This article was originally published on the Marketing Week website. Click here to view.

Belgium might not seem the obvious place to look for evidence that marketing effectiveness is more important than ever, but if you can succeed in this country of 11.5 million people, you can succeed in a lot of other places too.

The reason? Not only do local marketers have to navigate three official languages and two distinct geographic regions, but Belgium is also one of only two countries in the EU to practise wage indexation. In other words, the wages of workers are linked to inflation by law. One million employees are set to receive an automatic pay rise of 11.59% in January, according to one report.

This is an added headache for companies in Belgium, which are facing the same rising energy and supply-side costs as everywhere else in the world. Alongside the cost-of-living crisis that is limiting consumer spending power currently, this has created a perfect storm for marketing departments.

“The biggest challenge we’re facing is budgetary pressure,” says Annelore Van Hove, Head of Media & Channel at Delhaize Belgium, the country’s second-largest food retailer. “Luckily, we have a very strong VP of Marketing who makes sure our voice is heard with senior management.”Marketing effectiveness is a key gauge the team relies on to make its case. “For me, marketing effectiveness is about proving we can deliver a high ROI,” says Van Hove. “If we can show that we are increasing the revenue the business earns on every euro spent on marketing, the last thing they will do is cut the media budget.”

Changing price perception

Having opened its first supermarkets in 1867, today Delhaize operates hundreds of stores at the premium end of what Van Hove says is a “very competitive” €31 billion market. The current macroeconomic pressures have only increased competition between the players, as consumers change their behaviour.

After seeing customers spending less in-store earlier this year, for example, Delhaize decided to introduce more entry-priced products, expand its high-quality own-brand range, and focus on loyalty programs.

For the marketing team, this meant a significant change of tack. Previous campaigns had followed the 60/40 rule on long-term brand building and short-term performance, but the situation on the ground means that ratio is shifting towards parity. 

“It’s difficult because we’ve managed to successfully build our brand over the last five years,” says Van Hove. “Our core audience is people who want to eat premium quality food, but the reality is they were buying more basic products from our competitors than from us.”

As a result, one of this year’s key campaigns focused on changing price perception over the short term. The omnichannel “Little Lions” campaign showcased the value of 500 of Delhaize’s most purchased own-brand products. This was not without risk, says Van Hove, because “people know that we are not focused on low price traditionally”.

But the marketing team were able to frame the campaign around one of the company’s strategic growth drivers– providing inspiring, healthy, and affordable food options for all. It paid off, with a 15% increase in Little Lions product sales after just one month. The company has increased the number of products in the range to 600.“We found the sweet spot between brand positioning and the economic situation,” says Van Hove. “Now, we are trying to build a more long-term story by adding content, such as recipes, and linking it all back to how we make healthy eating affordable.”

Linking media performance to sales

To improve the effectiveness of its campaigns, Delhaize leans on market mix modelling (MMM) and attribution tools. “I always say that marketing is not an exact science, but we’re trying to base it more on facts and figures and be more analytical,” says Van Hove.

One way Delhaize is making this a reality is by using Sensor, Gain Theory’s multichannel, privacy-compliant attribution solution, in three key areas. First, in concert with its media agency, Delhaize determines an optimal plan for how and when to spend campaign budgets at a granular level, such as which channels, partners, and audiences to target.

Second, Delhaize uses it to optimize campaigns. The marketing team were struggling to understand what was working on its busy social channels, notably Facebook and Instagram, for example. Sensor was able to show which messages were having an impact on which audiences on which channel, enabling the company to make tactical, in-flight decisions. 

Third, it measures how marketing is performing in a language that senior stakeholders understand. “Sensor is the only tool I know of in Belgium that links media to sales,” says Van Hove. “In combination with MMM we have improved effectiveness every year for the past four years – during this period, ROI has increased by 60%.”

As well as providing proof that marketing is working, it has led Van Hove to something of a Holy Grail – a higher media budget in 2022 compared to 2021. While she admits it is too early to say if this will happen again in 2023, it shows that success is possible, even in a surprisingly tough market like Belgium.

