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Making Marketing Investment Decisions: Strategies to Overcome Cost Challenges

The Three C’s – Complexity, Conflict, and Cost – present significant challenges for marketers when making investment decisions that yield results. The costs associated with analyzing data and modeling scenarios emphasize the need for focused and judicious analytical efforts. Complexity and Conflict, on the other hand, drive managers and analysts to tirelessly seek certainty, fearing the consequences of making the wrong decision. Unfortunately, this pursuit of certainty can lead to excessive spending on data analysis and model optimization in the attempt to find the perfect solution.

These hurdles demand that marketers devise strategies that are analytically sound, aligned with the organization’s goals, and financially prudent. However, the complexity, conflict, and cost often result in missed project timelines and endless iterations. What exacerbates the issue is the ambiguity present in the upfront data analysis and collection phase, as well as questions that may arise only after the first model iteration is completed.

The third hurdle, Cost, which we will discuss more in depth in this blog, refers to the financial implications of marketing investment decisions. Managers and analysts can spend significant amounts of resources analyzing data and trying to find the right model to make informed decisions. This can become a costly exercise that may not always guarantee the desired outcomes.

Navigating marketing investment challenges

There are several cost factors to be considered to make an effective marketing investment decision. Some of which include the resources required for acquiring and managing relevant data, implementing effective knowledge management processes, and ensuring efficient access and retrieval of information. Some additional costly considerations include conducting comprehensive modeling and analysis, identifying and evaluating potential opportunities, and maintaining secure storage and retention systems. These activities involve substantial investments in terms of time, human resources, technology, and infrastructure, ultimately adding to the overall cost of making informed marketing investment decisions.

Let’s review each of these factors a bit further to understand why these costly expenditures can make marketing investment decisions difficult.

  1. Data acquisition requires substantial financial resources to gather relevant data, limiting the ability to collect comprehensive and accurate information for decision-making purposes.
  2. The cost of knowledge management involves investing in systems, technology, and resources to organize, analyze, and leverage valuable information, making it accessible and usable for decision-making.
  3. Access and retrieval requires investment in technology and systems to efficiently and accurately retrieve the necessary data and information for informed decision-making.
  4. Modeling and analysis involves significant investments in resources, technology, and expertise to develop and implement accurate models that inform decision-making with actionable insights.
  5. Opportunity identification is difficult due to the resources required to conduct comprehensive market research, analyze trends, assess competitive landscapes, and identify potential opportunities for maximizing marketing investments.
  6. Storage and retention requires investments in infrastructure, technology, and compliance to ensure secure and accessible data storage, as well as long-term retention for future analysis and decision-making purposes.
The Keen Platform addresses “Cost” pain points
Pain PointWhere in the platform Keen can help
Data acquisitionMarketing Elasticity Engine, Connectors, Data Proc
Knowledge managementSystem
Access and retrievalSystem
Modeling and analysisModel, Plans, Reporting
Opportunity identificationPlans
Storage and retentionSystem

Revolutionizing marketing decisions with the Keen Platform

By providing clarity amidst the complexity, conflict, and cost, Keen revolutionizes the way marketing investment decisions are made. Our platform harnesses the power of a Bayesian approach and machine learning to anchor our models within a well-defined framework. This approach transcends the pitfalls that plague less informed strategies and transforms the model into a compass, guiding marketers towards better and more impactful decisions. Ultimately, this ensures that every marketing dollar becomes an investment towards a more profitable and insightful future.

To learn more about the Three C’s and how unified marketing measurement holds the promise of providing a structured approach to tackle these challenges and help you make the best marketing investment decisions possible, go to the “Guide to Decision Making With Unified Marketing Measurement” blog.


Eight Reasons to Trust the Keen Platform

Developing trustworthy AI algorithms is Keen’s business.  We’re helping marketers manage billions of dollars in marketing investments.  We endeavor for our users to leverage our AI to its fullest potential.  In our expansive vision for the future, we have many designs for evermore trustworthy algorithms. 

Trusting AI is not just a matter of time and it’s a joint effort with users.  Users should hold AIs to the same principles they hold people.  In the eBook, “A User-Oriented Framework for Evaluating Trust in AI,” we explained and developed a framework based on that premise.  The framework helps users demystify AI, take control of their relationship to AI, and ensure that their interests are aligned. 

Let’s look at the Keen Platform through the lens of that framework.

Understanding Keen’s commitment to trustworthy AI

Context: The Keen Platform is designed to provide recommendations for investment decisions according to your decision frame.  Therefore, its fundamentally important for building trust that as a user you define the frame.  Think of the frame in terms of five questions:

  • What is my objective? Are you trying to maximize the value of marketing defined by the value of your total sales?
  • How would you describe the decisions you’re trying to make: All tactics? Single product line or portfolio of products?
  •  What are decisions that are being made by others or in other contexts that are necessary to account for as drivers of your objective?  Pricing?  Product? Distribution?
  • What do you know or can reasonably forecast to happen in your environment:  Seasonality?  Persistent shift in consumer trends?
  • What are things that could happen, but that you cannot predict in the future? This helps draw a boundary on your frame. These factors should be left out of the frame and left to random chance.

