Foot Traffic + Purchase: The PB&J of Attribution

By Lindsey DiGiorgio, VP of Marketing for NinthDecimal 

For some marketers, “measurement” comes down to one number, a single measure of ROI that determines whether a campaign was successful or not. The vast majority of marketers, however, know that measurement and attribution are valuable for more than just proving ROI. Together they can deliver valuable campaign lifecycle insights, helping marketers find ways to increase campaign effectiveness and drive quality engagement.

By using valuable datasets together, it’s possible to apply attribution across the entire customer journey, rather than analyzing success at a static moment in time. Consider the standard marketing funnel, driving consumers from awareness to interest to consideration to purchase. Do you know where your potential customers are falling off the path? What can your marketing do to encourage them to ultimately convert?

Strength in Numbers

Both foot traffic data and purchase data are incredibly valuable as attribution tools, helping marketers understand which tactics, messages, and strategies drove people to visit stores or make purchases. But these data sets are even stronger together. Think of the insight you can glean when:

·       Your campaign drove incremental foot traffic, but no incremental purchases:

o   In this scenario, you know that your marketing efforts are driving people to change their behavior, but there’s something blocking them from ultimately purchasing. Use this as an opportunity to discover what that barrier is. For example, is your advertised product properly stocked at the target stores? Do you need to adjust your in-store promotion tactics? Or is this an opportunity to improve personnel training?

·       Your campaign drove incremental revenue, but no incremental foot traffic:

o   In this case, your marketing was successful at driving purchases – but it may have been limited to existing customers. For example, your ad may not have encouraged a weekly grocery store visitor to visit, say, twice per week, but it may have inspired them to increase their basket size. Use this insight to target different messages to loyal customers vs. lapsed visitors.

You’ll note that in both examples, the marketer can measure not only visits and purchases associated with people who saw the ad, but which ones were directly attributable to the advertising. The concept of “incrementality” is vital to attribution, allowing marketers to more confidently understand causality – how did your advertising actually change consumer behavior?

With full, closed loop insights into campaign performance, from exposure to store visit to purchase, you no longer need to guess the effect of your advertising. And you won’t need to extrapolate engagement metrics (like click-through rate, which has long been proven not to correlate with actual business impact) to measure the value of your marketing programs.

At NinthDecimal, we’ve been rapidly evangelizing the benefits of foot traffic attribution (Location Conversion Index®) to the market and our clients. We’re thrilled that, through our partnership with Affinity Solutions, we can provide an even more robust measurement package that allows for a full view of marketing performance.

Check out our joint webinar on Full-Funnel Attribution.


About Lindsey DiGiorgio

Lindsey is VP of Marketing for NinthDecimal and has a passion for product marketing and data. Previously, DiGiorgio worked at Neustar, directing all media and advertising marketing initiatives, and AudienceScience, managing field marketing. She has also held sales roles in digital media at Adknowledge and Comcast. DiGiorgio holds an MBA in Marketing and Brand Management from Lund University in Sweden and B.S. degrees in Natural Resources and Business from the University of Vermont.

Kantar Shopcom and Affinity Solutions Partner to Offer a Smarter Way for Marketers to Connect and Engage with Customers

We announced a new partnership with Kantar Shopcom that will offer brand marketers and agencies a better way to conduct cross-screen media planning, targeting and closed-loop measurement. This is made possible through the integration of Affinity Solutions’ Purchase-Driven Marketing Cloud, which provides Shopcom with the power to leverage past individual-level purchase data (unlike other solutions offering only aggregated cohort-level purchase data) to help brands and advertisers make future spend predictions, and measure overall sales lift and revenue impact from both in-store and online channels.

“We are thrilled to partner with Affinity Solutions to create and offer the most precise retailer brand digital and mobile solutions in the marketplace,” said Jen Bukich, VP of Strategic Partnerships & Business Development of Kantar Shopcom. “Having the power to understand consumers’ purchase behavior gives advertisers the intelligence to make better decisions and improve marketing spend ROI.”

