In today’s article, we will dig deeper into the topic of multi-channel campaigns and KPIs tracking.
We had a virtual cup of coffee with Gaetano Mecenero, an industry expert and former Head Content Marketing Strategy & Projects at AXA Switzerland, active lecturer at ZHAW currently holding the position as CMO at Futurae Technologies, where we discussed the key challenges that marketers experience when setting up multi-channel campaigns.
In this interview, Gaetano shared valuable insights and recommendations on how to measure KPIs the right way and become more successful.
Interview with industry expert Gaetano Mecenero
Gaetano Mecenero is CMO at Futurae Technologies and has years of experience in communication, digital marketing, and change management. He is a speaker and lecturer at Zurich University of Applied Sciences and the former Head Content Marketing Strategy & Projects of AXA Switzerland.
Could you tell us more about your current role?
Yes, of course. I’m CMO, responsible for marketing, communication and the partner management at Futurae Technologies. It is a cybersecurity company from Zurich that provides secure strong authentication and transaction signing solutions for banks, insurances, health providers and universities.
Since today we are talking about multi-channel campaigns, I wanted to ask you how many channels you usually use to run your marketing campaigns?
If we talk about online, we typically use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, email, and the website itself. And if you also count the offline channels, we regularly participate at events and conferences.
And what do you think are the key advantages of the multi-channel campaigns?
I would say it allows you to target the desired target group more effectively: meaning to the right moment via the right channel, using the suitable format with the right relevant message. And of course, it highly depends on which goals you have for your campaign. In my opinion, it is essential to have enough data and know-how to be able to define the right channel mix.
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What do you find the most challenging when you’re running multi-channel campaigns?
The first problem is the data quality. The fact is that it is not always equal or good on different platforms. For example, the figures that you see on Facebook depend on which filter and methods you use. As a result, sometimes you see different numbers for the same thing, which makes it difficult for marketers.
Another challenge is to have real-time data for the analysis and visualization of the data you use. It isn’t easy to aggregate the data that is stored in different sources. And even if you do that, typically, the data is not in the same format, which means that it requires manual effort to import it.
The other fact is the location: Switzerland is relatively small, so sometimes it is challenging to have enough data. For example, in Germany, the situation is already easier. So, smaller countries have this disadvantage.
The last challenge, I would say, is an inability to have a clear online to offline attribution. That is still not solved.
You mentioned many data points and data-qualities – what marketing KPIs do you think are crucial to measure and focus when running multi-channel campaigns?
So, in general, I would suggest only focusing on the true KPIs, which means KPIs where it is proven that the action or interaction has actually taken place behind. For example, it can be a comment, a share, a scroll rate, a video view. Other KPIs, such as impressions, are based on estimations or projections. And therefore, these KPIs are losing importance, in my opinion.
Ok, that makes a lot of sense! And what do you think are the most common challenges marketers experience when measuring these marketing KPIs during their multi-channel campaigns?
Yeah, so I think the main problem is that our measurement methodology is still based on a very outdated pattern. So given that the media landscape has changed massively in the last 10 years. It also has to do with media agencies that are still making a lot of money with them.
Another fact is that CMOs or marketers are used to show reports with high key figures. So the management is also used to see these high numbers. While those very high figures, such as impressions are based on inaccurate measurement technologies. So that is another thing.
Another challenge is to provide a transversal measurement, which sometimes is very difficult to do because it’s not fully automated. Another thing is that the amount of data is sometimes so large that it becomes difficult to visualize because the screens are too small. Imagine a company running five different big campaigns simultaneously, and you want to compare on the timeline: “ok, what was the impact from this ad or this activity to this?”. It is a great challenge!
And one main challenge is, of course, that with our existing measurement methodologies, these results are not detailed enough. While often depending on the platform, some KPIs can have different values. For example, if you want to estimate the value of a comment on YouTube: what is the value of this compared to a comment on a blog? At the moment, you cannot find it in any tool. Existing software services do not recognize that and cannot estimate a real value for both of these comments.
The last challenge concerns costs. If you see all these reports or these existing measurements and methodologies today, it shows only half of the truth. Only the media costs are reflected in the report, not the production costs, which have increased massively in the last few years in the context of content marketing. Nowadays, you have more production efforts because you have more channels and formats. This usually does not appear in any report, only media costs are reflected in these reports.
How would you recommend marketers to address these problems that you just described? Do you have any tipps & tricks or maybe some tools that can help?
I think that, first of all, the whole process requires rethinking. In my opinion, content marketing is the new marketing, and therefore we need new KPIs. That is the first thing.
And of course, there is an approach that can address these problems. We call that cross-channel impact. That’s a KPI framework that was initialized by marketing experts from Switzerland. And this approach allows us to have a better understanding of what we do. It enables us to check the impact of each channel and evaluate that precisely. This approach allows getting a quality rate of each channel, making it possible to compare these channels with each other and across campaigns.
Important to understand that this approach implies calculation of full costs, including production and media costs. That allows you to have a bigger and “honest” picture of your overall spendings per channel/campaign and depict how successful your campaign and your channels are. As a result, it helps you allocate the budget very efficiently, not only for the existing campaign but also for campaigns in the future. This new framework is already available via the first official partner nexoya.
I would say in the end, it is vital to invest in people who have the know-how or in tools that allow you to have these insights or have this mechanism.
Great that you highlight us obviously – but what is the primary value of such tools like this from your perspective?
It allows you to have a deep insight for each channel. Before, it was not possible to have this. And it was challenging to compare these channels in a really smart way and see how much budget you have to spend and especially how you can allocate it better. So with every campaign that you run, you get insights that you can use to optimize the next campaign. Moreover, as I said, it includes all costs, which makes reporting very transparent. I believe that this is the right way to analyze campaigns in this new area of marketing.
What do you think about the application of artificial intelligence and marketing?
I think the implementation of artificial intelligence technology is the only way to process large amounts of data, especially to be able to do predictive marketing.
Do you think that this is the future of marketing?
Yeah, definitely. As I said before, there is a lack of specialists, and even if you have specialists, it is a time-consuming process. In the end, the implementation of such modern technologies is critical if you want to have success. I would heavily invest in this technology or in these tools that have this capability.
Lets step one step back – how do you see the future of marketing in general?
Of course, it will be more data-driven, but that is nothing new. But I think the key is really to have a smart way to measure and plan campaigns. I believe that during the next few years, companies will produce more relevant content. They will try to push that more frequently to their customers. But, and here comes the “but” I think the customers, also users at the end, will have very soon enough of all this content. And I think it will come to a trend reversal: maybe they will also start to boycott some media. Then I think that the only way to stay successful will be companies’ ability to play this relevant content in a very intelligent or smart way.