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How to use technology to make smarter, faster and more profitable decisions–on time

Market in time

Knowing how and where to spend your marketing dollars can often feel like a guessing game. This is, in part, due to the old approach of relying on your gut and outdated, standalone reports to make multimillion-dollar investment decisions, which, in turn, make forecasting future opportunities a challenge.     

Marketing plans typically happen as part of annual budgeting and are based on two key variables: investment level (how much you spend) and channels (where you spend it). But only looking only at dollars and tactics gives a flat, two-dimensional view at best–there’s no depth or ability to understand the ebb and flow of effectiveness, and no way to measure relative impact and importance. 

As a result, marketers often overspend in certain seasons when those incremental dollars won’t generate incremental sales and underspend when those dollars could be more productive. With the proliferation and fragmentation of marketing channels, making decisions by gut or in reference to historical data is insufficient to optimize value creation and mitigate risks. 

Act sooner, smarter, and faster

Traditionally, marketers looked at plans in annual time units and measured them accordingly. That means a year of marketing spend is sunk before you get a read on how that investment is performing, with the potential for a lot of what-if scenarios to occur in those 12 months. But advances in machine-learning and AI technology have made it possible—and advisable—for marketers to introduce a third dimension into their marketing mix planning—timing. 

An inherent benefit of technology is its ability to speed things up and automate the process of doing more math and breaking analyses down into smaller units. Adding the power of algorithms makes it feasible to calculate the impact of each channel for each week of the plan and project contribution over the long-term, typically six years into the future, so marketers can look at their investments with an unprecedented level of comparability and clarity.

This kind of platform gives you the ability to optimize your marketing mix across all channels and weeks to maximize the value generated from the dollars you spend, minimize the risk of veering off course, and follow the response curve for each tactic to the point of diminishing return.

Prove maximum value, minimal risk

For too long, marketers have suffered from vanity metrics that tell a lovely story about the tactic but don’t reflect the impact on value creation. This has created a costly gap between marketing and the rest of the C-suite, with CMOs spending the least amount of time in their roles at just 40 months on average, according to the latest Spencer Stuart study

Marketing mix modeling and multi-touch attribution measure past performance, which helps brand managers justify what they did, but offers little direction for the future. However, as martech performance-management technologies evolve, they are closing the gap, equipping marketers to toss aside vanity in favor of accurate forecasts of potential financial contribution and prescriptive guidance for how to deliver. 

Now, marketing, finance, sales and agency partners can share one clear view of the marketing plan and anticipated revenue and/or profitability with the ability to compare actuals to forecast, resulting in an increase of cross-functional collaboration, coordination, and confidence. 

Stop wasting time

Knowing when to activate your marketing plan is as important as getting the channel mix itself right. That’s why it’s essential  to learn and prepare for the opportunities–and pitfalls–2023 might bring with it, including inflation, Covid variants, increases in online buying, and a likely recession. Ultimately, our technology can get you there faster and smarter, allowing you to deliver more sales with greater continuity and higher profitability. 

Keen to know more? Read our guide for a deeper understanding of the importance of time in your go-to market strategy and see real-life examples of brands we have partnered with to optimize spend and increase ROI with our future-focused modeling.

Because time is money, and you can’t afford to wait.

Download the guide.

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Future-power your profitability with Keen

Stop waiting on last years’ reports

Knowing how and where to best spend your marketing budget isn’t easy. It is difficult to predict shifting economic conditions, such as inflation, seasonality, a global pandemic, or recession, and how these elements will affect consumer needs and trends. 

Historically, marketing and brand leaders have had to look to the past in order to strategize and plan for the future. The old approach to marketing meant relying on your gut and outdated, static, standalone reports to make multi-million-dollar investment decisions. This made forecasting opportunities and selling them to senior management a challenge.    

With the industry’s first and only decision optimization engine rooted in predictive analytics, Keen Decision Systems empowers you to plan, adjust, and report on your marketing mix strategy faster—and with more accuracy—replacing the delays and data gaps of the old-school marketing mix modeling (MMM) approach.

This allows you to pinpoint the optimal future investment for each channel on a weekly basis, update your plan at any time to encourage in-flight optimization, and support highly optimized marketing and sales investment decisions. 

