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  • Sophie Langton & Ben Petremont

1+1=3 when it comes to multichannel

Updated: Jun 5, 2022


Here at Spark Foundry, planning and analytics work hand-in-hand.


To demonstrate how this comes to life, Ben Petremont (Head of Analytics) and Sophie Langton (National Group Planning Director) sat down with Google to talk about multichannel planning and measurement.



We had a lot to say on the subject – more than could be contained in a single article. For that reason, we’re here to provide you with some behind-the-scenes content. Below, we share our thoughts on:

  • How brands can make smart media decisions

  • The importance of collaboration between media and creative

  • How to tell a consistent brand story

  • Recommendations for the complexity and frequency of your measurement

  • Our approach to marketing mix modelling, including some of the most surprising takeaways


How brands can make smart media decisions


There’s no one size fits all solution for the most effective channel mix. But there are things you can do to be smarter in your selection.


To make smart media investments, you need intelligence. Intelligence being your ability to acquire and apply different sources of knowledge and skills. How smart you can be is predicated on the things you can connect.


The more you can connect data, creativity, tools and people – the smarter your marketing (not just your media) will be. Importantly, it’s about more than just clever tools and detailed models – it takes smart people to interpret the outputs and take the right course of action.


People are great connectors. Having a trusting and collaborative relationship between the agency and the advertiser facilitates open sharing. Having inquisitive people on both ends means that you can find brilliant nuggets of information and think of different ways of doing things.


It’s this kind of analysis that helps inform our plans. With visibility of all the factors influencing the business outcome, you can understand the real drivers of consideration and conversion.


At Spark Foundry, we don’t have a one size fits all solution for clients. Our integrated analytics team works with our strategists and planners to create a custom solution for each client that best leverages their available data and delivers on the intended outcome.


This provides a single source of truth for planning and measurement and is grounded in the client’s business data – not just media metrics. It means we can easily measure the impact of media on sales and identify and implement new opportunities with confidence.



The importance of collaboration between media and creative


The greater the connection and collaboration the better the outcome. Media and message should always be complementary to each other. By connecting our skillsets, it becomes a case of 1+1=3.


Everyone wants to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time – but sometimes we fall short. We fall short when we don’t connect the medium and the message. If the message doesn’t suit the medium, then it will never work. Every message needs to be tailored to the environment to attract an audience’s attention and drive action.


Those channel-specific messages then need to ladder up into a single-minded campaign idea. There needs to be a red thread running through all elements of the campaign – across paid, earned and owned.


Even within media agencies, there needs to be that cohesive red thread running through all specialisms. There needs to be a connection between strategy, data & analytics, detailed implementation planning, activation and measurement & optimisation. The red thread ensures that the strategy is seamlessly executed. Strategy without the people and the products to deliver is just an expensive Powerpoint deck!


The more connection you can drive, the greater the campaign outcome will be.


How to tell a consistent brand story


To be consistent, you need to consider the whole picture. Start with the outcome, and plan from the inside out. Channels can be single-minded in achieving an outcome along the path to purchase, but they all need to ladder up to a connected campaign architecture.


  • What’s the red thread that is connecting all elements of the campaign?

  • What’s the connection between paid, earned and owned?

  • Is there an intended action and measure of success for every step of the journey?

The red thread is important because it helps control how your brand shows up in-market. It ensures that people get the full picture. We like to think of it as people viewing an elephant through a series of different windows. Without access to the full picture, your understanding of what you’re seeing is limited.



Recommendations for the complexity and frequency of your measurement


The complexity and frequency of your analysis should reflect the metric you are measuring.

Having access to granular data isn’t a luxury anymore. What is becoming a luxury is meaningful analysis and relevant recommendations. Not all outcomes are instantaneous and, for that reason, our obsession with real-time data can be problematic. For longer-term outcomes, early and high frequency interrogations may often be counterproductive and lead to short-termism.


For bigger picture projects like econometrics, generally you should aim for three years of rolling data. But, again, the amount of data depends on what you are trying to achieve.


If you expect to see results in the short term, then you can look to run lighter and downsized versions of the analysis. Ensure you are using 3-6 months of data at a minimum, and continue to validate with more data points over time.



Our approach to marketing mix modelling, including some of the most surprising takeaways


Data analysis sits at the heart of our business. Early on, we made the decision to invest in our analytics capability as an agency in order to measure the efficacy of our strategy and planning.


Econometrics is a key capability for our in-house team for a number of reasons:


  1. Econometrics is an iterative process – it requires constant inputs from the agency and client

  2. Proximity to these inputs drastically increases the relevancy and value of the outcome

    • Assumptions are inevitable in econometrics. This is an intrinsic part of the process, and this is completely fine as long as you are able to explain each and every one of them. Distance makes it harder to contextualise the nuances and can endanger the trust in the model’s outcomes.

    • Proximity ensures that those running the model are easily able to explain every change, any outlier, every consideration, and any assumptions in the hypothesis.

    • It also ensures the recommendations are more likely to be taken on board and implemented.

The outcomes for every model are different. The key findings are typically unique to a client or category – but there is one consistent outcome and that is the interplay between broadcast and activation channels. Marketing theory tells us that we should target the total available market to make activation more efficient and effective overall. Econometrics validates that theory using our clients’ data.


It has also helped inform how our planners approach geographic prioritisation. We know that it is a perfectly sound decision to concentrate your media investment into areas of population density i.e. the capital cities or just the Eastern Seaboard.


However, we have proven that population density isn’t always the best indicator of opportunity. We’ve seen the value for those clients that are willing to test the value of smaller and more remote markets. With a relatively low cost of entry, they often represent an opportunity of disproportionate value to your business.


Econometrics has also taught us the importance of simplicity. Albert Einstein said, "If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself". Econometrics should be about a democratisation of data: the more people who understand the model, the more likely they are to take on the learnings and drive positive outcomes. Drop the jargon, keep it simple and make it understandable.


And, finally, remove your blinkers – this isn’t just about media. Many other factors will have a far greater impact on business outcomes. Use the modelling as a chance to understand what those factors are and plan accordingly.


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