Optimization in some approximation of real time is the topic du jour and it’s a fine thing to buy exactly the right inventory at the right time, place and price. It’s even better if you know why you are doing it.
The problem is distinguishing between the rather easy task of applying targeting filters (demographic, geographic and behavioral) and the rather harder one of determining the outcomes required. In the cases of those outcomes that are evidenced by indigenous online events (you sold a thing) it sounds easy but the truth is that even here its hard because most often it’s multiple events that lead to the last one. The problem compounds when you do business in multiple channels and becomes exponentially harder when long term marketing effect rather a sale NOW is the principal goal of the activity.
The challenge then is to identify the events that drive revenue in your business and to optimize against those events. The variety of revenue events is endless; take an automotive company as an example and look at these events in reverse order from the actual or metaphorical last click:
- I bought my third Ford
- I bought me second Ford
- I bought my first Ford
- I booked a test drive
- I visited a dealer
- I used an online car configurator
- I used a finance calculator
- I visited a ‘model’ web site
- I visited the Ford web site
- I put Ford into my consideration set
- I like Ford
- I am aware of Ford
Getting your prospect to and through each of these steps has a value and a cost and what’s more each step will have a bottleneck of its own together with performance, communication and optimization challenges that go with them. Solving for these issues is marketing’s riddle of the sphink and a function of insight and creativity every bit as much as speed and efficiency.