The Keen difference

At Keen, we meet you where you are, so you can make the right decisions for your brand, right now, and find your nexus of profitability and performance. With our unique platform, we strive to help clients: 

Illuminate. Start your planning from a higher vantage point to uncover how decisions across all interactions impact your whole funnel. Chart the best paths to reach your goals, and account real time market conditions, like a recession, a global pandemic, or supply chain disruptions. 

Optimize. Augment historical insight with real-time data to run timely scenarios that surface the optimal places and times to invest. Quickly pivot and adapt as new market and societal factors emerge.  

Forecast. Quantify the impact of all dollars across all channels— by week, over time and long-term. See everything, so you can account for everything. Drive optimal profitability for your business by directly linking client marketing, sales, and financial data with market and societal variables.

Revolutionize. Uncover significant ROI opportunities and drive your modeling mix forward. Capitalize on Keen’s patent-pending marketing elasticity engine and robust database of channel and tactical norms to cover data gaps. Leverage prescriptive, predictive assistance that gets smarter over time thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning.

More dynamic than norms, Keen brings value with our Marketing Elasticity Engine that is informed by meta-analysis of 40 years of academic models, 10 years of client metadata and data from recent marketplace dynamics, and thousands of economic elasticity models and priors. 

Drive value that lasts     

For nearly a decade, Keen has been transforming how marketing decisions are made, helping marketers like you close the marketing proof gap by tying investment decisions to financial impact. Even when faced with a reduced budget of 17%, one client still saw 3.2% revenue growth + 9.7% revenue profit growth. We saw an average marketing lift of 25% for new clients in year one and an overall profitability of 41% last year for leading consumer brands. 

With Keen, you can quickly create multiple marketing-plan scenarios, each aligned with a unique financial goal: 

  •     Maximize profitability 
  •     Achieve a specific revenue target 
  •     Optimize a fixed budget 

 These scenarios account for both marketing mix and timing, as well as allowing for “constraints,” programs with committed dollars with timing. This helps weigh the risk (probability of achieving results) against the reward (revenue, profit, and cash forecasts) to determine the best approach for your business.

Get Keen

Start creating short-term and sustainable value today. Our statistical approach and patent-pending marketing elasticity engine provide reliable direction–even with sparse or poor-quality data–and puts predictive decision-making power at marketers’ fingertips. Make your first decision within days, and tap in any time to continually improve outcomes.

Know more, now–because the more you know, the more you can optimize for what comes next. 

Request a demo model today!

 

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Talking mathematical marketing with Andy Judd, COO of Laird Foods

Marketing complexity has ushered in the age of the mathematician marketer, meaning analytic skills have never been more necessary. The ability to create and produce a strong and relevant narrative is a large part of success, but so is setting the right foundation to help confidently predict performance and profitability.

In the first installment of our interview series, ReveNew, Keen CEO Greg Dolan sat down with Andy Judd, COO at Laird Superfoods and former CMO at Yasso, to discuss what challenges—and opportunities—he thinks should be top-of-mind for marketers in today’s ever-evolving marketplace. 

Here are three big takeaways from the call you don’t want to miss.

 

Fluidity is key 

Staying fluid when you think about your marketing mix is more important than ever—and likely to stay that way for a while. Building flexibility into your infrastructure and teams is fundamental to your success. Because both adaptability and having people that understand the technical mechanics are crucial, you need to create a structure that matches the expertise and make sure you have technicians with a good baseline understanding of platforms. 

Meanwhile, from a hard skills perspective, while analytics expertise and capabilities are more necessary than ever in marketing, you still need to pair that with the creative ability to tell a compelling story. So it’s important to ensure your marketing team has a broad and adaptable skill set that can synthesize these components in order to produce optimal results.

  

No single source of truth exists

Because of the algorithmic advances in the field of marketing, you need to place the best content that’s native to a platform and build it against a campaign architecture that is mathematically or analytically optimized. Today’s market demands that we think more holistically and build a dashboard or platform view that can offer multiple pieces of information and cleaner visibility. Having a clear understanding that no single source of truth exists is paramount here, and a necessary mindset to develop.

