Who Do You Trust When it Comes to Your Digital Media Decisions?

By Renold Liu

In April 2017, I was on stage in New York City sharing the most recent research that Speed Shift Media has uncovered using our Data Management Platform (DMP). Our DMP, the MarketMatch Data Engine (which we lovingly call Magnum), tracks a massive amount of web data throughout a car buyers path to purchase. Using this data, we can determine a car buyers specific vehicle interest so that we can target them with the best possible inventory using dynamic display ads. But it doesn’t stop there.

Digital media measurement has been eluding us since it started, and for the most part, it is simply due to the various metrics that are available to help us make decisions. Consider, you’ve got plans to head to a new city for the weekend (Chicago for example). You tell people that you’re on your way and suddenly you have 25 different recommendations on where to stay, eat, and play. What do you do with your time and how do you choose who to listen to? The first thing that I typically do is consider whose interests are similar to my own. But who do I trust to steer me in the right direction? Do I take the recommendation of the friendly flight attendant who, while focused on my best interests, doesn’t know me from Adam? Or do I listen to a close friend who I went to school with and who knows my preferences for food and music alike, but more importantly he has been to Chicago often and is a foodie and a music lover? Well, the same goes for making your decisions on who to trust to manage and assess your digital media choices. 

What is your role? Are you a Principal, a General Manager, a Sales Manager, or a Marketing Manager? Interestingly, the typical move is to ask your peer group what you should be looking at and who you should be trusting with your budget. For example, if you are the GM of a Dealership, you would ask a friend of yours who is also the GM of a Dealership. Pause for a moment, if you hold one of the first three roles, you may want to rethink that norm. Does your peer group know the ins and outs of the topic you are looking to solve? Your peer group will know what metrics they get and what metrics they like, but is that enough? 

In the last ten years, the media landscape has changed tremendously. Today we are at a point where the typical dealership is likely active in a minimum of 10 marketing communications channels. What does it take to effectively communicate your brand and your messaging across all of those channels? Consider the days of the original three. We’ve been forced to make a significant change to the depth and breadth of the skills and expertise required to make great marketing decisions. 

More than 10?

1. TV

2. Print

3. Radio 

4. Outdoor 

5. Email

6. SEO

7. SEM

8. Display

9. Facebook 

10. Twitter

11. Third Party Listings 

12. And you’re likely using more… Instagram or Snapchat anyone? 

Let’s consider some of the metrics that we can look at for these marketing communications tools. One would hope that they would have some apparent similarities that would help us to deliver a clear view of success. The first choice, and everyone’s favorite,  are leads and calls. Sadly, the goal posts have moved, and there are now only 24% of consumers who are putting up their hands (in the way of an online form or chat) to say that they are coming to your store. The other 76% (the overwhelming majority) are showing up unannounced. Conundrum. 

How can we keep track of all these people coming from different sources and somehow decide what is working and what isn’t? Do your colleagues know? Does he of she have a firm handle on all of the mediums and all of the metrics? Likely not. Well, it’s time to find that trusted resource to help you. Is it the team member you hired last month that is eager to learn and that can DIY all the learning they need from forums, YouTube, and the Google machine? Is it the new savvy hire that took you months of tireless effort to find in the local market? Or do you ask one of your fellow GMs or Sales Managers for an introduction to their trusted team member – the person that they have on staff that they go to for the stats they need to make the right decisions. WARNING: don’t go poaching the staffers from your industry colleagues. It may be tempting, but what goes around comes around.