Contact Gain Theory Senior Partner Sam Fellows to learn more about Sensor and other marketing effectiveness solutions.

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This article was originally published on The Drum website. Click here to view. You can listen to the related podcast ‘How are marketers balancing privacy and personalisation?’ on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Measuring the effectiveness of media campaigns over the short term continues to be a significant challenge for marketers. On the one hand, privacy regulation and changes to how tech companies manage data have rendered solutions such as multitouch attribution (MTA) obsolete. 

On the other, marketers are still under pressure to make sure every ad dollar works as hard as possible amid macroeconomic uncertainty and consumers moving into an expanding universe of digital platforms. 

The good news is there is an approach that can square this circle and deliver granular, privacy compliant insights when marketers need them.

An uneven global playing field

Although Google has again pushed back the date on which third-party cookies will be phased out in its Chrome browser, the direction of travel remains clear. Moves by the world’s largest technology companies to limit the extent to which online consumer behaviour can be tracked on their platforms demonstrate that the destination is a privacy-first world.

At the same time, regulators around the world continue to bear down on companies that do not comply with a smorgasbord of privacy legislation. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office fined a catalogue retailer £1.48 million for breaking data protection and electronic marketing laws in October, for example. 

The implications for MTA, which has promised to determine the value of each digital touchpoint an individual consumer makes on the way to a sale, are clear – it is no longer fit for purpose in a world where access to user-level data is no longer guaranteed.

But marketers remain unsure about the best way forward. While 92% of CMOs at multinational companies are prioritising an ethical approach to their use of data, half do not know what this means when it comes to the processes and practices they need to apply both internally and across their marketing supply chains, according to a World Federation of Advertisers report.

The power of granular geographic data

Access to privacy compliant data that enables all media to be measured and optimized on a timescale that gives marketers the insights to demonstrate the effectiveness of their campaigns is possible.

The glue that underpins this data is geography. Think about the delivery information that accompanies every ad placement. Whether it’s a 15-second TV commercial that runs on a particular network during a specific time slot, a digital display ad that features on a dedicated section of a website, or a paid social media campaign, each contains information about where the individual media impressions were served.

In the UK or US, for example, delivery metrics for every ad placement can be accessed at the postcode or Zip Code level. Crucially, this data does not contain personally identifiable information (PII). Unlike MTA, this means that it is compliant with data protection regulation by default. 

When you layer key KPIs, such as sales metrics, and other factors, such as local economic conditions, promotions, and weather on top, you can start to build up an accurate picture of how your campaigns are performing across a large, statistically significant number of micro-geographic areas.

What not everyone realizes is that there is relative homogeneity at a postcode or ZIP code level – in other words, there are striking similarities between people who live close to one another. This means that marketers can compare how ads resonate in micro-geographies based on key characteristics, such as age, gender, income, occupation, and more.

Want to compare how successful your paid social campaign was with high-income males in one city versus another? Geographic media delivery data combined with other privacy compliant information enables you to analyze its impact at this granular level.

Introducing foresight into your marketing strategy

But as well as providing you with hindsight about the past, these insights can also help you with present and future campaigns. Getting information in near time – via data automation and advanced modelling methods – allows us to understand performance across different geographies. This means you can optimize campaigns on the fly. If an advert is working in well in one area but not another, for example, or with one audience but not another, you could change the underperforming creative unit or pull the campaign entirely and reallocate the budget. 

By understanding audience performance across micro-geographies, you can improve who you target in the future and maximize performance. To enable this, it is important to focus on audience attributes that are buyable within programmatic media platforms. These attributes ensure that your measurement-to-insight-to-activation loop is a complete circle.

Crucially, all this can be done while using data that is compliant with a privacy-first approach to build trust with consumers. 