It’s important to consider how to bring in human capital, the right digital and analytical infrastructure, and then how to activate that. When thinking about recruiting, you should make sure you are writing the job description for the right capabilities. Candidates need to have some mathematical training and dashboard-level training, as well as media performance marketing level training.

 

Protect against the grind  

 Unfortunately, there are still some common traps that marketers can fall into. One of which is the grind of constant fluctuation. While the emerging brand field is often seen as exciting and quick-paced, it can also be very demanding. One way to protect against this is through the building of your company culture, it’s a challenge leadership should take seriously. If your team doesn’t feel grounded or solid, how can it be expected to pivot quickly when necessary and still produce successful results? 

Another pain point for brands in this space are resource constraints, whether in terms of dollars or humans. Many brands will try and push all their chips into a certain place, and they don’t start working on incremental vectors of growth soon enough. The best solution for this is to start thinking about what plans need to be activated today–because building the capability set for what the next thing is must be learned and acquired as you afford entry into new spaces.

 

Putting the puzzle pieces together

IT and marketing have never been more intertwined than they are today. Marketing leaders need to constantly be thinking about the future and how to stimulate avenues of growth without seeing an increase in budget. It’s all about knowing how to optimize against your current go-to market model and thinking about how to utilize resources in the best way to create new opportunities.  

That’s one of the things Andy says he loves about Keen—the multi-model approach. For him, having data at different levels, telling a different story, and being able to pull them together on the same playing field to be able to make sense of it is key. And Keen technology does that by taking these potentially conflicting pieces of information and running multiple models to understand optimization both within channels and holistically in order to optimize and guide your next decisions to ensure your making the right ones at the right time.

Keen to learn more? Check out the interview here.

 

 

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How to Win in a Down Economy

With our economy settling into a recession, it’s likely many brand marketers and P&L owners are facing unprecedented challenges in the market. Inflation, supply chain disruption, budget cuts, and marketing team layoffs are just a few examples. The after effects of Covid have created an environment of tough decisions—budgets are going down instead of up, and we have to hit the same targets with less. 

Keen CEO Greg Dolan managed a brand portfolio through 2008 without tools or software. Reliant on an old-fashioned marketing mix and a 200-page PowerPoint that arrived six months too late, he tried to make inferences about what to do next. Without on-time decision support, he made the call to reduce media investment and deploy it to trade. This strategy not only didn’t work, but it also put the brand at a losing advantage when the marketplace turned up again. However, working through such an uncertain time brought him invaluable insights and knowledge that he can now use to guide decision making as we move closer to another recession.

Here are three rules to follow from his marketing playbook to keep your team winning through a down economy.

 

Focus on non-working dollars

When budgets get cut in a down economy, the playbook for staying profitable follows a few key moves. The first one is to focus on non-working dollars, such as agency fees, consumer research studies, concept tests, and market segmentation, that do not create short-term impact. Pushing those efforts out to 2023 frees up dollars to improve marketing performance today while still helping you become a top player in tomorrow’s market. 

 

Make budget cuts where they will hurt the least

While this might seem like an obvious rule to follow, the nuances of it are quite complicated because it can be difficult to make good choices in a constantly evolving landscape. So the easiest way to accomplish this is by using software to help guide your decision making. Having the ability to simulate external environments and conditions, and look at other challenges brands are facing, empowers you to make the right decisions right now. 

 

Take the guesswork out with Keen

Keen Decision Systems allows you to more accurately and quickly plan, adjust, and report on your marketing mix strategy while delivering short term ROI. This enables you to shift dollars to areas where you can see the topline impact by the end of the quarter. Replace the delays and data gaps (no more 200-page PowerPoints arriving six months too late) of the old-school MMM approach with the industry’s first and only decision optimization software rooted in predictive analytics. 

 

You can’t afford to wait

Brand marketers need the confidence and ability to prove they are making the right decisions during this difficult time. Because our product gives you real-time insights that translate to better results in a quicker turnaround time, we give you the power and knowledge to pivot your marketing mix strategy into one that gives you a winning ROI no matter what the market looks like.