Accountability: The Keen Platform is designed to forecast your business based on whatever action you take.  As a user you should hold the algorithms accountable to that.  However, we also know that neither the past nor future can be explained perfectly, neither by people nor algorithms.  Three important features of the Keen Platform allow you to hold it accountable:

  • Holdout tests:  Dividing the data between training and evaluation sets allows you to build your model and preemptively develop and understanding of how well your forecast might perform.  This prevents overfitting; avoids false promises of accuracy.  It gives you a helpful pretense for just how accountable it can be.
  • Decompositions and Forecast Actualization:  All forecasts are prone to error, and so all forecasts fail to an extent.  However, to build trust you want to know why.  Using the decomposition and forecast actualization when the future unfolds, you can understand what changed, when sales were different, and why. 
  • Continuous learning:  This also falls under intelligence.  When errors occur and you know why, to the extent that those reasons are predictable you will want the algorithm to learn to use those signals in the future.  Models in Keen Platform can be updated and learn over time.

Availability: The Keen Platform is a SaaS system.  It’s designed and rigorously tested to ensure that all the features are available when you need them.

Speed: The Keen Platform is designed for speed, and not just computational speed.  Its also designed to increase your speed to decisions.  We know that businesses are run against timelines and that things happen.  When they do it’s important to be able to make those decision quickly.  One such design decision is in the data.  Keen Platform simplifies data requirements and makes the loading process easier.  It also makes quality assurance easier.  And the data provisioning is segmented from the decisioning.  So, when you’re working on providing new data, you can still make decisions based on the current state of information.  This means that when you’re using the Keen Platform you can make decisions quickly.

 Intelligence: The Keen Platform is intelligent because it learns from multiple sources.  As it does it continuously adapts and provides new recommendations and forecasts based on that information.  The algorithm uses a Bayesian approach to incorporate information from three sources:

Keen’s Marketing Elasticity EngineThis is patent-pending technology that learns from multiple public and private sources, combined with the particulars of your business to provide a prior assessment of the general effectiveness of your marketing tactics.
Your own previous experience, including studies of marketing effectivenessThis encompasses a wide range of information from marketing mix studies, in-market tests, attribution studies, platform metrics, and your own experience.
Time-series dataData gets the last word in the Bayesian approach. Observations provide evidence based on how the business changes based on changes in your decisions and the environment. The models learn from the available signal in the data and weigh that against the other sources of information.

Transparency: The Keen Platform provides a holistic framework for making marketing investment decisions.  When you’re receiving a recommendation, ultimately you need to know why.  Transparency can be thought of in terms of inputs and outputs.  The Keen Platform provides transparency to your inputs including sales, activity and financial data, and prior information.  In the Keen Platform users can both understand the implications of prior information in terms of ROI ranges and provide prior information in those terms.  ROIs transmit information in terms that are easily understood and transparent.  The Keen Platform also provides transparency to recommendations and the reasons behind those recommendations.  Results are coupled with a range of metrics, most importantly marginal ROIs and response curves.  This helps users understand the whys behind the recommendations.  Finally, in terms of outputs, Keen Platform provides a forecast.  As discussed above, this allows you to hold the platform accountable

Confidentiality: The Keen Platform maintains users’ and clients’ confidentiality.  All data is stored in a deidentified manner, no data is transmitted in an identified manner, and none stored in any way outside Keen’s control.  The only interaction on an identified basis is by authenticated users via their browser.  There are no opportunities for identifiable information to be provided to another user. 

Shared Values: The Keen Platform aligns with users’ values.  First and foremost, Keen’s only business is to help our clients and users make better marketing investment decisions.  We’re not selling advertising or any other service to anyone else.  The algorithms have no other incentives than to provide for the best decision.  Importantly, users can explicitly state their objectives and the recommended investment and forecast will be consistent with those objectives.  Users can maximize long-term value, optimize a budget, or hit a forecast.  Within the stated context, users’ values are aligned with our AI.

Keen Platform: Building trust through innovation and transparency

We value the trust that we’ve created with our clients and users.  They entrust us with billions of dollars of marketing investment.  It’s our desire to maintain and strengthen that trust over time to help make decisions about billions more in marketing investments.  It’s our desire that with this framework, you can identify and relate of the sources of your trust in us.  Furthermore, as with any relationship you’re able to hold us accountable to build and foster trust.  We welcome your feedback and endeavor to make Keen the best it can be.

Take a tour of our platform today to learn more about our solution.

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Understanding Demand Planning KPIs

Understanding the key performance indicators (KPIs) of demand planning is crucial for businesses looking to optimize their supply chain operations and ensure efficient inventory management. Demand planning KPIs provide valuable insights into the performance of demand forecasting and help measure the accuracy and effectiveness of the planning process. In this blog, we will delve into the various aspects of demand planning KPIs and provide valuable information on understanding, measuring, and optimizing them.

Demand planning effectiveness

The KPIs for effective demand forecasting include forecast accuracy, forecast bias, and forecast value-added

Forecast accuracyMeasures the closeness of the forecasted values to the actual demand, indicating the reliability of the forecasting process
Forecast biasIndicates any systematic errors in the forecast, helping identify over- or underestimation tendencies
Forecast value-addedMeasures the contribution of demand planning to the overall profitability of an organization, evaluating the effectiveness of forecasting methods

Demand planning metrics

Demand planning KPI metrics are used to evaluate the performance of demand forecasting and planning processes. Demand planning  KPIs play a crucial role in providing insights into the accuracy and effectiveness of demand planning, enabling organizations to make informed decisions. By tracking these KPIs, businesses can identify areas of improvement and take necessary actions to optimize their demand planning activities.

The role of accuracy in demand planning metrics cannot be overstated. A high level of accuracy ensures that organizations can meet customer demand without excessive inventory or stockouts

Accurate forecasts enable businesses to optimize their inventory levels, reduce carrying costs, and improve overall supply chain efficiency. Organizations can also enhance customer satisfaction by delivering products on time and avoiding any disruptions caused by inaccurate demand planning.