One global automotive manufacturer used Sensor, Gain Theory’s multichannel attribution solution, to measure and optimize across omnichannel campaigns that aimed to increase test drive numbers and, ultimately, sales of a specific vehicle. By identifying demographic attributes to target and household income filters to apply, Sensor was able to explain car-buying behaviour and media responsiveness. All told, test drives grew 18% and $56 million in incremental sales were generated.Measuring the effectiveness of media and advertising may feel like a complex and daunting prospect in the current data and privacy environment, but a tried and test approach, based on granular geographic data, can deliver improved results for advertisers and peace of mind to consumers.

Request a Sensor™ demo by contacting us here.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash.

Choosing how and when to focus advertising on different parts of the marketing funnel is a decision that all marketers face, but new data suggests a key KPI can be boosted by running ads with different objectives simultaneously on Facebook and Instagram.

Ads with different objectives – brand awareness, consideration, and performance – have a synergistic impact on one another and together can drive more sales more efficiently, according to a new report from Gain Theory, Meta, and Mindshare. Specifically, The Synergistic Impact of Multi-Objective Buying report found that:

  1. Overall, running ads with brand-based objectives alongside those with consideration-based objectives deliver a 22% increase in effectiveness when compared to a campaign without multiple objectives. Running ads with brand- and performance-based objectives together deliver an 18% increase.
  2. There are nuances depending on the sectors. For example, performance-based objectives tend to show the strongest synergies with other buying objectives in e-commerce. 
  3. There are also nuances depending on placement type. Static ads were found to be more effective across all objectives in the consumer-packaged goods sector, while video ads tend to be more effective for brand-based objectives in e-commerce and consideration-based objectives in tech. 

Download the report and read the results in full.

How we built on previous research into brand v performance

The debate about the best way to achieve long-term brand equity and short-term performance is ongoing, with this recent piece by Mark Ritson arguing that getting a single ad to do both is rare. 

Analysis undertaken in 2020 found that ads designed to drive awareness and those aimed at conversion can both drive incremental sales on Facebook and Instagram. Specifically, it found that while ads with performance-based objectives, such as direct response, drove more incremental sales overall, those with brand-based objectives, such as awareness and reach, are comparable after accounting for the cost of media.

But Gain Theory, Meta, and Mindshare wanted to understand if the combined impact of running ads with brand-, consideration-, and performance-based objectives could be greater than the impact of running the same ads individually. To find an answer, The Synergistic Impact of Multi-Objective Buying report used two different MMM methodologies across seven advertisers that spanned six verticals. Campaigns with both static and video assets were examined.

The clear result – that a multi-objective approach delivers greater value – is important at a time when marketers are under pressure to make every ad dollar work as hard as possible. 

How can brands grow sales with a synergistic approach? One way is to use a measurement tool that can identify synergies at a granular level. SensorTM, Gain Theory’s multichannel attribution solution, can provide smarter insights, faster results, and better ROI by optimizing tactics at the buying objective level on Meta platforms. 

Contact us to discuss how you can develop a synergistic model.

Photo by Sandip Kalal on Unsplash.

This article was originally published on the Ad Age website. Click here to view.

I spend a lot of time talking to marketers about how to make their media investments work harder and reduce the pressure they’re under from other stakeholders. Given current events, it’s no surprise that the need to understand their audiences better is front and center of these conversations.

In a recent article, the International Monetary Fund noted that the global economy is facing “an increasingly gloomy and uncertain outlook” amid slower growth, higher-than-expected inflation and war in Europe. The repercussions of this backdrop for consumers are profound: Their purchasing power is reduced. Marketers who are experiencing media inflation and budget cuts themselves are facing implications that are just as clear. They need more reliable and timely insights about audiences’ changing behaviors to help their organizations through these testing times.

This uncertain picture is complicated further by ongoing changes to the data economy. As two MIT Media Lab professors wrote in this Harvard Business Review article, consumer mistrust, government action and market competition are converging to force businesses to make fundamental changes to how data is sourced, managed and used. 