Curious to learn more? Watch the latest Keen Takes video here.

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Getting ahead of annual planning

It’s annual planning time. The time of year when brand marketers put on their armor and prepare for battle, presenting past results to leadership and negotiating budget for the next year. 

After 2 years of Covid, 2022 was supposed to be a bumper year for profits. However, the war in Ukraine, resulting inflation and supply chain challenges have increased and complicated problems. With outside pressures building on the business many executive teams turn to marketing as the first department to cut costs. 

How can brand marketers advocate for their budget and communicate the effectiveness of marketing strategy amidst these headwinds? The answer: Keen. 

Position Marketing as an Investment Center

Too many finance and executive teams see marketing as a cost center because they struggle to attribute marketing activity to revenue.  Keen measures the Net Present Value of marketing. This allows executives and finance to put a monetary value on long term brand initiatives.

Uncover Optimal Channel Investment Levels

Marketers are empowered to budget accurately by knowing the point of diminishing returns for each channel. Understanding when marketing dollars lose value in specific channels increases efficiency.

These media investment metrics inform the budget and strategy of next year. By communicating the value of each channel, marketers are directly attributing revenue to marketing activity. 

Have a Plan to Cut Budget

Should your marketing team see budgets cut during 2022’s annual planning – yet still be held to the same goals and targets, there’s hope.

Keen’s decision optimization engine reveals how to spend what remaining budget you have while hitting your same goals. Keen’s predictive analytics, scenario modeling and decision forecasting allows marketers to:

  • War – game scenarios, to find the best plan before any money is spent
  • Uncover the best time to invest by channel to maximize impact
  • Connect marketing efforts to revenue

Want to see a 25% improvement in marketing performance even with a smaller budget? We want that for you. Let us prove it. Get custom insights today. 

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3 Key factors missing from your marketing mix model

There’s no shortage of uncertainty when building your marketing plan. Juggling the ever-evolving landscape of tactics, channels, and consumer preference is hard enough—nevermind that traditional marketing mix analysis relies nearly 100% on historical data that’s painful to pull, normalize, and format.

Here are three ways to make more informed decisions while demonstrating results—whether you’re facing typical market shifts or you’ve-got-to-be-kidding circumstances.

Predict Successful Outcomes

Eliminating your dependence on historical analysis can help you predict successful outcomes without having to wait around for stale data, hoping the market doesn’t change too much before you can apply what you’ve learned. Bayesian analysis uses both sales data and current market variables to deliver recommendations. This empowers you to execute a plan that outpaces market expectations and your competition.

Optimize Your Marketing Investment Timing

External factors impact how much and where you should spend. For example, if COVID is keeping consumers out of grocery stores, you need to be able to recognize the declining impact of in-store programming to optimize your marketing mix.

By estimating the contribution of each dollar spent into the future, you can account for long term effects, impact from spending in other marketing tactics, and external factors. Keen’s system does just that, automatically building response curves by weeks into the future so you know the exact optimal spend in any given week.

Quickly Respond to Change

Every dollar you spend in one channel has an impact on every dollar you spend in another, which means understanding all the consequences—intended and unintended—can be a challenge. Being able to quickly account for how marketing decisions contribute to or distract from your targeted financial outcomes—weekly, monthly, and quarterly—offers a continuous decision loop, so you can proactively make adjustments based on the latest information..

You can’t afford to wait

If you’re looking for the agility necessary to not just respond to the unexpected but to actively plan for it, Keen can help. Our team of experienced brand marketers, data scientists, and application developers have created a platform that’s not only evolving the marketing mix modeling process but also arming brand leaders with new capabilities to address the complexities created by a dynamic world.

Find out how brands use Keen’s platform to re-allocate investments to help achieve their goals.

Schedule a demo today.

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How Top Marketers Use Data To Accelerate Consumers’ Journey From Inspiration to Activation: 6 Tips You Need To Know

Keen’s Chief Commercial Officer Enid Maran recently moderated a roundtable for the ClickZ Summit, called, “Creating the Right Strategy and Leading Marketing in a New World.” Joining Maran for the discussion were:

  • Steve Kennedy, Vice President Marketing – Head of Digital & Media, with Nestle
  • Jamie Schmelzer, Senior Director of Strategic Growth, Johnsonville
  • Jenna Landi, Head of Brand Insights, Pinterest
  • Pam Quandt, VP of Revenue, Conde Nast
  • Here are six tips they identified for using data to more effectively and efficiently move consumers from inspiration to activation.

