Marketers need to focus on designing and executing a strategy that drives value-based results.

That’s the thought of MediaCrossing, a Stamford Connecticut-based digital advertising agency. I recently asked MediaCrossing CEO Michael Kalman for his views on how best the process works.

Paul Talbot: When a marketer decides to focus on a value-based outcome, how do you gauge in advance how well that outcome resonates with the customer?

Michael Kalman: Our advice is to always take a test and learn approach to determining value-based results. Your plan will determine the KPIs for measurement with a tactical strategic plan, and after 7-10 days, measure effectiveness and optimize toward the goals that make the most sense for your client’s goals at that point in the funnel.

Measuring the effectiveness of factors such as creative, first-party and third-party data, geo-targeting, and platform will help inform your decision before investing additional budget, time, and resources.

Talbot: What are some best practices for the type of test that can help a marketer determine the benefits of this value-based outcome?

Kalman: Industry references won’t have as much of an impact as practical, thoughtful research when it comes to your customers’ lifestyle and campaign goals. Always do research ahead of time based on your existing customer data and projected customer demographics and psychographics.

For example, we were tasked with running a campaign for a pre-pandemic arena show in Florida. From initial research and test-and-learn, we found that the majority of audiences were ESL consumers.

Additionally, these consumers were much more likely to be single-device (mobile) users than multiple-device users in other regions of the United States. This key feature of targeting has allowed our campaigns to not only be more cost effective, but also more effective in reaching the right people with the highest propensity to convert.

Talbot: What suggestions do you have for the marketer who understands the importance of speed and moving quickly to innovation, but wants to minimize the downside of reckless speed?

Kalman: We recommend clients adopt an agile framework and be smart with data.

Implement the tactics with the greatest propensity for success, while employing an agile process to constantly plan, iterate, and adapt. It’s important for marketing organizations to understand how an agile marketing structure can help respond at speed with precision.

Talbot: How has this era of disruption impacted marketers’ ability to test? Is it easier or more difficult?

Kalman: This era hasn’t been particularly difficult, but the landscape has become more competitive and more expensive as the digital ecosystem has grown. In 2020, more than 6 million American households had to cut the cord with pay TV, bringing the total number of cord-cutting households to 31.2 million (eMarketer).

We’re seeing cable TV’s most important advertising window, the Super Bowl, overtaken by major brands this year in direct response to the Covid pandemic.

Marketers have further embraced the idea that digital media allows for less initial buy-in, greater flexibility, and an increased ability to adapt to changing social, political, and technological preferences.

While there is an increase in competition and spending, digital media has created an opportunity for brands to compete on a level playing field. Sophisticated audience targeting and testing techniques will give mid-market competitors the edge previously enjoyed by the world’s largest companies.

Talbot: Any other ideas you would like to share?

Kalman: Smart data targeting, marketing strategy, testing and reporting will be key differentiators of success for marketing teams as we move forward into 2021.

Reaching the right people, at the right stage of the funnel, with the right message will ensure you reach the most profitable consumers while using your media budget efficiently. Agile marketing provides the speed and accuracy needed in today’s complex world.

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