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C HA N NEL P LANN IN G00 FOCUS M ULT I- CHA N NE L STRAT EG Y A game of chess Evaluating how a multi-channel strategy will perform is a bit like predicting the outcome of a chess game, but there are methods to aid the measurement process By Scott Thomson, Naked T wenty years ago, world chess champion Anatoly Karpov, who was generally recognised as the best tournament player in the game’s history and a pillar of Soviet sport, visited Glasgow. Dodging the ‘attractions’ of an industrial town in recession, he got straight down to business and took on a dozen of Scotland’s top chess players in simultaneous games. One of these challengers was my older brother, just shy of his 21st birthday, and, can often reflect a default, lazy set of choices Everyone is under pressure time-wise to as our new national champion, eagerly made. Which is a bit like channel planning demonstrate results now, as well as later, awaited his chance to go toe-to-toe with ‘the nowadays. while it is increasingly difficult to provide Muhammad Ali’ of his chosen sport. For him, So what is it that drives the successful both reach and relevant regular content for as the underdog, things were either: going market leaders of their time, like Karpov, to disparate audiences in a cost-effective way. to go very badly very quickly; or, with some make a series of well-informed and successful Given this, it is essential to ensure that sustained effort, could turn into a battle of channel decisions in complex environments; we have the right kind of measurement attrition that he would find difficult to win; and if you are a challenger, how do you framework in place to inform these difficult or, with a bit of timely innovative creativity, choose the best and timeliest route to market choices, and I believe there are three levels to there was a strong possibility that it could to gain a sustainable foothold? the challenge, each with their own evolving go extremely well, given that Karpov had a In the world of 21st century marketing, issues. The first is measuring the effectiveness number of other games to distract him. there are frustrations on all sides of the of past channel usage (with the challenges He also had to wrestle with a monumental challenger/leader spectrum. If you are a of the range of new options available, their feat of analysis, given the number of things leading brand, with a history of sustained (but interactions, and data availability). The second that can happen on a chessboard (10 to under-threat) support, the list of appropriate is making sure this is done in a way that is in the power of 120 unique possible games, channel options is increasingly under scrutiny. line with the often very new objectives and according to ‘Shannon’s number’). If you are If you are a challenger brand with limited contexts that brands face (with the challenge playing different games simultaneously, are funds, the windows of opportunity for a killer of ensuring relevance and ‘not stifling having a bad day, or are confused by the creative intervention, while often seemingly innovation’). And, thirdly, ensuring we build number of options you face, the outcome frequent, can be fleeting and unsustainable. a ‘feedback loop’ between any learning and A D MAP J ANUA RY 201 1
CH A N NE L P LA NN I N G 35 MU LTI - CH AN N E L S T RAT E GYmodern planning processes going forward This kind of two-dimensional filtering(with the challenges around the speed of FIGURE 1 of options is a critical first step for thosefeedback, and new types of client behaviour). Measurement framework needing to move away from incremental Put simply, it is not only about making changes, and towards making real step-shiftssure you have ‘best-in-class’ measurement in channel planning behaviour. Ultimatelyin place, but also that it is ‘innovation- though, it is all about organisations andfriendly’, and in line with existing and Best in class implementation. Just as a chess player can be measurementemerging client processes. paralysed by over-analysis, we have to also make sure that whatever we do finds a homeBEST-IN-CLASS MEASUREMENT within the ‘behavioural DNA’ of modern Best in class Need for Need for client organisations.The average IPA Effectiveness Award uses innovation for Need measurement speedseven channels, but the number of available innovation ORGANISATIONALLY FRIENDLYcommunications channels is somewherenorth of 100, dependent on how you classify Last year, in conjunction with Booz & Co,digital options. While there is generally a lot we tried to find out what makes modernmore behavioural data available, we are not marketing organisations tick. Some 400 FIGURE 2yet – and probably never will be – dealing leading marketers participated in our Two-dimensional filtering of optionswith perfect data sets that help us to gauge review, covering multiple sectors andthe efficacy of all of these. geographies. We were primarily focused But nor do chess players deal with ‘perfect +$ on three key areas – measurement and Consider Maintain ordata sets’. They don’t (and physically can’t) analytics, their approach to innovation, and dropping increase‘compute’ all options and permutations $ in order to investment in their need for speed. In effect, we sampledin front of them. Instead, they deal with fund these channels their ‘marketing DNA’. The analysedthe imperfections of memory and pattern new channels What was clear from the results was that, returns from $recognition and learning. Which is fine if you channels while analytics and diligent processes arehave nothing to lose but your sporting pride, already used as key as they have always been, two things $but not so good if you are investing millions in the past Drop in Keep these were most likely to currently keep marketersagainst a campaign. order to fund channels but awake at night – the need for speed/quick $ new channels look for So, we have to leverage imperfect feedback, and the need for innovative efficiency gainsapproaches to such econometric regression approaches to market that take full advantageanalysis as far as the data allows us to. -$ of opportunities that arise.Alternative bottom-up approaches, such as 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 The type of measurement required forthe agent-based modelling championed by The degree of channel imporrtance someone who wants feedback immediatelyoutfits such as Atapa, can be used to attempt in relation to agreed future objectives from a range of small, innovative steps is veryto model ‘real-world behaviour’ inclusive Source: Naked different from the types of diligent analyticalof word-of-mouth effects and propagation. processes required for someone who makesEither way, it can be very hard to strip big informed but limited channel decisions.out discrete and complete channel effects, to situational analysis is his or her ability to There is a need for our industryespecially when all elements of a campaign do two things. The first demands memory, generally to begin to approach channelare running together, which of course is the second demands a healthy mental map measurement and planning in a way thatwhere ‘testing and learning’ can be useful. of the mechanics of the board and all of the increasingly deals with those who demand But, what if you are a challenger brand individual agents involved (or in marketing speed of learning. In the same way thatwith a far poorer level of ‘historical learning’, speak, ‘an understanding of the marketplace there was a need for both Anatoly Karpovand what if you are looking for something and the behavioural economics in play’). and my brother to iteratively learnleft-field enough to give you some timely To avoid stifling innovation, it is important quickly from the many small, initially failedtraction, or you are faced with a situation to develop a category-specific approach to attempts each made to gain an advantageso unique, like a sudden powerful brand akin channel planning that taps into available past on that chessboard.to a Russian grand-master, and you have learning, but also incorporates the current Karpov didn’t lose a single game that day,nothing to draw on? consensus on how a given market functions finishing off the last of his opponents around and how consumers are likely to respond to midnight. But he did make a number of offersFUTURE-PROOF CHANNEL PLANS different types of ‘as-yet-untried’ approaches. of a draw, and only one of those offers was A number of years ago, it was this kind flatly refused in no uncertain terms. HowAn over-reliance on diligent historical of thinking that led Naked to develop our often do you get a chance to tell the worldanalytics can be dangerous when dealing ‘Big Tool’ approach to channel planning champion of your sport to bugger off?with any radical changes in objectives or new that, when used in conjunction with ROIenvironments (as anyone looking at ‘pre versus analytics, helps us make sure that we are more on channelpost’ 2008 economic crisis data will tell you). simultaneously learning from the past as well planning at The key to a good chess player’s approach as future-proofing channel recommendations. www.warc.com A DMAP JANUARY 20 11