1. Simplify Your Marketing Metrics

Schmelzer: A big theme for us has been to resist getting lost in all the available complexity around both media and measurement.

One of the ways Johnsonville attempts to do this is to find a simplifier and put them in charge. Their role is to get back to the fundamentals of ‘Who are the people we care about?’ ‘What are the metrics we care about?’ and then ensure that everything points back to serving the people and metrics we value.

Kennedy: We can get data from lots of places, our plans can get super fragmented. Just because we can measure it doesn’t mean we have to care. What few metrics are we going to rely on to drive our business?

It’s about not getting stuck in analysis paralysis. We’ve got to get comfortable with the ongoing tinkering. It’s a culture of optimization that needs to get put in place.

You need to have a core of simplified metrics and a culture of optimization to find better ways to drive them. That’s the flexibility and agility needed to constantly have forward momentum.

2. Modernize Who and What You Measure

Kennedy: The digital landscape is fragmenting, so you need to play a role across that fragmented user experience, and you need measurement across each of those touch points. You need to be creative, bring in multiple sources and be flexible. Measurement methodologies change Incrementally across platforms. Bring the best you have to each touchpoint.

Schmelzer: People are buying brands they think reflect the culture. And the culture is pretty fragmented. You have to decide which consumers you care about and focus on reaching them. The days of being all things to all people is becoming more difficult. Get ready to customize your measurement and ditch off-the-shelf in favor of something that reflects the nuances of your business and your brand.

Here are some of the metrics I care about less every day:

  • CPM, cost per thousand
  • Frequency; it used to be so important in how you bought TV
  • Gen Pop Samples – I no longer care what 1,000 Americans representative of the general population think; we’ll never be all things to all people

3. Embrace Predictive Marketing

Schmelzer: Yes, predictive has become critically important. History is muddy going back to 2020. The world proved it was willing to eat way more sausage than we ever thought possible. We look at that date and have to chuck it as an outlier. All our baselines are built off 2019 when we look at predictive marketing.

Kennedy: Predictive marketing is imperative. It’s necessary. As you start to look at the value of predictive analytics it’s only going to increase. It needs to be coupled with sound scenario planning and thinking about it creatively. Even those of us doing a lot of scenario planning and downside risk assessments think “That could never happen.” The truth is 90 percent of it can happen.

Schmelzer: During COVID, consumer demand outstripped our ability to keep up. We had to get really good at answering questions like, “If we run this media and it creates demand, how much more product are we going to sell?” That question was no longer philosophical; it was down to the lives of our production people and their ability to keep up.

We can load it all into Keen’s platform and it will spit out a number, and then it becomes a matter of, “How close were we?” I’m excited to pressure test that capability as we move forward in 2022.

4. Refine Your Knack for Trendspotting

Landi: In response to our partners’ focus, Pinterest rolled out Pinterest Predicts, a trendspotting newsletter that layers in predictive modeling to build confidence in every number we are bringing to marketing. We strive to harness larger macro trends and individual nuggets for content – sharing as regularly as possible.

The role of marketing insights is helping us  tap into that cultural zeitgeist. Trend spotting helps our own marketing initiatives and advertisers to stay current and relevant.

We have a unique perspective because Pinterest is where people come to plan. We share those learnings as frequently and widely as possible via our trend spotting and activating insights newsletter.

Millions of new people joined Pinterest during the pandemic. The numbers tell the story of what we’ve all experienced:

  • 34x increase in searching for family dinner meals – reprioritized families.
  • Less anticipated was a 23x increase in searches for small business plans, People resurrecting some career dreams as well.

Schmelzer: We are really focusing on trying to understand what is happening to our business because of COVID, and what will go away with COVID, versus what represents more durable changes? And, what things were going to happen anyway that COVID accelerated?