Unlocking faster, smarter, deeper insights

Marketers know all too well the challenges surrounding this trend. For example, from a measurement perspective, multitouch attribution tools are no longer fit for purpose in a privacy-focused world. While marketing mix modeling remains a reliable way to measure the long-term, strategic impacts of media campaigns, what’s missing is a way to measure where, when and to what extent consumers are interacting with campaigns and delivering growth over the short term.

The good news is that there is a solution to help solve this conundrum. Here at Gain Theory, we’ve developed Sensor, an innovative tool that provides deep insights about audiences that marketers can use to optimize all their media on a weekly or monthly basis.

Sensor has been delivering real-world results for several years. One multinational beverage company, which measures the relative effectiveness of its media spend across digital platforms, credited Sensor with delivering a 30% year-on-year improvement in media ROI

In addition, a global automotive manufacturer, which used Sensor to measure and optimize an omnichannel marketing campaign, saw the campaign deliver $56 million in additional revenue and a 2.5% uplift in margin.

Crucially, companies like these are benefiting from being able to measure the impact their media investments are having on audiences with privacy-compliant data. 

Want to compare how successful your paid social campaign was with high-income males in Miami versus low-income males in San Francisco? Using granular geographic data, every ad placement on every channel can be analyzed on a daily basis. It can also be combined with other data such as local weather, economic indicators and promotions to create deeper insights.

Want to know how effective your radio advertising is at driving different audience groups to shop at your online store, compared with ads served on podcasts? Thanks to cross-channel analysis, this data can be displayed on a dashboard that enables marketers to make smarter investment decisions.

Want to see if millennial moms and Gen X moms respond differently to TV ads about the same product but with different creative on two different networks? You can measure the effectiveness of ad placements at a number of levels, including creative, network and partner, to understand how each one resonates with a specific audience group at a granular level.

Three key business benefits

Having a more in-depth and timely understanding of who is interacting with your media, as well as how and when, enables you to do several important things to drive growth.

First, you can act tactically to improve ROI—for example, determining if a campaign, channel, creative or network is resonating with one audience group but not another, so you can change the one that is underperforming or reallocate the budget.

Second, you can make investment decisions more quickly by gaining access to relevant data in a matter of weeks.

Third, you can build trust by using data that is compliant with a privacy-first approach to advertising. As every marketer knows, this is now a strategic necessity.

Request a Sensor™ demo by contacting us here.

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash.

This article was originally published on the ANA website. Click here to view.

Marketing teams around the world are thinking long and hard about the “R” word. From New York to London, it’s hard to avoid stories that predict an upcoming recession. This report from the World Bank warning that the risk of a global recession in 2023 continues to rise is just one recent example.

Amid such forecasts, marketers are asking some fundamental questions as they fight to retain their budget. Conversations we’ve had with heads of growth and customer acquisition at e-commerce and direct-to-consumer brands have revealed they are under pressure from the C-suite to help them navigate the uncertain macroeconomic environment. In particular, they want to know: How will a recession impact my business? What can I do now to soften the blow?

Economic predictions, including those that aim to determine which indicators will anticipate how a specific brand is impacted by events such as a recession, are notoriously difficult to get right. But there are techniques that can be employed to help marketers prepare for what might be coming down the track.

How to estimate the impact of a downturn

For one client, Gain Theory used a “composite series” comprised of various time series selected from a wide range of economic indicators and sectors. Based on this, we were able to estimate the decline that an economic downturn between September 2022 and March 2023 would have on two KPIs – total order volume and the number of customers signing up for their service – at varying degrees of confidence.

Knowing the impact of events on key metrics is important, but it’s just as crucial to have a plan of action that enables you to mitigate any deviations from business goals and expectations from the C-suite.

Based on the modeling, we recommended our client increase their media budget in Q4 2022 and provided them with an appropriate mix of channels, partners and publishers they should target. Instead of purely focusing on growing the market, which is less realistic in the current circumstances, we put more emphasis on protecting and growing market share against targeted competitors.