Integrating financial metrics with demand planning KPIs

Integrating financial metrics with demand planning KPIs provides organizations with a comprehensive view of their supply chain performance. By including metrics such as revenue contribution, gross margin, and return on investment in demand planning KPIs, businesses can evaluate the financial impact of demand forecasting and planning activities. This integration helps organizations assess the profitability of different products, customer segments, and markets, enabling them to make data-driven decisions to optimize their demand planning strategies.

Advanced analytics for demand planning KPIs

Advanced analytical tools, such as machine learning and predictive modeling, can further enhance demand planning KPIs. These techniques leverage historical data, market trends, and external factors to generate accurate forecasts and improve demand planning effectiveness. Advanced analytics can also help businesses identify hidden patterns and factors that impact demand, enabling more proactive and accurate forecasting.

Common challenges in measuring demand planning KPIs

Measuring demand planning KPIs can pose some challenges for organizations. One of the common challenges is the availability and quality of data. Demand planning relies heavily on historical sales data, and any gaps or inaccuracies in the data can impact the accuracy of the forecast. Additionally, demand volatility, seasonality, and market dynamics can also pose challenges in accurately measuring demand planning KPIs. Organizations need to invest in robust data management systems, advanced forecasting tools, and continuous process improvement to overcome these challenges and achieve optimal demand planning outcomes.

Best practices for tracking demand planning KPIs with Keen

To effectively track demand planning KPIs, organizations should establish clear and measurable goals aligned with their overall business objectives. It is crucial to define specific KPIs, set target values, and regularly monitor and analyze the performance against these targets. Organizations should consider using visual dashboards and reporting tools to provide real-time visibility into the performance of demand planning KPIs, enabling quick and informed decision-making.

The Keen Platform is an innovative solution to the demand planning landscape, offering businesses the opportunity to achieve unprecedented accuracy, consistency, and efficiency. The platform provides a unified perspective across marketing, trade, and retail media, allowing for real-time consensus forecasting that seamlessly integrates into demand planning and supply chain forecasts. This streamlined process ensures that businesses have access to accurate and actionable information, making Keen the go-to source for marketing, revenue management, and finance. By fostering collaboration and delivering real-time data and insights, Keen enables continuous improvement and serves as the catalyst for overcoming challenges. With the ability to update models and achieve results on a monthly basis, Keen becomes the trusted source of truth for organizations.

For additional demand planning resources, visit our demand planning best practices blog.


How Teams Can Overcome the “Conflict” Hurdle to Make Sound Marketing Investment Decisions

Making effective marketing decisions can be a bit of a puzzle for marketers, thanks largely to hurdles known as the Three C’s: Complexity, Conflict, and Cost. Overcoming these obstacles is crucial for shaping successful marketing strategies. These challenges can often add a tricky spin to the process of making investment decisions that bring about positive outcomes.

In this blog, we will explore the second hurdle, conflict, which arises from the desire for certainty in decision-making. Marketers and analysts often seek certainty out of fear of making the wrong decision. This pursuit of certainty leads to an endless analysis of data and models in an attempt to find the perfect solution. However, this search for certainty can be futile, as perfect data is rarely available and imperfect data can yield biased and uncertain results.

Understanding the "conflict" hurdle in marketing decisions

There are several variables that could create conflict when teams are making marketing investment decisions. Some of these variables include different objectives among stakeholders and varying theories and approaches to marketing. Also, the availability and interpretation of information and the fierce competition for limited resources poses challenges. Additionally, personal objectives and organizational misalignment can contribute to the complexity by creating conflicts and hurdles in consensus building of investment decisions.

Let’s examine each of these variables a bit further to understand why each of these elements can create conflict when teams are marketing investment decisions.

  1. Different organizational objectives can lead to conflicts and disagreements regarding resource allocation and priorities. Navigating these challenges requires careful deliberation and compromise to achieve a consensus.
  2. Individuals having different marketing theories can be difficult since team members may disagree on the most effective strategies and methods, resulting in conflicting recommendations and challenges in finding a unified approach.
  3. Teams having different information can create friction given inconsistent or incomplete data can lead to varying conclusions and recommendations, making it challenging to determine the best course of action.
  4. Competition for resources creates complexity as organizations must carefully evaluate competing initiatives and determine the best allocation of limited resources to maximize return on investment and strategic objectives.
  5. Personal objectives and individuals that have their own motivations and agendas may not align with overall organizational goals, resulting in conflicts and challenges in decision-making.
  6. Organizational misalignment or different departments or stakeholders having conflicting priorities or strategies can lead to challenges in reaching consensus and making unified decisions.

Leveraging Keen for effective conflict resolution

Employing a unified marketing measurement tool is a game changer, making marketing investment decisions clearer in a sometimes complicated world of costs and conflicts. At Keen, the key is not just in building the model, but in realizing how that model can fuel analytical decision-making. We build our models with a sturdy framework, use a Bayesian approach, and AI and machine learning. This strategy helps marketers avoid common mistakes and ensures every dollar spent is an investment for a more successful future. The model becomes a guide, directing marketers to make smarter, more impactful decisions, leading to a brighter and more informed future.

The Keen Platform addresses “Conflict” pain points
Pain PointWhere in the platform Keen can help
Different peopleUser roles
Different objectivesPlan optimization
Different theoriesPlans, Priors
Different informationROIs-to-Priors
Competition for resourcesFinancial analysis
Personal objectivesUX
Organizational misalignmentROIs-to-priors, Roles, System

To learn more about the Three C’s and how unified marketing measurement holds the promise of providing a structured approach to tackle these challenges and help you make the best marketing investment decisions possible, go to the “Guide to Decision Making With Unified Marketing Measurement blog.


