Compared to when I started a role as a trainee analyst with an independent marketing mix modelling firm 21 years ago, today’s choices for those in the market for marketing effectiveness analytics are much broader. So where on earth do you start?
I provide marketing mix modelling services myself, but this is not a sales pitch – chances are I may not be for you nor you for me. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula either, but what I can do is provide a few signposts and thought starters.
Because it’s what I know I have marketing mix modelling in mind but the same principles are relevant for other types of marketing effectiveness analysis, indeed in general terms they also hold for anyone in the market for expert consultancy services.
New, or been here before?
If it is your first experience with marketing mix modelling you may not know what to expect so will probably value a partner that has introduced businesses to the approach for the first time before. Most potential partners will qualify, but not all will be able to give you the time and attention that you need this first time around.
Be sure to ask these questions:
Perhaps you know what good looks like already – or you have not seen it yet and that is why you are window shopping. This is when things may get confusing because potential new partners will all have their own ideas and may be keen to use their own approaches. The trick is to stay in control and retain what you have that works for you.
Consider these points:
What is the bigger picture?
Marketing mix modelling is just a tool, not an end itself. The outputs will answer immediate questions, but can also inform wider marketing strategy, and either fuel or enhance an existing marketing planning process. It is worth thinking about that even if it is not on your current radar.
The right partner can help you to develop the modelling depth, broaden its uses and embed its outputs into your processes over several years, if that is what it takes. If that sounds good, what are your terms – would you eventually want to undertake it in-house? Having this big picture sketch and sharing it can help you find the right match.
Try to find out:
It is not easy to ‘try before you buy’ with this sort of service, but it is reasonable to ask potential partners if they can offer a modular solution. For example, a feasibility stage is where the data is gathered, initial analysis but limited modelling is undertaken. Put a break clause in the contract that enables either party to bow out at the end of this stage.
It is useful for both sides; I suggest it with clients whose businesses are in industries I have less experience of and will provide a go/no go recommendation based on the outcome. This is not free but is a fraction of a full engagement fee. I am personally wary of partners whose offer is ‘all or nothing’ in any business where data is involved.
You can also form an impression of prospects before engaging with them with a bit of old-fashioned due diligence before you invest time in meeting. When I am checking out prospective clients my first ports of call are Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter:
Aside from the more obvious background checks:
Potential partners may all be equally technically qualified to provide marketing mix modelling, but they differ in whether they are ‘just right’ for your business. Here are a few of the differences that you may come across:
I have not mentioned price. See this piece for my opinion on how much marketing mix modelling costs – budgets are obviously a constraint but be wary of treating approaches like this as commodities.
The best fit for you if you are in the market for mix modelling should be based on your view of a potential partner’s ability to:
Finding a marketing mix modelling supplier is easy but finding the right partner to unlock everything the approach has to offer is worth spending some time on.
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© Jo Gordon Consulting Ltd 2020