About six months ago, we at Polk decided to do a conference to tout the virtues of multi-channel marketing in the automotive space. This idea eventually materialized into what is now known as Polk Automotive Connections. Day 2, the digital marketing focused portion, was chocked full of excellent content with digital advertisers from all channels and strata of the industry.
The day started off with Polk discussing the trends in digital marketing and automotive market size. Then, Collective Media discussed the role of targeting audiences in display advertising. Google Auto availed themselves to enlighten us on the role of video in auto advertising, as an engagement channel. Next, JumpTap educated the audience(s) on the power and exponential growth of mobile advertising. After lunch, Joe Kyriakoza from our partner Datalogix invited various agency executives up to the stage for candid conversation about the state of digital media buying. Following, our friends from the iab gave the crowd a heads up on the latest in privacy and regulatory related issues in this space.
The day continued on with insight about how marketers can capitalize on and measure social media campaigns, from Martin/Jay Digital. Then, a company that has found ways to reinvent itself, Rentrak, shed some light on the new innovations taking place in targeting televisions for better brand advertising.
In all of the presentations, there were great stats and anecdotes that made the day an informative fun-fest. If you want to see the preliminary 140 character or less knowledge, then check out Twitter and search #PAC2011 and you'll see a healthy stream of statistics and fun facts that will give you a flavor for the event.
There were some themes that rang true across the various sessions, cities and speakers though. The necessitiy of creative, the power of targeting and the desire to figure out attribution in the measurement equation. I'm inclined to believe that attribution cannot be assigned to one channel and assessing attribution share is inherently flawed. That can be illustrated by a story I heard from one of the sessions. However, I don't know which presenter to attribute it to. (wink) So, if you read this and you know who it was, or it was you, please speak up and take your credit.
In a city that shall not be named, there was a large outdoor of a lavender scented tire. This man bypassed the advertisement many times but never acted, searched or thought about it much (other than acknowledging the strange novelty of it). Then, one day, the gentleman was nostril assaulted by this strange smell coming from a tire. He found it necessary to then do a mobile search, on the spot, for more info on this unique item. Turns out, this lavender tire had a mobile site; remembering the outdoor, he jumped to that content. The content there was decent and eventually drove him to do a search on his computer. His wife saw the info, and was overtaken with need for the lavender tire. Eventually, this man had to break down and buy some lavender tires. You may ask me, serisouly? Yes it's true, at least the way I remember it.
Given the question in the above (based off of a true story) scenario, which media channel would you attribute to the purchase? The point, is that they all had a part to play in moving this consumer down the purchase funnel. I would probably say the attribution could go to the PC experience because that is where the wife was eventually exposed to the media. But, would he have ever even searched for it, had the mobile site not piqued his interest? Would he have even known there was a site or a lavender tire at all, if it weren't for the outdoor? What if the tires had never gotten within nose-shot?
The moral of the story is cross channel analytics are necessary to have an understanding of which media channels are driving engagement, reach awareness and all the other metrics that help marketers manage their business. Multiple stimuli in various media channels is necessary, though, to optimize each individual communication.
In a vertical, like automotive, where etailing is not a reality and an in-store visit is still necessary for purchase, there is no way to tell (other than through survey) what was the medium that drove the person to purchase or take the actions to purchase. So, understand where you can get the most bang for your specific KPIs; target audiences that will optimize your ad spend and invest heavily there but still use multiple channels because the power of diverse stimuli will help drive recall and movement down the sales funnel.
That's what I learned at Polk Automotive Connections, what about you?
Posted by Therran Oliphant, Product Strategist, Polk (09.28.2011)