Will Data Change the Lives of Marketers? General

You may have heard the saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Regardless of whether this is true, marketing has long required measurability and profitability. Finland especially would like to increase the role of marketing in its companies. Unfortunately, the measurement of marketing is not that simple – there isn’t even agreement on how marketing really affects people and what should be measured.

Because of the development of communication devices and digitalization, small steps have been made toward the better measurability of marketing. The main reason is Internet and how it provides a way to track users’ behavior. Much of this potential is still unexploited, and that’s what we have now: only the tip of the iceberg. I believe that digitalization will have an intense effect on marketing that we have yet to realize.keep-calm-and-love-data-2

Until now, the focus of marketing planning has been in the coverage of advertising, yet there is no precise way to measure how many people will actually see the ad or pay attention to it – let alone how many leads the ad has recruited or whether it has effected the desired result. This has been the practice for so long that moving away from it is difficult. For example, most Internet ad placements are still sold by how many people could see it, without there being any genuine interest in how many people click on it. Will the clicks lead to a desired action? No one seems to know. The excuse has often been that the ad has a brand effect, which is more important than clicks. And while brand awareness is an important issue, it doesn’t rule out the possibility that we could benefit from actionable figures and think about whether the marketing activity makes sense.

It is easy to buy advertising space and be happy for the campaign without having any information on how successful the campaign has really been. It is easy to lie and say that the brand has gotten visibility and therefore the campaign has been successful. Only a relative few Finnish companies can afford to measure how the brand recognition and perceptions have changed on a regular basis, so the success of campaigns tends to hinge on the marketing manager’s judgment.

What data do you require to change your marketing plan and campaign evaluation? The following list details what I think it will be possible to measure in the future (or even now) for ads in various media.

  • Newspapers and magazines – More people read the news and magazines with mobile devices. The use of traditional newspapers will decrease and the use of mobile versions will the increase. Thanks to digitalization, I believe it will be possible to obtain specific information about how many people have read an online article, how long specific pages have been read, and consequently how many people saw your ad or clicked on the link to the ad.
  • TV – Television’s renewal has been predicted for some years now, but it still has not happened. However, smart TVs are already enabled so users can watch online videos on their TVs. Apple is expected to revolutionize the TV viewing experience completely. In the future TVs will work more over the Internet. High-speed Internet connections have already made it possible for TV broadcasts over the Internet. When videos are streamed, the broadcasters could recieve data on how many devices were watching, how long they watched, what ads they saw, how views are divided geographically, etc.
  • Radio – Radio is the same as the TV: More listening will happen via the Internet. Different web radio stations and other music aggregators like Spotify are supposedly able to obtain information on the quantities of listeners and how many people heard the ad.
  • Outdoor Advertising – In recent years, the use of digital screens in outdoor advertising has increased in Finland. The screens can be managed and changed remotely via the Internet. When different geolocation information systems evolve, it could be possible to know how cars drove the street and whether the driver could see the ad within a specific time period.

As many of you know, the Internet is capable of measuring web analytics through user clicks. This makes it possible to measure how many visitors your site has received, what pages they read, from where they reached the site, and where they are located geographically.

When all the data are combined, marketers can obtain accurate information on how many people have seen your ad and whether the ad has triggered the desired action. It is important to mine the available data to find genuinely useful information and to agree that different media houses will share this data and not hold it only for themselves.

Because of the increasing ways to measure the performance of difference ad units, the importance of data will be highlighted in the future. It’s good to know now what information is useful to measure your marketing performance and understand how you can truly measure it.

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