MarTech Interview with Rohini Sen, Head of Audience Science and Measurement & Managing Partner at Wavemaker

Find the right correlation between slow and fast moving marketing metrics to drive deeper decisions, suggests Rohini Sen, Head of Audience Science and Measurement & Managing Partner at Wavemaker where she talks about a few evolving marketing must-dos:

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Welcome to this martech chat, Rohini! Take us through some of your biggest marketing moments and learnings over the years…and tell us about yourself!

I remember when my first client asked me to measure the impact of their Facebook page more than 15 years ago. Since then, the digital ecosystem has become so much more complex and marketing analytics has become more challenging and exciting.  

There’s so much opportunity for marketers to drive growth by implementing audience planning, measurement, personalization and integration across media, site, and overall consumer engagement. I love being behind the scenes driving brand demand and measuring what works and what doesn’t so that we can continue to propel a brand’s success story. 

With the emphasis shifting back to consumer privacy and rights – which are central to all media plans and partnerships we recommend –  we’re innovating and have exciting new products, capabilities and tests-and-learns in progress – like geo-spacial and advanced predictive modeling – that I’m very excited about.

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Can you throw light on some innovative practices in use by leaders in marketing and sales when it comes to targeting and reach the ‘’right’’ prospects and consumers online?

I think the key is to know that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Many solution providers will launch proprietary products or acquire companies that provide data and measurement solutions and push those solutions across their entire client portfolio. Working with partners who are product agnostic is critical for success. 

Being product agnostic enables the right mix of off-the shelf data (for scale) and custom audiences/ data sources. Strategic use of off-the-shelf datasets that is aligned with marketing objectives, can result in a competitive advantage even when others have access to the same datasets. Meanwhile, custom data partnerships might be more difficult to procure and maintain – but, with the right measurement and optimization approach, those partnerships unlock valuable untapped consumers and have a large pay off in the long term.

How can today’s marketing and advertising teams optimize their media planning plans to ensure better outcomes?

Strong foundations always result in the best outcomes. Spend the time and think through your KPIs and what kind of data is available to monitor against them. Also consider how frequently you’ll be able to get results and optimize. When KPIs are clearly established and an optimization plan is in place, there is a foundation to test new data sources, new partnerships, new audiences, and the opportunity to innovate, test, learn and grow. 

Also, there’s always going to be a balancing act between speed and accuracy – don’t put all your eggs into one basket! To help with this, correlation between slow and fast moving metrics should be quantified to enable the right decisions at the right time.

Can you talk about a few best practices that brands should be following to optimize audience measurement and analytics assessments today?

Know what is most important to understand for your business vs. what can be deprioritized. Too often, wheels are spun dissecting the nuances of minor metrics that are not significant to the business outcome. However, spending more time, investment, and energy on strategic measurement that will impact your overall business will drive learnings and growth well beyond the execution of a single campaign. 

For example, it might be most profitable to focus immediate attention to those audiences that travel from awareness to purchase most quickly, and you need to know who those audiences are. Or to know which audiences have the largest basket size/frequency/ROI.

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In all these aspects above, what are some top challenges you still see teams face and what marketing tools do you suggest they use to improve this?

Our industry has the opportunity to completely rethink the future of targeted media and planning as granular omni-channel measurement ceases to exist in its current form.

Models are going to play an ever-growing role in each phase of targeting, planning, and measurement. Survey-based solutions as well as limited-scale deterministic datasets will need to be modeled out for targeting, insights, and the associated marketing plans. More advanced measurement solutions will be developed to replace legacy solutions like MTA. We are moving into a world that will be more predictive and modeled than ever before.

A few predictions that you have for the future of martech and adtech?

Walled gardens have walls that keep getting higher in some ways yet more transparent in others. Their martech services and capabilities will continue to evolve and become more advanced for marketers to evaluate performance in clean rooms within each garden – which is a huge win for marketers. 

However, true omni-channel accountability and understanding will become more elusive, at least in the short term. While modeling performance via MMM will ensure accountability from a top-down perspective, granular performance and optimizations via cross-publisher MTA will soon not be possible.

For targeting, CRM based strategies are on the rise; however, they will have to be used in conjunction with cohort activations and contextual solutions. We will still have audience strategy, targeting, and personalization – but the scale, speed, and level of precision will decrease.

A few takeaways for marketing leaders and CMOs in 2021: top factors they should keep in mind?

It’s a changing media landscape, which means everyone is trying new things. As such, it’s a great time to take risks. Balance safer solutions with some calculated bigger risks, like investing in 1PD strategy development, or building 2PD strategies through authenticated traffic solutions. You can either learn a lot from these risks or come out far ahead of the competition. It’s a win-win.

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Wavemaker helps shape consumers’ brand decisions and experiences through media, content and technology.

Rohini Sen is the Head of Audience Science and Measurement & Managing Partner at Wavemaker

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