The importance of using hindsight, insight and foresight

But we don’t just rely on foresight. Experience gained by working with brands during the last global recession in 2009 has informed many of Gain Theory’s recommendations to current clients. As well as knowing what the impact on a brand might be, for example, we know that shifts often happen on a consumer and segment level, which is why the right mix and distribution of the incremental budget is key.

History shows that customers who purchase less frequently and spend less on average can disappear, while others are likely to reduce either frequency or basket size. The flip side is that businesses can gain new customers who are trading down from more premium brands or are altering their behavior. Think about those consumers who, when inflation rises, move to a supermarket that offers more value brands, choose to order takeout instead of visiting a restaurant in person, or trade down from a premium spirit brand to a mid-range alternative.

To understand the impact of these different purchase behaviors, we can simulate potential scenarios. This helps to inform how to adjust media messaging, creative, promotions, and pricing strategies to maximize the potential of these changes in behavior. For example, messaging to existing customers can be tweaked to raise awareness of products that cost less or highlight promotions, free trials can be promoted to take advantage of potential new customers, and sign-up processes can be simplified to make switching quicker and easier.

Why “wait and see” is not a strategy

We understand that these are worrying times for marketers and the brands they work for. But waiting to see what will happen is not a strategy. The good news is that the proactive steps outlined above enable brands to ensure their business is in the best possible shape, whatever the economic picture looks like in the future.

Using data-informed analysis of how KPIs will be impacted and a practical plan of action to adjust marketing campaigns, ambitious brands can deliver growth even in a recession. Contact us to learn more.

A unified system fuses hindsight, insight and foresight to help manage short and long-term decision-making for an uncertain future

Planning for future uncertainty is a hot boardroom topic. It’s especially true now as we continue to deal with the fallouts from the COVID-19 pandemic: dramatic changes in customer behaviour, shifting media consumption, supply chain challenges and overall economic upheaval. 

History shows that, in times of disruption, organisational resilience depends on adaptability and decisiveness. Yet many organisations base decision making  on hindsight (understanding what happened) and insight (understanding why it happened).  



Living in a VUCA world

In a world now plagued with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (aka a “VUCA” world) – hindsight and insight are no longer sufficient to accelerate sustainable growth and gain competitive advantage. 

To quote Professor Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum: “The pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world.”

We now have an opportunity to reimagine how we manage uncertainty and navigate towards accelerated and sustainable growth. To do this, organisations need foresight. 

From uncertainty to manageable risk

Foresight takes uncertainty and turns it into manageable risk. It considers what is most and least likely to happen in the VUCA world and reveals the signposts and probabilities of them happening. 

Some fascinating examples of foresight already exist. Who would have foreseen, for example, that the Chinese e-commerce platform JD.com would outplay its competitor Alibaba by reliably delivering goods when lockdown hit (and increasing revenue by 21 per cent  in the first quarter of 2020) while Alibaba struggled to find couriers. Recruiting the right volume of couriers at the right time required foresight.

Whether it’s the shift to hybrid working, skyrocketing growth in e-commerce or chip shortages affecting the supply of new vehicles, VUCA events will continue to affect all organisations for the foreseeable future.

Scenario analysis by McKinsey shows that a single, prolonged supply-side shock would wipe out between 30 and 50 percent of one year’s earnings (EBITDA) for companies in most industries. The same study classified different types of shocks based on their impact, lead time, and frequency of occurrence, ranging from theft and common cyberattacks to pandemics and climatic events such as hurricanes. But knowing which possible events to focus on is not an easy task.  

The goal to accelerate digital transformation via online selling and marketing started in 2013 for L’Oréal. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the company was well positioned to shift ad spend online. In the first quarter to the end of March, ecommerce sales grew 53% in comparison to the previous year. L’Oréal had invested in this future lever of growth and it paid off handsomely at a time of unforeseen market upheaval. 