Kennedy: All eating went home, so what’s going to stick? A ton of people got into baking. We hope a lot of that sticks and people see the benefits of baking.

Similarly, work came home. A fair amount of the population is not going back to the office. How do we take what’s changed and maximize those trends going forward?

Quandt: What is still really important is aligning brands with that cultural moment and how to tap into it. Our editors, day in and day out, are creating ripple effects in the culture and accelerating trends. Our role is to help brands tap into the zeitgeist of the moment and stay relevant.

5. Double Down on E-Commerce

Kennedy: Folks jumped into click-and-collect grocery and Amazon at a significant level. It was already happening; COVID accelerated it significantly, and it isn’t going back.

How do we knock down some of the barriers? We know these habits are going to stick, and they’re heavy digitally and e-commerce driven.

There’s no funnel; it’s gone. Just a giant ability for consumers to buy whenever and wherever they want. We need to work with our retail partners to be prepared.

Example: Quandt: Consumers want that instant gratification. For example, we saw the rise of craft cocktails and cooking at home and wanted to put power in our consumers’ hands. We created that with Reserve Bar, which gives consumers the ability to pick 3 types of cocktail ingredients and Epicurious gives them a recipe. It’s another example of driving inspiration to action.

6. Invest In Brand Equity

Kennedy: Standard brand equity is a measurement that matters more now than ever. How much equity do we have, not with the general population, but with the people that mean the most to our brand? Why is someone going to buy your brand?

It is driven by relevance in the culture. What you measure and if it resonates and is relevant to your consumer; that’s more important now than ever. It’s just important that we modernize the way you measure it.

It’s always a challenge trying to make sure you’re using the right data to tie back to the tangible benefit.  Actual brand equity tied back into marketing impact, pricing power and things like that. How do you best integrate that into your processes? How is it driving product development and content? How do they align to the equity you’re trying to drive?

Landi: Twenty-six percent of time spent on Pinterest is shopping.  One of the things I think is unique to the Pinterest platform is that we see brands as a critical part of the experience, not in the traditional experience, but very much a part of the journey.

The role a brand plays may be to help consumers who are looking to bake for the first time or to figure out “waist up wardrobe” for work from home. What’s unique about Pinterest ads are they welcome brands as experts and important content creators.

For us it’s also about ensuring confidence that your partner platforms are a safe environment for your brands. How do you hold your platform to a standard of accountability and safety so that equity is protected and encouraged? I love the inspiration to action journey; that’s where we want to be, not in a combative environment.

Quandt: Putting the brand in people’s hands and showcasing other people using the brand, for example, putting it in Bon Appetit showcasing the product in use. We’ve seen equity increases equate back to brand lift and consumer purchasing after that.

Kennedy: One example of an equity-building innovation for Nestle is our recent introduction of Ruth. The baking category is inherently messy and can be hard. One of the things we got a ton of phone calls about through our customer service toll house hotline was questions from folks at home during COVID about how to bake a good chocolate chip cookie. People fully believe we are experts here and they leaned on us,

We launched Ruth, our virtual cookie coach. She’s there to help. We downloaded customer service transcripts and tried to take questions actually being asked and downloaded our internal chef’s brain into it. The Intent is to  help new folks struggling with cookie challenges.

Click here to learn more about how Keen has helped other teams use predictive data to achieve their goals.

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Got Budget? Here’s The Best Investment Brand Marketers Can Make By Year End

Use it or lose it. It’s an age-old challenge for corporate marketers: In the waning days of 2021 what investments can you make ahead of the new year to strengthen your position for 2022 without impacting that budget?

The short answer in three words is simple: predictive marketing analytics. Why?

  1. Marketing budgets are on the rise, so you need to know how to invest in new, untested tactics.
  2. It will help you make smarter choices when unexpected impacts occur.
  3. Next-generation marketing mix solutions help with your day-in, day-out spending decision making, and machine learning continually improves your spending choices.

Marketing Budgets Are On The Rise…And So Are Expectations

In a recent survey of marketers that Keen Decision Systems sponsored with ClickZ nearly 95 percent said they expect their marketing budgets to increase or stay the same; a full 62 percent said they expect a budget increase.