CMOs Perspectives of Building Marketing Teams with Proper Measurement Abilities

Assembling high-performing marketing teams is a complex and ever-changing process, particularly as the reliance on digital tools continues to grow. Marketing leaders must prioritize the necessary skillsets and technology investments to ensure their teams are set up for success. However, marketers face challenges when it comes to deriving value from their analytics.

Keen recently surveyed full-time marketers at mid-market or enterprise companies. In this blog, we will highlight the findings from senior leadership team members of the 600+ respondents about some of their challenges and how technology and AI are impacting the performance of their marketing team.

According to recent data, 50% of marketers say their departments have had difficulty securing budget for 2024 initiatives. Additionally, 43% struggled to tie marketing spend to revenue in 2023, and 38% admit to spending too much money on the wrong campaigns.

Insights from senior leaders on AI and marketing performance

To address these measurement pitfalls, it is important to understand the specific skills that leaders are looking for, the tools that marketers rely on for marketing performance measurement, and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing. Senior leaders were found to be 50% more likely than middle management to admit spending too much money on the wrong tools in 2023. They were also 47% more likely to express a desire for more data on precise allocation of spend. Moreover, senior leaders reported a 45% increase in revenue from the investment in AI marketing measurement tools.

Data also reveals that senior leaders in positions of authority are 18% more likely to successfully improve data analytics capabilities by upskilling existing team members. Additionally, departments that allocate budget for continuing education are 20% more likely to report increased job satisfaction.

The critical role of CMOs in team success and culture

Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) play a vital role in ensuring the success of marketing teams, particularly in fostering a healthy work culture. When CMOs actively promote and support work-life balance, job satisfaction is positively impacted for 87% of respondents, and productivity increases for 83%. A majority (80%) of marketers agree that CMO-sponsored leadership development programs positively influence the success of data-driven initiatives.

Challenges in modern marketing team assembly

However, marketers face challenges in gaining buy-in from the entire C-Suite, especially when introducing new tools into their tech stack. Almost half (49%) find it difficult to effectively communicate the value of marketing investments to their company’s CFO and/or finance team. Therefore, CMOs need to provide additional support to help marketers secure support from other executives.

In conclusion, assembling high-performing marketing teams requires constant adaptation to evolving skillsets, technological advancements, and measurement challenges. Leaders must prioritize necessary skills and investments, while CMOs play a critical role in fostering a healthy work culture and gaining buy-in from the C-Suite.

Download the “Mastering Measurement: The CMO’s Guide to Building High-Performing Marketing Teams in 2024″ eBook of complete survey findings here.

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Overcoming the Complexity of Making Effective Marketing Investment Decisions

Marketers face several challenges when it comes to making investment decisions that yield results. These challenges, often referred to as the Three C’s – Complexity, Conflict, and Cost, must be overcome in order to devise effective marketing strategies.

In this blog, we are going to explore the first hurdle, Complexity. Complexity refers to the analytical and logical complexity involved in navigating the vast array of variables in marketing. Marketers have to deal with multiple distribution channels, diverse product segments, varying geographic markets, and numerous marketing tactics. Additionally, there are diminishing marginal returns to investment, meaning that the incremental returns decline as investment amounts increase. Understanding the short-term and long-term effects adds another layer of marketing complexity.

Tackling the complexity in marketing investments

Some of the variables that make marketing investment and analytical decision-making complex are multiple product offerings, investment alternatives, marketing tactics, targets, and geographic markets. Due to the sheer number of variables and considerations, each one of these variables contribute to the complexity of marketing investment decisions.

Let’s dig into the complexity surrounding each of these variables a bit deeper.

  1. Having multiple products means that marketers need to allocate resources effectively across different offerings, taking into account factors such as product lifecycle, market demand, and competition.
  2. Various investment alternatives increases complexity as marketers must assess the potential returns and risks associated with each option, weigh them against the organization’s objectives, and make informed decisions.
  3. The selection of marketing tactics poses challenges as marketers must identify the most suitable strategies to reach their target audience, considering factors such as consumer behavior, market trends, and competition.
  4. Determining your target markets and segments requires thorough analysis of consumer behavior, market trends, and demographic factors to effectively allocate resources and implement targeted strategies.
  5. Accounting for demographic, psychographic, and geographic factors, requires a comprehensive understanding of consumer preferences, attitudes, behaviors, and location-specific considerations to tailor strategies and allocate resources effectively.

All these factors combined create a complex web of variables that marketers must analyze, prioritize, and integrate to make effective marketing investment decisions. This complexity highlights the importance of employing analytical techniques, advanced technologies, and data-driven marketing insights to navigate through these challenges and achieve desired results.

Overcoming complexity with the Keen Platform

To overcome these complexity challenges, in addition to conflict and cost challenges, marketers are encouraged to devise strategies that are analytically sound, organizationally aligned, and financially prudent. In order to tackle the complexity and ambiguity in marketing, the use of software is recommended. Software can help streamline the process by providing a structured approach and removing ambiguity. The Keen Platform’s features  allow users to enumerate and name all the factors in their marketing model. Additionally, our models take a Bayesian approach, and perform complex calculations in seconds, keeping the focus on decision support rather than spending excessive time on data analysis.