Diagnosis before cure

But how do you continue to make good decisions and successfully plan in a VUCA world? First, it’s important to understand what types of challenges your organisation is likely to face. Before you can cure, you must first diagnose. 

Are you facing volatility resulting from an unpredictable supply chain? Or uncertainty caused by new entrants competing with your products? Or complexity due to regulation changes? Or ambiguity raised by not knowing if the current vaccine will protect the population against new variants? Knowing the type of challenge, or combination of challenges, you face is an essential first step.

To make data-informed decisions that accelerate sustainable growth, organisations need faster, smarter, insights that are unified into a single version of the truth to understand what has happened, why it happened and what to do next.

Foresight is key to the unified version of the truth; it enables decision-makers to war-game and simulate; scenario plan and optimise; identify and track leading indicators and to understand the risk and impact of “wild card” events.

A single system for all-round future confidence

We have a unified decision-making system at Gain Theory – HiFusion – that fuses hindsight, insight, and foresight, across all sources and levers of growth, both known and unknown. It identifies long-term strategic opportunities and answers near-term tactical performance questions. 

In the HiFusion decision making system, there is a rich arsenal of foresight techniques to uncover future states of demand depending on the VUCA challenge faced: 

 Future Back Thinking: defining the desired future and then working backwards to identify the potential specific actions and signposts that connect the desired future to the present. For example, setting a target to be net zero carbon by 2030 might involve several potential actions such as planting more trees or swapping to solar power. However, the signposts, such as famine and food shortages, might indicate that planting trees is no longer an option and that we need to switch to solar power as land costs soar. 


• Delphi Method: developed by Project Rand in the 1950s, the method uses a group of experts who anonymously and repeatedly reply to questionnaires about the future, receiving feedback as a statistical representation of the group’s response. The aim is for the group response to converge after each iteration of the questionnaire, ideally resulting in consensus of expert opinion. While the overall accuracy is mixed, the method is used when looking at long-term trends in policy making and technology development.


• War Gaming Simulations: simulating different competitive settings and the impact on consumer demand. For example, the increase in demand for used vehicles during the chip shortage, depending on the duration of the shortage and the actions of competitors.

• Forecasting: projecting future events by taking signals from the past mixed with likely future states caused by internal and external factors and shocks, such as pandemics, international tension, climate change and competitor threats. For example, how will grocery evolve to meet the challenges of rising interest rates and potentially lower demand in 2022/23?


• Lead Indicators: measurable signals that provide an early warning system or prediction of what the situation could be in the future. For example, new car registrations used to be a reliable lead indicator of economic strength and consumer propensity to spend. But in the face of supply constraints, how reliable is this indicator today?


• Scenario Planning: making assumptions on what the future is likely to be and how your business performance might be affected, for the purpose of creating a more robust strategy. Often scenarios are run under “what if?” assumptions to work out the best possible path. For example, looking at the impact on both short and long-term sales and profit resulting from pulling all advertising in the final quarter of the year.

 Trend Analysis: collecting qualitative and quantitative information to spot patterns or new trends, and thus paint an indicative picture of what might happen. These trends can often be used later in scenarios. For example, Wunderman Thompson’s “The Future 100: 2022” which forecasts 100 trends to watch in the coming year or GroupM’s “This Year Next Year” forecast of ad spend, used to augment media response curves in future marketing campaigns.

By fusing hindsight, insight and foresight, HiFusion enables organisations to identify future sources of growth and give confidence to decision-making across all levers of growth. It enables organisations to invest in the right data sources, technology, and methods to confidently answer questions around: 

• the role of brand equity and customer experience in maintaining price resilience

• the short and long-term impact of investments

• drivers of customer choices and product trade-offs 

• identifying and tracking signals that provide an early warning system

• targeting new audiences based on their motivation

• acquiring new customers in a cookie-less world of walled gardens

• conducting complex multi-test-and-learn experiments at scale

• preventing customer churn

• growing spend from existing customers by making the right recommendations

• …and, ultimately, judging correctly what is likely to happen in the future.