Kantar Millward Brown is the first partner to use the joint offering. The solution will allow their clients to monitor live campaigns to understand better how the advertising is performing at reaching buyers of their brands. The solution also helps Kantar Millward Brown expand upon existing capabilities that link brand attitudes to sales so that a client can identify the brand metrics that drive sales and optimize in real-time on those metrics.

Purchase-Driven Marketing Cloud to Deliver New Level of Intelligence and Transparency Between Marketing and Revenue Generation

We are pleased to announce that we have launched our Purchase-Driven Marketing Cloud, which provides key insights from the continuous, real-time discovery of an individual’s purchase patterns online and offline, to identify, reach, and influence likely buyers at their precise ‘moments of choice’, as well as to measure and optimize the sales impact of marketing campaigns. This gives marketers the ability to deliver unique and engaging experiences throughout the customer journey - from discovery to purchase to loyalty - to maximize and increase customer lifetime engagement and value.

By leveraging Affinity Solutions Purchase-Driven Marketing Cloud, a large home improvement national retailer identified and targeted in-market customers planning home renovations within 30 days and witnessed an increase in sales of nearly 87 percent.

“In this highly competitive, data-driven marketing economy, the world is hyper-connected, and consumers are constantly distracted. The sheer magnitude of options for today’s always-on consumer makes it difficult for marketers to get their attention, let alone engage them," said Jonathan Silver, CEO, and founder, Affinity Solutions. “The Affinity Solutions Purchase-Driven Marketing Cloud will help marketers solve the very difficult challenge of bridging their customers' always-on, connected behavior with the offline world.”

The product suite consists of Affinity Solutions Spend Insights, Buyer Graph, and Closed Loop Measurement; and combines machine learning with individual-level (not cohort) purchase-based data to deliver a new world of real-time marketing applications. This enables marketers to zero in on the potential customers most likely to buy their products in the near term, as well as generate the highest proven ROI directly attributable to explicit marketing actions.  Through real-time API access, the product suite can be seamlessly integrated into existing media buying, marketing intelligence, and CRM applications, empowering marketers to serve relevant marketing communications and promotional offers to prospective customers throughout their buying journey and across all channels.

Next Generation Card-Linked Offers: Cardlinx Forum Presentation

Our Jonathan Silver (Founder, CEO) and Amit Seth (President) shared their thoughts on the future of Card-Linked Offers (CLO) at the CardLinx "Internet of Commerce Things" Forum in San Francisco on October 13, 2016. They focused on the three steps critical to driving Retailer Engagement, and required to overcome the challenges inherent in today's CLO framework. You can download a copy of the presentation here.

Data Driven Marketing: A Value Driving Opportunity

The following is adapted from an article submitted to the National Venture Capital Association, for publication in their newsletter...

US Marketers will spend over $127 billion on measured media advertising in 2016, and another $164 billion on direct and digital marketing. Both figures are up meaningfully from the prior year. Deal activity in the MarTech space surged recently to $16.4 billion, as major players such as Oracle, Adobe, and jockey to fill gaps in their portfolios. That total doesn’t even count the $26.2B that Microsoft spent acquiring LinkedIn.

Data-driven Marketing firms are riding these economic waves toward value creation. They grow by helping marketers to be more productive in their spending, and are finding welcoming arms among industry heavyweights that covet their IP, technology, teams, and market presence.

This generational trend, still in its early stages, is being driven by the confluence of the need to prove and improve the efficacy of all that marketing spending, and the emergence of big data technology tools able to derive actionable insights from myriad sources of information on consumer spending and behavior. Marketing technology spending at this intersection is predicted by IDC to increase from over $20B in 2014, to $32B in 2018.

This is great stuff for entrepreneurs and venture investors.

Add to all that the rich opportunities for continued innovation in both technology and business models, and the investment case for data-driven marketing enterprises is clear. The challenge? Fighting through all the buzz, clutter, and market noise in what’s become a crowded space. Let’s see where to look…

Where’s the Market?