How will you make decisions about which new channels or tactics to add if you don’t have past metrics as a guide? How can you plan your future spend allocations to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness?

The simple fact is that today’s marketing mix landscape is too complex and dynamic to make those decisions by gut instinct alone, or to rely on a one-time, historic marketing mix model.

Today’s next-generation marketing mix approach relies on technology to predictively and prescriptively build profitable spend scenarios across your entire marketing mix to help you make smarter choices.

Are You Better Prepared For The Unexpected Than You Were In 2020?

There was a time when marketing planning was an annual, year-end event. But when COVID-19 struck in Q1 of 2020, every marketer became newly aware of two eternal truths:

Historic performance is not an indicator of future success.
When the unexpected hits, it’s adapt or die.

The epic, worldwide pandemic stopped the marketplace in its tracks, and then slowly gave way to a very different and less stable market condition.

While the continued effects of the pandemic are still top-of-mind for marketers (53.7%) going into 2022, the next biggest concern is the unknown (42.6%).

What resources did you turn to in 2020 to adapt to the unexpected? How will you be better prepared next time?

A remarkable 90 percent of marketers who rely on predictive marketing analytics say it is “extremely valuable” for guiding future marketing decisions, while just 20 percent of those using traditional marketing mix solutions consider it to be “extremely valuable” for future decision making.

Implement Predictive Marketing Analytics Now, Improve Continuously

The great thing about implementing predictive marketing analytics (like Keen) now with your 2021 budget surplus is that you can be up and running in January, validating your 2022 marketing mix and then continually adding new insights as you execute so that you can update and adjust your plan to create the most value from your budget and reduce risk as you explore new channels, respond to new market effects and become a more agile, nimble marketing organization.

Book a call with Keen today to take the next step.

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ClickZ Survey Findings: Build A Better Marketing Plan, Execute With Confidence in 2022

Preparing for the Unexpected

“History has taught us to expect the unexpected.”

So said one of the respondents to ClickZ’s recent survey, sponsored by Keen Decision Systems, to gauge how marketers are preparing for uncertainty in their 2022 planning. 

The hard part about anticipating the unexpected is exactly that; it’s hard to know what you’re not expecting.

To marketers’ credit, just trailing the 53.7 percent of respondents anticipating continued impacts from COVID in 2022 are 42.6 percent of respondents who predict that “unexpected factors” will have the most influence over 2022 marketing performance. 

As one marketer put it, “Too many factors beyond our team’s control that can influence outcomes regardless of investment level; predictive marketing analytics would help confidence level.”

“2022 is as uncertain as 2020 and 2021. Will international and state borders open? Will there be continued impacts to the supply chain? Both of these things are significant external uncontrolled factors that hugely impact our business and customers,” another explained.

Budgets On the Rise While The Future Remains Unclear

Nearly two-thirds of marketers expect their budgets to increase in 2022, while nearly another third predict it will stay the same. Only 3.8 percent of respondents expect their marketing budgets to decrease. 

While that sounds like good news, only 17.3 percent of those responding said they are “very confident” in their strategy’s ability to deliver the strongest possible financial return to the business.

Some point to the high level of uncertainty in the current economic climate as the cause: “There are too many variables in play to be extremely confident  COVID & variations, political discord in Washington, supply chain disruption.”

Many respondents say resource constraints limit their opportunity and confidence about , “We could achieve our targets if we had more resources.”

Technology “Triangulates” Decision Making, Improves Confidence

The resources needed to improve their confidence in their ability to deliver on their companies’ financial goals include, not only limited human capital, but also smart investments in technology. 

Nearly half of survey respondents said if they could do one thing to impact marketing’s ability to create value it would be to invest in better analytics/metrics. 

“I could invest in better analytics, training, hire people and try new platforms.”

“We have no forecasting tools.”

“Our digital marketing has been a weakness; therefore, forecasting accurately would be impossible.”

“To bring desired results we need to invest in technology.”

Among the 20 percent of respondents who rely on historic marketing measurement to guide their future decisions, few view the insights to be “extremely valuable” (20 percent), while 80 percent find the information to be somewhat valuable or neutral. 

