I'm a partner in the advanced analytics group at Bain & Company, the global management consulting firm. My primary focus is on marketing analytics (bio). I've been writing here (views my own) about marketing, technology, e-business, and analytics since 2003 (blog name explained).

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April 17, 2008

Upcoming Talk: Carlson on Metrics (Minneapolis, May 23)

I'll be speaking at the "Carlson on Metrics" conference in Minneapolis (May 21-23, my talk is on the morning of the 23rd).  I'll be talking about "multi-channel marketing optimization".

Here's the premise:

  • as people spend more time in digital channels, marketing dollars are following them
  • this is challenging for marketers, since these channels are also much more fragmented (for example, we've gone from a handful of broadcast networks, to hundreds of cable channels, to millions of websites with embedded videos)
  • there's a silver lining:  these channels are much more trackable, targetable, and testable
  • but, in practice, this means a typical marketer is now faced with a fire hose of information to process from each of these channels
  • so, what happens is that in most cases, firms end up "locally optimizing" their marketing spend within each channel
  • this might have been fine if the typical "customer experience" for any given target segment was limited to a single channel -- say, physical stores vs. online storefront
  • but, with channel fragmentation, the average "customer experience" through any given buying process now crosses many different channels -- see the infomercial, go online to research the product, ask a friend, go back to the site through a search engine to buy, and then maybe pick up in the store
  • so, firms can't really afford to "optimize locally" any more -- they have to make sure that all these channels are working together effectively
  • this is hard; it requires integration of data and coordination/ cooperation among functional organizations with separate, often different, and sometimes conflicting metrics, budgets, and cultures
  • since it's hard, many firms are tempted by silver bullets: "If we build a data warehouse, the clouds will  part and the angels will sing multi-channel insights to  us."
  • but in practice, such efforts often collapse of their own weight, and unfortunately it takes time to realize that prospect, since "If you don't know where you are going any road will get you there."
  • there are ways to do better, and folks who have done better...

Hope to see you there, or hear from you about your experiences before, during, or after.


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