The Keen Platform addresses “Complexity” pain points
Pain PointWhere in the platform Keen can help
Multiple productsPortfolio
Multiple investment alternativesPlans
Multiple marketing tacticsFactors
Multiple target and segmentsPortfolio
Multiple geosPortfolio

To learn more about the Three C’s and how unified marketing measurement holds the promise of providing a structured approach to tackle these challenges and help you make the best marketing investment decisions possible, go to the “Guide to Decision Making With Unified Marketing Measurement” blog.

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What is Demand Planning: Definition and Best Practices

Defining Demand Planning

Demand planning is a strategic process used by companies to forecast customer demand and plan their supply chain activities accordingly. This involves predicting future customer demand based on historical data, market trends, and other influencing factors. The aim is to ensure that the right products are available at the right time, in the right quantities, without overstocking or stockouts, thus optimizing costs and meeting customer expectations. Demand planning often includes aspects like sales forecasting, inventory management, and production planning.

The importance of accurate demand planning

Accurate demand planning is crucial for several reasons:

  • Inventory Management: It helps in maintaining optimal inventory levels. Accurate demand forecasts prevent overstocking, which ties up capital, and understocking, which can lead to lost sales and customer dissatisfaction.
  • Cost Reduction: By predicting demand accurately, a business can reduce costs associated with excess inventory storage, waste of perishable goods, and rush orders for restocking.
  • Improved Production Scheduling: It enables efficient production planning, ensuring effective resource allocation and utilization, reducing lead times and minimizing idle time in production.
  • Supply Chain Management and Efficiency: Accurate demand planning optimizes the entire supply chain, improving supplier relationships and allowing for better negotiation and collaboration.
  • Customer Satisfaction: It ensures that customer demands are met consistently, enhancing customer service and loyalty.
  • Financial Planning: It aids in more accurate financial forecasting and budgeting, impacting overall business profitability and strategic planning.
  • Market Responsiveness: Businesses can respond more effectively to market trends and changing market demands, adapting their strategies to meet evolving customer needs.
  • Risk Mitigation: It helps in anticipating shifts in demand, allowing businesses to prepare for and mitigate risks associated with market volatility.

Navigating Organizational Dynamics: Keen's Blueprint for Unified Success

Trade spend operates in a complex ecosystem where marketing, trade, and retail media teams often function in silos, hindering the potential for unified success. This guide delves into the challenges faced by businesses in demand planning and trade operations, illuminating how Keen is poised to revolutionize the landscape by offering a unique opportunity to provide a unified perspective. Using Keen’s platform is a demand planning best practice, and has the potential to drive better accuracy, consistency, efficiency, and accountability, emerging as the source of truth for marketing, revenue management, and finance.

The Siloed Landscape:

In many companies, marketing and revenue management are separate entities, with marketing teams owning channels and sometimes the P&L, while trade budgets and retail media reside within the revenue management group. The lack of integration between these critical functions poses a challenge for achieving a cohesive business strategy.

The S&OP Process:

The Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) process, conducted monthly, involves teams explaining the previous month’s performance and providing forecasts. Marketing and revenue management teams bring their perspectives to the table, leading to a consensus macro forecast. However, this process often lacks real-time collaboration and may not fully leverage the synergies between marketing, trade, and retail media.

Translating Macro to Micro:

The macro forecast generated through the S&OP process must be translated into a granular SKU-level forecast by a demand planning team. Forecast accuracy, or achieving the right mix is crucial, as it feeds into the supply chain, guiding production at plants while accounting for inventory levels.

The Keen Difference:

Keen steps into this landscape with a groundbreaking opportunity. By providing a unified perspective across marketing, trade, and retail media, Keen’s platform drives unparalleled accuracy, consistency, and efficiency. This real-time consensus forecast can seamlessly feed into demand planning and supply chain forecasts, streamlining the entire process.

The Source of Truth:

Keen can be the source of truth for marketing, revenue management, and finance. By offering a platform that fosters collaboration and delivers real-time data and insights, Keen enables continuous refinement and improvement while ensuring that businesses are equipped with accurate and actionable information to drive success.

Keen’s platform presents a transformative opportunity to overcome the challenges inherent in trade. By unifying perspectives across marketing, trade, and retail media, the Keen Platform not only addresses existing inefficiencies but also acts as the catalyst for continuously improving results over time. Further, Keen empowers you to update models and actualize results every month, becoming the source of truth in your organization. 

Get Keen and navigate your marketing and  trade investments with a unified, efficient, and accurate approach.

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How High Performing Marketing Teams Are Embracing Technology for Success

In today’s increasingly digital and data-driven world, marketing teams are turning to technology to navigate and thrive. With the creation of advanced analytics platforms, these teams are witnessing the tremendous benefits such tools bring to building a successful marketing plan. However, under-equipped teams face new challenges in the absence of proper marketing measurement tools.

To gain a deeper understanding of how top-performing marketing teams leverage advanced technology, Keen recently surveyed full-time marketers at mid-market or enterprise companies. In this blog, we will share the findings of the 600+ respondents about how these high-performing teams are leveraging technology for measurement and forecasting. We will also share how it is shaping the skills necessary for success, and the impact it is having on the revenue generated by their marketing efforts.

Advanced analytics and campaign effectiveness

According to our survey, 86% of marketers who use technology for these purposes turn to analytics platforms, which have proven to be increasingly valuable. Here are some key findings:

  1. Enhanced Campaign Effectiveness: A staggering 91% of marketers reported that integrating advanced analytics platforms into their campaigns contributed to their overall effectiveness in the past year. By leveraging data-driven insights, marketing teams are able to optimize their strategies and make data-backed decisions.
  2. Facilitating Personalization: With the decline of traditional cookies, marketers are finding personalized targeting a challenge. However, 81% of marketers believe that analytics platforms are essential for facilitating personalized experiences. These tools enable teams to understand customer behavior, preferences, and demographics, thereby creating tailored campaigns that resonate with their target audience.

