1700+ manager, director and C-level marketers from most of the county’s largest brands, as well as folks from many of the top ad agencies networked, shared and braved 100-degree “dry heat.”
While many think of this gathering as the barometer of what’s going on in marketers’ minds, the anecdotes that were brought back to our office from this event exceeded our expectations.
What’s The Buzz – Tell Me What’s A-Happening
First off, marketers are now, more than ever, painfully aware that online and offline channels have an impact on each other’s performance.
As a result, they are either feeling compelled to seek out solutions that will quantify that impact or fearful that they are at a competitive disadvantage if they haven’t started to seek out a solution.
What we found truly fascinating, however, is that even some brand marketers – not just the direct response crowd – are talking about the need to quantify that influence in order to make informed decisions about moving the needle from a brand equity perspective. Wow.
Second, beyond just the online-offline and offline-online synergies, marketers have a heightened understanding that there is significant inter-channel and intra-channel influence taking place in their multi-channel advertising ecosystem.
For example, it seemed to be almost universally understood that online display advertising and email marketing impact search marketing performance (inter-channel), and that impressions/clicks on non-branded keywords early in the conversion process drive the performance of branded keywords at the end of the conversion process (intra-channel).
It’s an acknowledged pain point on the part of most organizations that they do not have the metrics and analytics infrastructure necessary to optimize their marketing performance based on these channel synergies.
Finally, as if those learnings weren’t enough, the most encouraging finding we brought back from the Arizona desert was that even VP and C-level marketers (not just their in-the-trenches foot soldiers) – are talking about and seemingly understand these issues fairly clearly.
Where there still seems to be a long way to go, however, is in how to research, select and implement attribution management solutions that can provide the insights and recommendations on how to optimize cross channel performance.
But at least these high-level decision-makers recognize there is a problem, and in my eyes, that’s progress!
Who Will Lead The Attribution Charge?
It seems obvious that the ideal constituency for leading the research, selection and implementation of cross-channel marketing attribution within any organization is its search marketers.
In their current roles these individuals already demonstrate the mindset, skills and discipline required to focus on quantitative results; use analytics to guide their optimization strategies; work with multiple pieces marketing technology; and research, vet, select, implement and integrate those marketing technologies.
The key is for search marketers to widen the lens through which they view their marketing performance to recognize and appreciate the impact that adjacent channel activities have on search marketing. It’s all about increasing the synergistic impact.
Based on the buzz in Phoenix, momentum is starting to build and the time is ripe for search marketers to take on their next great challenge – mastering the cross-channel attribution equation within their organizations and leading them to new levels of performance efficiency and effectiveness across their entire marketing portfolios.
These professionals accomplished this with search in the late 90s and are poised to do so again as we enter the second decade of the 21st century. As they say, the future belongs to the bold. Who is ready to step up?
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.