HiFusion creates a holistic loop to support strategic decision-making by weaving foresight, insight and hindsight across time horizons and a range of stakeholders. It unifies tactical execution, plus annual and longer-term strategic planning into a single measurement system. 

In a VUCA world, navigating the range of future possibilities to accelerate sustainable growth requires an organisation to invest with confidence. Foresight gives us the ability to manage uncertainty and, ultimately, create and tap into future states of consumer demand. 

By knowing tomorrow, we can disrupt today. 

This article was originally published in Campaign – click here or download the PDF on this page.

In our fifth episode of our Ask the Experts series titled “Agile Decision Making”, Claudia Sestini, Global CMO of Gain Theory, discusses best practices and advice for being agile in the face of changing priorities with a full panel of industry experts.

With regards to measuring marketing efficacy at speed, Claudia Sestini asks:

“With a greater focus on e-commerce sales channels now, should marketers pivot media strategy to drive digital footfall?”

Panel Guests:

Georgia Thodey, Head of Brand and Media Planning at NatWest Group

Matt Hill, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox

Matt Chappell, Senior Partner at Gain Theory

Key Takeaways:

  • Digital is the key destination, so it’s important to ensure brands are there, easy to find, and easy to navigate as customers are searching.
  • Digital is the end destination for sales; however, a customer’s journey doesn’t necessarily start there.
  • Consumers begin to consider purchase decisions before the sale, so when planning media strategy, marketers need to focus on the principles: build awareness, build consideration, and keep your brand top of mind.
  • Give people a reason to talk about your brand by putting the right message in front of the right customers in the right place at the right time and in the right context.
  • Customers are fulfilling purchases digitally, but a brand’s advertising needs to create mental availability and put your message everywhere your customers are consuming the media—whether online or offline—particularly during lockdown.
  • Using 2020 as an example, the same principles for media strategy still apply. Overall, the advice is to find where your customers are consuming their media and place the right messages to them in those places at the right time. This year in particular, we have all spent a lot of time at home, so investment in OOH advertisements has fallen.

Other topics addressed in the “Agile Decision Making” Ask the Experts Session: 

To stream the full video click here.  

In our fifth episode of our Ask the Experts series titled “Agile Decision Making”, Claudia Sestini, Global CMO of Gain Theory, discusses best practices and advice for being agile in the face of changing priorities with a full panel of industry experts.

With regards to measuring marketing efficacy at speed, Claudia Sestini asks:

“Econometrics will always be the main stable of any marketing effectiveness toolkit for measurement. What other approaches can marketers leverage for increased agile decision-making as they look to course correct?“

Panel Guests:

Georgia Thodey, Head of Brand and Media Planning at NatWest Group

Matt Hill, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox

Matt Chappell, Senior Partner at Gain Theory

Key Takeaways:

  • Prior to the pandemic, the variables of marketing measurement and effectiveness were relatively known, allowing optimization and forecasting with confidence. Now, we’re experiencing a world where marketers need to use the existing models and data we have and to embrace scenario planning.
  • 2020 scenario planning has involved new marketing investment parameters to analyze at what point effectiveness begins to decrease with increased spend. This lets marketers know when to reduce advertising to a level of optimal effectiveness per spend, which both requires and enables marketers to increase agility in their planning.
  • The scenario planning tactic is less about methodology and more about how agile marketers can use the data to look forward and make quicker decisions. There is an increased push for utilizing dashboards and platforms that bring results to marketers’ fingertips quickly, without the need for a lengthy econometrics reports.
  • Free tools like the Demand Generator from Thinkbox are useful to gain insight and help marketers make faster, informed decisions.
  • Consultancy backed decision making platforms such as Gain Theory interactive can also bring to life tactical decision making across creative, geography, market and much more.

Other topics addressed in the “Agile Decision Making” Ask the Experts Session: 

To stream the full video click here.  

