Recently, big data analytics has received a lot of attention from CMOs at large global brands — and rightly so. Executives at companies that invest heavily in digital marketing realize they need new software solutions that can handle and provide actionable insights from the massive amount of data that channels such as social and mobile continue to fuel at break neck speeds. But is there more to this story than analytics?
Recent figures from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) cited that performance-based advertising accounted for nearly 65 percent of total online ad dollars in 2011. As performance-based campaigns continue to gain significant traction, global brands are laser focused on multi-channel attribution i.e., using analytics to determine what channels actually drive sales. Is it search? Affiliate? Display? Is it a combination of all three? Once marketers determine this, they can then appropriately allocate budgets to maximize ROI.
There’s no doubt the ability for marketers to centralize big data analysis is important to the success of performance marketing — in fact, it’s critical. Global brands are looking for enterprise software companies to provide flexible tracking solutions, centralized real time reporting, customization and architectures built at an API level. However, with performance partners driving sales for them all over the world, brands (and in many cases, ad agencies, which is an entire topic in itself) are also looking for value-added capabilities beyond analytics, such as global integration, training, tech support and financial services.
For the most part, an enterprise software platform can be applied to any market. A simple analogy is that a computer solves an equation the same way in New York, as it does in New Delhi. An organization can choose best-in-breed software that is task specific, but the question becomes: how do we plug it into a global structure and provide training and tech support for our employees? Valuable solutions go beyond a general instruction manual, but instead provide a brand with the ability to translate their CMO dashboard into any language and receive in-person training and ongoing tech support from real people who are fluent in local languages.
As with all business objectives, the goals of performance marketing are to increase sales and reduce costs. Brands are also discovering that access to financial services and a hands- on finance team through their performance marketing software provider is another way to achieve these objectives. Again, brands that need to pay performance partners located all over the world can increase ROI with the ability to offer faster, flexible payment terms and pay their partners in local currencies. Just as with data analytics, customization is key. Financial services that brands can customize to how they want to pay partners and bill vendors in different countries provide the greatest value.
The performance marketing landscape continues to evolve, and brands increasingly look to execute strategies and tactics on a global level. CMOs must continuously think about both data analytics and global services such as integration, training, tech support and finance. On the data side, “prediction” is a term bubbling up in the industry, as brands look to understand how enterprise solutions can actually help optimize performance-marketing campaigns and not just analyze data. From the services side, brands will increasingly look for tools that fit into their business model — not the other way around. Combined, these two changing trends will help build long-term performance marketing and overall business success for global brands.