Just about any B2C or B2B2C company doing business here can benefit from real-time insights into the behavior of America’s consumers. Rendered in actionable form, these insights can inform not only marketing decisions, but guide strategy and execution across the enterprise.

That said, at present we’re finding the most attractive opportunities in National Retail and Consumer Brand categories, among the largest spenders on marketing and promotion (discounts, an expense for retailers more than double the advertising figures cited above, with efficacy just as tough to prove). Not only do they spend big, they are all fighting through the disruptive effects of e-commerce. As a result, they are in critical need of marketing tools that operate across and between brick-and-mortar, online, and mobile channels.

Affinity’s business model creatively connects these marketers with the financial institutions that, in seeking to deliver benefits to their consumers, are the source of consumer spending data sets.

We also see great opportunity among market watchers, insurance providers, and government agencies: all interested in understanding consumer trends.

What are the Use Cases?

Its use cases are as diverse as its market opportunities, but the Data-driven Marketing solutions we’re focused on include, principally:

·      Insights–The derivation and presentation of fact-based and actionable insights to guide decisions on product, pricing, promotion, channel, geography, and more. These provide marketers with the ability to spot and act on both challenges and opportunities in their competitive market spaces.

·      Precision-targeting–The ability to deliver tuned marketing and promotional messages to “the right consumer, at the right time, through the right channels.” The key: to go beyond traditional demographic-based segments and audiences by identifying, based on their spending actions, exactly who is in market, right now, for the product or service being marketed, and reach them with the highest possible impact, through the right channel. Brooks Robinson, the CEO of Springbot puts it well, “…most importantly, targeted and timely marketing drives more conversions.”

·      Measurement and Attribution– “I know that I waste half the money I spend on advertising, I just don’t know which half,” complained John Wanamaker, the founder of the eponymous department store chain over a century ago. Well, Mr. Wanamaker, we do know today, since we can connect marketing actions to revenue outcomes, even across channels, with greater precision than ever before possible.

Who will be the Winners?

Warren Buffet frames this question around “castles” and “moats.” (Economic engines, protected by sustainable advantages.) Let’s follow his lead…

How to spot a “Castle” in this Space?

The most attractive businesses in data-driven marketing will have some combination of the following:

·      Long-term, sticky customer relationships–You can’t win business here without the trust that’s involved in handling sensitive data sets. Once won, that trust turns into solid partnerships.

·      Recurring Revenue Streams–Those partnerships are often built around predictable and recurring, subscription-based revenue streams.

·      Open Platform, Partner Leverage–We believe a winning formula to be the creation of an open product platform, and partner-friendly go-to-market policies, which together create strong operating leverage.

Now, about protecting your castle…

What about the “Moat”?

Of course this will vary from company to company, reflecting their various strategies. In Affinity Solutions’ case, we’re relying on our unique combination of assets, and deep experience in a challenging business to protect the value we’re creating.

We enjoy unprecedented access and usage rights to consumer spending data. We’ve developed powerful analytics tools to pull insights from that data, and a secure and scalable technology platform to apply them. Finally, we’ve earned trusted relationships with leading players all around the ecosystem, and have the depth of experience gained over the past twelve years of doing business with them. Not easy to cross that moat…

Key Learnings

Wrapping up, some notes that should be of value to entrepreneurs and their backers:

·      Relationships matter in this business. You’re dealing with sensitive data, with the potential of not just gain by, but possible reputational risk to others.

·      As my friend, Tom Hawkins, founder and Managing Partner of Forté Ventures notes, “Multi-sided business models are the norm here. The ability to conceive and manage those models so that all stakeholders in the involved partnerships (retailers, brands, agencies, banks, processors, consumers, etc.) win is critical to value creation and long-term success in this space.”