In our fifth episode of our Ask the Experts series titled “Agile Decision Making”, Claudia Sestini, Global CMO of Gain Theory, discusses best practices and advice for being agile in the face of changing priorities with a full panel of industry experts.

With regards to how TV advertising is changing for more agile decision-making, Claudia Sestini asks:

“Globally, people have watched a tremendous amount of television this year. For marketers, consumer demand has been constantly changing, which requires a flexible media plan. The perception is that TV doesn’t allow for that level of agility…or does it? “

Panel Guests:

Georgia Thodey, Head of Brand and Media Planning at NatWest Group

Matt Hill, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox

Matt Chappell, Senior Partner at Gain Theory

Key Takeaways:

  • During global lockdown and stay at home orders, with more time spent at home and fewer daily commutes, people chose to watch more linear television and on-demand programming.
  • Several larger brands have been making the most of advertising during this period where demand (and cost) for television advertising has been low, while viewership has been high.
  • However, because Covid diminished marketers’ guarantee of securing television advertisements with the right quality, timing, and programming, broadcasters removed the penalties for the late-booking deadline to afford marketers more agility.
  • Marketers have appreciated this nimble structure, desiring to continue the reduced booking period beyond the pandemic. With shorter booking windows, more marketers can utilize television advertisements instead of using their funding across other typically agile platforms, like Facebook or Google.
  • The drawback to this ‘new’ booking deadline structure, is that TV advertising is finite with a limited number of spots and programming. Broadcasters are not allowed to increase or decrease the minutes of advertisements; it is regulated by the government in the UK. Due to these limitations, the risk with more agile options is that the preferred programs and spots may ultimately not be available when marketers are ready to book.

“How has the TV industry pivoted to accommodate these new agile decision-making needs? How are TV networks dealing with unpredictable programming, where some shows may not be greenlit for production to continue filming and making new episodes?”

  • TV production was hit hard due to Covid, limiting some options for programming. However, some shows were able to create production ‘bubbles’, with cast and crew leaving their friends and family for a few months to film safely. This was a step beyond what most broadcasters were willing to take.
  • For broadcasters, the loss of revenue due to drop of demand for advertising in certain sectors leveled out because there were not as many shows or programs to spend on this season. Broadcasters were able to save up and reallocate those budgets for new programming in 2021.
  • Broadcasters have been forced to be as agile as marketers, coming up with new formats and new programs to keep their schedules as strong as possible in lieu of new show content. There may ultimately be new formats that spring out of this time of ingenuity and creativity due to Covid.

Other topics addressed in the “Agile Decision Making” Ask the Experts Session: 

To stream the full video click here.  

In our fifth episode of our Ask the Experts series titled “Agile Decision Making”, Claudia Sestini, Global CMO of Gain Theory, discusses best practices and advice for being agile in the face of changing priorities with a full panel of industry experts.

With regards to pivoting marketing strategy at the right pace and place, Claudia Sestini asks:

“What examples of agility have you seen this year and what advice do you have for marketers to become more agile in the coming months?”

Panel Guests:

Georgia Thodey, Head of Brand and Media Planning at NatWest Group

Matt Hill, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox

Matt Chappell, Senior Partner at Gain Theory

Key Takeaways:

Know your fundamentals: know your goals, know your strategy, and know when/how to say, “no” to ensure you stay on the correct path and are able to move nimbly in the right direction.

“Covid” advertising examples:

  • The best Covid-related advertising examples this year were created by brands that have clear brand structures, brand identities, and distinctive assets during “normal” times – and have managed to mold their Covid communications around those brand basics to reflect the new reality in our evolving “new normal”.
  • Some brands were already well-poised and well-spoken about caring for their communities prior to the pandemic, which allowed them to perform even better and more authentically during these times where CSR and a brand focus on giving back to support communities is important to consumers.

Other topics addressed in the “Agile Decision Making” Ask the Experts Session: 

To stream the full video click here.  

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