In contrast, among the 20 percent of respondents relying on predictive marketing analytics to guide their decisions about the future, 90 percent rank it extremely valuable while only 10 percent of respondents said the impact was neutral.

Invest In Better Technology, Create More Value and A Predictable Performance

Despite today’s climate of uncertainty, it’s clear many marketers feel they can improve marketing’s ability to create more value with the right technology.

But currently many marketers don’t feel they can predict marketing’s long-term profitability, regardless of their allocated resources.

Nearly half of respondents said they were only somewhat confident they could accurately forecast marketing-driven profit if given an additional $1M.

“If we could invest more, we could get better results… but we cannot be sure of the type of growth we would get”

Without the right technology, marketers already struggle to report on their forecasted long-term profitability, with many traditional marketing mix solutions offering delayed delivery of historical results. 

In a climate full of pandemic variants, inflation and supply-chain crises, marketers need timely, accurate insights they can act on quickly as circumstances change. Predictive analytics offers the ability to build an actionable plan, factor in uncertainty and deliver results around revenue and long-term profitability.

Marketers know–and have already seen– the uncertainty that awaits them in the year ahead. A predictive marketing solution like Keen’s allows a marketing team to be agile and pivot quickly to ensure their investments are working to achieve their forecasted business goal. Live, consistent access to Keen’s predictive models enable continuous updates so marketers can ensure they are on the best path forward to success.

While marketers can take history’s lesson and expect the unexpected, it’s clear predictive analytics is making its own statement: Invest in accurate, timely data and navigate any uncertainty confidently–and even profitably.

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Keen in Forbes: How Consumer Goods Marketers Can Push Back Against Uncertainty

Have you ever jerked your car’s steering wheel in reaction to an imminent threat, only to realize your overcorrection presented an even bigger risk?

That’s an apt analogy for what’s likely about to happen in corporate leadership meetings across the country as consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand leaders react to adverse market conditions on the horizon; conventional wisdom has instinctively been to slam the brakes on their marketing spending.

But what if that, too, is the exact opposite of what works? In my company’s history of helping top consumer brands create more value from their marketing investments, our solution’s Bayesian statistical models consistently reveal some surprising insights about how marketers can successfully navigate adverse market conditions and emerge unscathed, or sometimes in an even stronger competitive position.

Let’s take a look at some of the economic threats currently looming on the horizon and then explore some of these contraventional strategies and why they make sense when you can pause to consider what to do, rather than relying on instinct.

READ THE REST IN FORBES

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How To Eat The Big Fish: 3 Trends Every Challenger Brand Needs To Know For 2022

Challenger brands might be the little fish in a big pond, but their key advantage comes from embracing risk and innovation to stand out from all the rest. This bold desire to resist conforming with the status quo set by other brand giants extends to how these brands approach their marketing planning and strategy.

In our article “Three Trends Challenger Brands Need To Know” co-written with ClickZ, we address the top three trends challenger brands can take advantage of now to drive more value for their 2022 marketing strategy.

Here’s a sneak peak of what should be top of mind for these bold innovators:

Trend #1: Media Effectiveness

Unlike the big fish–who can use its size and strength to survive–the little fish has to be more creative and precise with its survival strategy.

The same goes with the much leaner budgets challenger brands are working with compared to the category giants they’re up against. So what does it take to make very dollar count?

Yasso’s CMO Andy Judd explains striking the right balance starts with a triangulation approach:

“Our dollars are disproportionately smaller. We have to be really thoughtful about where we spend and the creative we use…Yasso invests heavily and ‘ahead of the curve’ on people.”

Judd and his team then guide their most strategic decision-making in a collaborative effort with Yasso’s internal experts, support from their media partners and the future-focused modeling capability offered by Keen’s predictive marketing solution.

“We run a much more high-touch ecosystem of analytics and creative than I would run for larger budgets and brands,” Judd explains, “Because every dollar is so important, there tends to be an even deeper belief that every dollar has to be working, when in reality, a little higher non-working spend, especially when it comes to analytics or creative mix, will net better results.”

To discover the other two trends that should be top of mind for today’s challenger brands, check out our article with ClickZ here.