Yet, challenges arise when marketing performance measurement tools are not properly implemented. Teams lacking these tools face data limitations in various areas:

  1. Interactions Between Marketing Channels: 66% of teams without suitable measurement tools struggle to track and understand interactions between different marketing channels. This opacity hinders the ability to optimize marketing strategies for maximum impact.
  2. Budget Management: 45% of under-equipped teams lack sufficient data for effective budget management. This creates inefficiencies, as marketing spend is not accurately allocated to the most lucrative channels or campaigns.
  3. Precise Allocation of Spend: Similarly, 41% of marketers lack the ability to precisely allocate their marketing spend due to insufficient measurement tools. This prevents them from optimizing their budgets and maximizing returns on investment.

Challenges in marketing measurement implementation

It’s worth noting that senior leadership (37% more likely than average) recognizes the importance of proper marketing measurement tools for accurate budget management and spend allocation.

Unfortunately, implementing these measurement tools is not without its challenges. 80% of marketers surveyed found integrating these tools into their overall strategy to be moderately or highly challenging. This complexity may arise from integration issues with existing systems, skill gaps, or resistance to change.

High-performing marketing teams are embracing technology and harnessing the power of analytics platforms to optimize their campaigns. These tools provide the necessary insights for effective measurement, personalization, and budget management. However, under-equipped teams face challenges in leveraging these benefits, resulting in limited data on marketing channel interactions, budget management, and precise spend allocation. Overcoming these challenges and implementing measurement tools effectively is crucial for marketing teams to excel in today’s competitive landscape.

Download the “Mastering Measurement: The CMO’s Guide to Building High-Performing Marketing Teams in 2024″ eBook of complete survey findings here.

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The Role of AI in Building High Performance Marketing Teams

Assembling high-performing marketing teams is a dynamic and complicated process. The skills, experience, and role-specific expectations marketing leaders search for are constantly evolving, especially as we become more reliant on digital tools. With the marketing landscape becoming increasingly crowded with new channels, the pressure on marketing teams is higher than ever. Keen wanted to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by these teams and how technology is being harnessed to overcome them.

Keen recently surveyed full-time marketers at mid-market or enterprise companies. In this blog, we will share the findings of the 600+ respondents about how they feel artificial intelligence (AI) is impacting the performance of their marketing team.

In 2023, AI made significant waves and its integration into various industries is set to expand in the coming years. The field of marketing is no exception to this trend. Currently, 41% of marketing teams that utilize tools for measurement or forecasting are already utilizing AI-driven technology. Furthermore, two out of three marketers have stated that their companies are directing investments towards AI and machine learning tools specifically for marketing performance measurement in 2024.

AI-Driven Technologies: A Game Changer in Revenue Growth

One of the most tangible advantages of AI in marketing is its impact on revenue. Half of the respondents who reported that their company invests in AI tools claimed to have witnessed increased revenue as a direct result. Interestingly, senior leadership individuals were 42% more likely than average to express this sentiment. On average, the implementation of AI-powered tools has led to a revenue lift of around 24%.

However, AI’s significance extends beyond immediate returns on investment; it empowers marketers to confidently navigate the future. Marketers who currently invest in AI have reported numerous favorable outcomes, including a greater ability to make better future marketing decisions (57%) and improved forecasting (49%). Once again, senior leadership individuals were 33% more likely to acknowledge these benefits.

While AI is not intended to replace human workers, marketers must adapt and embrace this technology to remain competitive. An overwhelming 86% of respondents agreed that adaptability to emerging technologies is a core competency for marketing team members. Moreover, providing teams with the latest and most advanced technology is vital for employee retention. Roughly 60% of teams currently invest in AI tools to support marketing measurement, and 47% of those who do not expressed a preference to work for a company that does.

The Risks of Overlooking AI in Marketing Strategies

Companies that neglect AI investments risk falling behind their competitors and placing unnecessary strain on their marketing teams. Marketers lacking AI tools for marketing measurement argue that such tools would grant them more time to focus on revenue-generating activities (65%), make their jobs easier (65%), and enhance overall campaign performance (60%). It is evident that AI is becoming a crucial element in the marketing industry, with organizations and marketers recognizing its potential and embracing its capabilities for future success.

Download the “Mastering Measurement: The CMO’s Guide to Building High-Performing Marketing Teams in 2024″ eBook of complete survey findings here.


Introduction to Scenario Based Marketing Planning

In today’s rapidly changing market environment, the ability to anticipate and effectively respond to potential future scenarios is more crucial than ever before. Scenario-based marketing planning emerges as a strategic approach designed to help brands navigate through uncertainties with confidence. This methodology involves identifying and analyzing possible future events or conditions—ranging from economic shifts, technological advancements, competitive movements, to consumer behavior changes—and developing strategies to address each potential scenario.

By employing scenario-based marketing planning, brands are not only able to mitigate risks but also seize opportunities that may arise from future market dynamics. This approach requires a thorough understanding of the current market landscape, predictive analysis, and creative thinking to envisage various future states. Scenario planning equips marketers with a proactive blueprint, enabling them to adapt quickly and maintain a competitive edge in ever-evolving markets.

