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The World Turned Upside Down: How the Best Companies are Finding Success in Uncertain Times

July 24, 2020


The cast of Lin Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” had it right when they sang “The World Turned Upside Down” on screens across America earlier this month.  In the last seven months, society has certainly been turned on its head, and the world of marketing has not been spared. From Apple’s announcement limiting the IDFA to the major shifts in human behavior and consumer preferences brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are struggling to stay afloat. Yet as we move beyond the initial stage of the crisis, many companies are still finding success, and some are even thriving in a time that has brought many others to their knees. What are successful companies doing to increase their ROI, accelerate growth and thrive even in the most uncertain of times? Below are four key strategies for success and the resulting measured business impact that is allowing brands to adapt and evolve to thrive:

 

  1. A Holistic, Omnichannel Approach

Changes in data availability, like Google’s removal of third party cookies and Apple’s recent limiting of the IDFA are only strengthening the position for a shift to a more holistic, unified measurement approach, such as Commercial Mix Modeling. One innovator in the electronics industry had been working with siloed analytics and sales channels and realized the reality of their advertising impact was not clear. Understanding which channels and solutions worked best and where meant uncovering areas of untapped opportunity by creating a true omnichannel view. This comprehensive view identified top drivers of efficiency for both ecommerce and Brick and Mortar. In combination with the right information at the right time for key decision windows to impact growth, this holistic framework led to a 75% growth in ROI on spending, a 92% improvement in digital ROI and a 2x budget increase.

 

  1. Planning for The Future

Even amid uncertainty, planning is key for maximizing the impact of marketing. One international food & beverage company focused on advanced but nimble planning to avoid getting caught up in moment-to-moment uncertainty. That forward thought created the opportunity for buy-in with stakeholders and allowed for key touchpoints for education, socialization, and validation before key planning windows. The resulting collaboration allowed for the latest business realities to be built into analysis and provided opportunities to build organizational trust as well as deeper context for the results. By engaging and planning across functions, they have been able to drive adoption of data-driven decisioning across the organization and as a result, have realized a +27% improvement in ROI and $47M in incremental revenue on their commercial investment in just one year.

 

  1. Agile Learning & Decisioning

While some might see planning and agility as mutually exclusive, the most successful companies combine them into a cohesive strategy. Brands should consider the likelihood of needing to adapt their original plan based the environment of the marketplace. While no one could have predicted the impacts of COVID-19, the companies who have thrived in the face of the pandemic have been able to adapt to the changes in the market as it evolves on a monthly, weekly and sometimes daily basis.

 

This agility can be achieved through testing and learning, using tools like Agile Learning, a test and learn tool for designing experiments for accurate and fast validations of a wide range of hypotheses. For brands with complex campaign structures, it is important to dive deeply into campaign-based insights to react quickly and optimize. One client, a Restaurant brand, leveraged Analytic Partners’ PROPHET, the decisioning module of our GPS Enterprise platform to do this. PROPHET allows for model based intelligent planning and optimization that incorporates unique business dynamics, multiple KPIs, and complex campaign structures. Using PROPHET the client identified over $50 million in sales improvement across calendar scenario evaluations, campaign decision impacts, campaign windows timing, and media budget allocation.

 

  1. Cross-functional Buy-In and Collaboration

Regardless of which agility tool a company utilizes, readiness for the adoption of insights is paramount. A Telco/Media company found that cross-departmental buy-in was critical for a strong foundation on which to build their measurement program. Collaboration between their team, Analytic Partners and their other trusted partners allowed the client to embed the analysis into the planning processes and provide for quick pivots as needed. Open communication across all the stakeholders enabled streamlined processes and actionability on the insights and recommendations. These recommendations led to a double digit increase in overall marketing efficiency within the first six months, to be followed by longer term shifts for future gains within one year of the engagement. Furthermore, insights from Commercial Mix Modeling provided the client with the evidence needed to support a 20% increase in overall marketing budget.

 

Knowing where to apply these learnings to your own brand can be can create tremendous opportunities for growth. The latest ROI Genome Intelligence Report: Insights to Accelerate Growth: Scenario Plan for Future Success highlights how business leaders can maximize their potential and set themselves up for success by using data to take the bias out of future planning. Access the report to take a close look at how companies who adopt data-driven scenario planning drive growth at least 5x greater than companies who do not.

 

  • - Maggie Merklin, EVP

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