·      Unique Data Access = Unique Value Creation Opportunity. Trusted availability and usage rights to consumer data is foundational. Great analytics and technology won’t make up for gaps in data, or in related rights. To maintain access, it’s critical to operate, as one of our partners put it recently, “squarely on the side of angels,” ensuring that privacy is 100% respected, value is shared equitably (especially to the consumer), and that the highest standards of security are in place.

This is an exciting space, at an exciting time. I wish you great fortune in finding and cultivating value here.


DAaaS And Power Everyone

Several years ago we set out on a journey to significantly expand the scope of our services to marketers and others whose businesses can benefit from real-time insights into the buying patterns of US Consumers.

Since the founding of Affinity, we've delivered the benefits of our unique data access, powerful analytics, secure and scalable technology platform, and powerful ecosystem partnerships to financial institution clients (in the form of loyalty marketing programs) and select retailers (in the form of targeted campaigns, largely delivered through channels associated with those bank loyalty programs).

A bit more than a year ago, we launched our Data Analytics as a Service ("DAaaS") suite of products. The idea? To provide the power of precision-marketing, leveraging consumer data and analytics to improve marketing and other business outcomes well beyond the circumscribed world of bank loyalty programs. More recently, we've invested in the building out of our "Marketing Cloud" team in California's Silicon Valley to lead the development of our next generation technology platform, and associated analytics and machine learning suite.

A key part of our DAaaS strategy is to focus, and indeed deliver, its power though working relationships with partners serving the end user markets we look to help. Those include integrators, specialty data analytics firms, marketing service providers, consultancies, marketing agencies, and more. This "Power Everyone" mindset and strategy is intended to allow us to focus sharply on what we do best, and to leverage complementary capabilities via partnerships with firms that have aligned interests, capabilities, and strategies.

This sets up a win/win/win: customers get great value across a wide variety of use cases and business sectors, our partners leverage capabilities that we uniquely bring to them, and Affinity grows in a focused and successful manner.

It's not only our business strategy that's partner-centric. So is our technology platform—designed as it is around open API standards and provisions for easy exchange of data and analytic outcomes. Of course, all of this is accomplished with the strictest focus on information security and privacy.

Early on in the introduction of DAaaS to new markets, we'll routinely engage with end user customers, for example in retailing. Later, our plans are to bring our DAaaS solutions forward principally via our partnership arrangements with companies in categories as outlined above.

Whether you're an end user, or a prospective partner, and looking to learn more, please contact us, and we'll dive into much great detail about your specific interests and needs, and our capabilities.

The Measurement Dilemna

Many marketers are feeling the pressure to prove the value of what they do but lacking the means to demonstrate impact in quantitative terms. But assertions that marketing activity lacks measurability are untrue.

Questions marketers should be able to answer:

1.     Can we understand which promotional offers should be served to different customers?

2.     Should we increase or decrease spend on video advertising?

3.     If the digital media is not meeting the benchmarks should we change the creative?

4.     What is the incremental sales impact of my digital campaign in Q4 2015?

5.     If I have an additional million dollars to spend, should that be used to buy more TV spots, target deeper in direct mail deciles or spend more on targeted display ads?

With more than 90% of consumer spend still occurring offline, online clickstream metrics alone are ineffective at answering the key questions all marketers face today – how to measure the sales impact of your marketing. However, the heat is on for marketing organizations to demonstrate the value of their marketing investments and show what worked or didn’t.

As marketing evolves in an increasingly complex omni-channel environment, absolute measurement can provide clear and accurate insights into how, when and where marketing influences customers.  Marketers can then use those insights to spend smarter and define the optimal mix of customers interactions. In short, with absolute measurement, marketers can do more with less because you understand your customers better. 

Affinity’s closed loop measurement evaluates the critical online and offline linkages by following your prospective customer’s non-linear journey from marketing exposure to the sales transaction and empowers marketers to make smart, non-assumptive decisions that allows you to allocate marketing budgets, optimize and defend existing investments for growth and or net returns to bottom line.