Keen's Approach to Scenario-Based Marketing Planning

At Keen, we recognize the vital role of scenario planning in equipping businesses to thrive amid market uncertainties. Our approach to scenario-based marketing planning is designed to empower brands with actionable insights and strategic flexibility, positioning them for success in any future market environment.

Building a Baseline for Effective Scenario Planning

The foundation of effective scenario-based marketing planning lies in building a solid baseline, a comprehensive understanding of the brand’s past and current performance and strategy. The Keen Platform makes this process seamless through our comprehensive lists of integrations and easy file management system. This process is outlined below and in our bayesian regression blog. 

Scenario Planning in Action: Real-World Applications

With Keen’s scenario planning features, Twinings was able to: 

– Predict the financial impact of each of its channels—digital, online and trade—to compare and make decisions. This unified measurement sets a new standard for marketing decision support. 

– Optimize in real time to model a prescriptive, weekly plan to drive incremental revenue without spending past the point of diminishing returns when timing was optimized.

– Identify key investment opportunities in under used tactics.

Read the full Twinings case study.

Future Forecasting and Competitive Analysis and Crisis Management

Scenario planning is more than prediction; done well it is an exercise in anticipation with an emphasis on preparing for the unpredictable. By incorporating future forecasting and competitive analysis into scenario planning, businesses can evaluate various market conditions, technological advancements, consumer behavior changes, and potential moves by competitors. 

For instance, the Keen Platform can help your team simulate the likely performance of a competitor and consequently you can make strategic decisions for the health of your brand. 

In addition to a dynamic market, today’s marketer has to anticipate crises that can emerge unexpectedly, driven by factors such as technological failures, natural disasters, or social and economic disruptions. This preemptive planning ensures that businesses can mitigate the impact of crises, maintaining brand integrity and customer trust during challenging times. This was especially relevant during Covid.  Keen helped marketing teams navigate supply chain and consumer behavior disruptions and our scenario planning capabilities allowed the teams to pivot their marketing strategies to adjust to these external factors. 

For example, one global retailer might use scenario planning to prepare for supply chain disruptions caused by geopolitical tensions or natural disasters. By identifying alternative suppliers and logistics routes in advance, the company can ensure continuity of operations and minimize any negative impact on customer satisfaction and financial performance.

The Keen Platform allows marketing teams to manage risks almost as dynamically as hedge funds.

Implementing Scenario Planning in Marketing Strategy

Integrating scenario planning into a marketing strategy equips brands with the foresight and flexibility to stay ahead in a turbulent market environment. By anticipating future developments and preparing for various outcomes, businesses can seize opportunities and mitigate risks more effectively.

Steps to incorporate scenario planning

To successfully integrate scenario planning into marketing strategy, businesses should follow these steps:

Steps to integrate scenario planning into marketing strategy
Identify key drivers of changeDetermine the critical factors that could influence the business environment, including technological trends, consumer behavior shifts, regulatory changes, and competitive dynamics.
Develop scenariosCreate a range of plausible scenarios based on the identified drivers, considering both optimistic and pessimistic outcomes.
Analyze implicationsEvaluate the potential impact of each scenario on the organization's marketing strategy, identifying opportunities and threats.
Formulate strategiesDevelop flexible and adaptable marketing strategies that can be quickly deployed based on the unfolding scenario.
Monitor and reviewContinuously monitor the business environment for signs that a particular scenario is becoming more likely and adjust the marketing strategy accordingly.

Conclusion: The Strategic Advantage of Scenario-Based Planning in Marketing

Scenario-based planning represents a strategic cornerstone for enterprises seeking a proactive stance in their marketing strategies. This approach allows organizations to navigate the complexities of market dynamics with a forward-thinking mindset, equipping them with the agility to adapt to unforeseen circumstances rapidly. By incorporating scenario planning into their marketing strategy, companies are not only preparing for potential challenges but are also positioning themselves to seize emerging opportunities before their competitors do.

The benefits of scenario planning using the Keen Platform are:

  • Enhanced decision-making agility in a dynamic and interactive go-forward framework
  • Rapid competitor analysis and marketing measurement
  • Risk management, hedge your strategy among likely scenarios

Want to see our scenario planning functionality in action?  Take a tour of the platform today!


AdQuick and Keen Partner to Plan, Optimize, Forecast and Measure OOH Investments

Empowering Predictive Media Planning: AdQuick’s New Partnership with Keen Decision Systems Unlocks Real Time OOH Measurement and Optimization

Keen Decision Systems, a real-time marketing mix optimization SaaS platform powered by AI, announces an exclusive partnership with AdQuick, the premier platform for Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising that simplifies the planning, buying, and measurement of all types of outdoor advertising. This strategic alliance enables advertisers to effectively bridge the gap between Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and Revenue by assessing both the immediate and long-term impacts of OOH advertising on revenue and profit ROI.

Through this partnership, AdQuick will power OOH measurement within the Keen Platform, providing Keen users with immediate access to OOH spend and impression delivery data. This integration will enable robust MMM measurement, omni-channel optimization, and forward-looking scenario planning.

“OOH advertising offers an unparalleled combination of dwell time, location-based targeting, and impactful formats. But, it has been undervalued, often relegated to ‘awareness’ rather than recognized for its full-funnel potential,” states Jesse Math, VP, Strategic Partnerships at Keen. “Our partnership addresses this gap head-on, positioning OOH as a key player in marketing strategies by quantifying its true influence on revenue, profit, and ROI. With Keen, advertisers are now equipped to forecast and maximize OOH’s value through detailed scenario planning.”

“We’re beyond grateful to Keen for partnering with us to solve today’s ubiquitous problem of advertisers simply not knowing how much financial return their OOH investments are generating.  All of OOH, including static and digital, can now be effectively measured in Keen, and this is a gamechanger for Keen’s clients because the possibilities now uniquely exist for seeing OOH’s impact on growing financials, as well as quantifying the impacts of optimizations on capturing more value from OOH (i.e. what is the value of using 1st and 3rd party data in OOH placement selections?).  It’s our hope that all of Keen’s clients take advantage of this opportunity, break away from the status quo and capture the untapped potential that OOH really offers.” – Jason Kunkel-de Cesero, Vice President, Demand & Analytics Partnerships 

“The rapid advancements in technology are now lining up with and extending our efforts for over a decade where we focused on methods and practices that enable us to bring together the 110,000 static and digital displays of our 300 media companies across the country,” said Chris Cowlbeck, IBO USA CVO. “I’ve been told repeatedly for several years that the process needed to be easier and that we needed to help the buy side prove the value of OOH, and now the aligning of the stars with like-minded players will enable us to reach our goals and enable brands to achieve theirs. By focusing on robust data and metrics processes, the gaps can now begin to close to bring the results we all desire and have spent years pursuing.  IBO USA members will grow our interest and commitment of easing buying and improving focus to strengthen attention of the industry and the trust in campaign metrics. The Keen + AdQuick partnership adds dimensions to locations that we haven’t been able to have previously and really will enhance the understanding of our static and digital inventory.”  

A New Era of OOH Advertising Confidence

The partnership between Keen and AdQuick offers novel capabilities to advertisers for assessing & optimizing OOH advertising. Keen’s patent-pending Marketing Elasticity Engine, equipped with channel-specific ROI “priors” tailored to each advertiser’s category and P&L size, provides predictive analytics that enable advertisers, including those new to OOH, to accurately predict its impact on business outcomes, taking into account the halo interactions with existing digital channels.

An Interoperable Measurement Ecosystem

Keen fills the “so what?” gap left by most marketing measurement, embodying a financial-based decisioning platform that respects the ‘source of truth’ within marketing organizations. Advertisers are invited to integrate results from diverse methodologies, including match market tests and incrementality, into the Keen Platform to evaluate alongside Keen’s measurement perspective. This interoperability ensures a comprehensive and triangulated understanding of marketing impacts, empowering advertisers to plan with confidence and precision.

Join the Revolution in OOH Advertising

The partnership between AdQuick and Keen represents significant differentiation of the level of actionability provided by measurement, offering advertisers a robust, predictive, and real-time optimization tool for OOH and omnichannel advertising.

Contact Keen today to qualify for a free demo and 10% discounted license to measure, plan, and forecast your media plan. Available for a limited time only.


Crisp and Keen help CPGs get smart about media spend

Guest post by Samantha Johnston, Marketing at Crisp

The new partnership between Crisp and Keen Decision Systems helps CPG marketers understand the impact of full-funnel marketing: what’s working, what’s not, and how to optimize the next marketing dollars spent.

In today’s marketing environment, there are more ways than ever to reach consumers – and measuring the impact of marketing across retailers and ecommerce platforms is more challenging than ever. With so many options comes the need to know if you’re using your media resources wisely at the speed marketers need to make decisions. That’s why Crisp has partnered with Keen to help CPGs measure, plan, optimize, and forecast their omnichannel media investments.

Len Ostroff, EVP of Sales and Partnerships at Crisp, joined Keen founder and CEO Greg Dolan to discuss how the integration brings valuable tools to the modern marketer’s toolbox.

Retail marketing: More choices, more problems

As Dolan points out, there are thousands of marketing decisions that have to be made every week, or even every day, to allocate marketing resources.

Of course, today’s CPG marketers also have to justify every dollar they’re spending – and that’s where the fragmentation leads to even greater challenges. CPGs need to collect data from disparate channels, make sense of all that data, and ultimately try to determine the ROI of media spend.

On top of that, cookie deprecation means the industry must transition away from one-to-one targeting toward geo-based or cohort-based targeting – which makes connecting digital marketing to sales all the more complicated.

Adding retail data to the marketing mix

An informed retail marketing strategy requires retail data to measure the impact of campaigns across retail media networks and the open web online and in-store.

As Ostroff explains, retailers share a wealth of data with their suppliers, but there’s no standard format for how that data is shared from Walmart to Target to Amazon. “If you are a multi-retailer CPG, making sense of retail data for supply chain management, demand planning, assortment planning, media and marketing…. it becomes nearly impossible,” he says.

That’s where Crisp comes in: to make retail data accessible and usable for teams across the organization on a daily basis.

For marketing teams, that means the ability to quantify each of those dollars and the impact it’s having on the business. That’s what Keen’s decision-making system enables – taking in a range of inputs and turning them into actionable insights to inform future spending decisions. 

Crisp and Keen give brands the full picture

Together, Crisp and Keen can combine daily, store-level data from retailers with marketing mix modeling to guide future-focused decisions in real time.

For Keen, it’s not just about tying a campaign at a given retailer to sales at that same retailer, but understanding the interconnectivity between channels. “Finally, CPG organizations are starting to structure around omnichannel, which is helping them to look across all the different channels and the portfolio effects of a brand’s media investment,” Dolan explains.

While the analysis may be complex, the result is simple: brands can understand what’s working, what’s not, and where to spend that next dollar for maximum results.

To learn more about how Crisp and Keen can help your brand, contact the Crisp team or Keen team today. For more industry news and best practices, subscribe to the Crisp blog.