MASS Analytics’ participation at the MMM Summit @Google 

The era of MMM Growth

Dimi Mittev, from Google UK, Opened the event in a room of over 160 very enthusiastic attendees. Dimi’s energy perfectly reflected the fast-paced and passionate vibe of the summit. His opening speech was supported by a very powerful graph that illustrated the growth of demand for Google MMM data over the past two years. The host preceded the graph display by asking the audience if they believed that MMM had become important and prevalent, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. 

When Dimi moved on to show the graph, it only affirmed the audience’s statement. In fact, the exponential growth the graph illustrated could only be interpreted as testimony that this is the era of Marketing Mix Modeling leading the Measurement Industry in the new and rapidly changing environment. One that is characterized by a complex consumer journey, a shift in the data privacy ecosystem, and economic uncertainty.  

The summit was made of 12 Speakers and 3 section:

To address this matter, the organizers of the event gathered 12 speakers from 10 different global companies. Some of them were data science practitioners and others were executives working with MMM. The day was divided into three sections. The first one was Lighting talks; 4 speakers shared insights about how granular data is key for the industry to unlock different and much more accurate results from Marketing Mix Models. The second section, which is the focus of this article, was a panel led by 4 world-class experts in MMM. The summit then ended with thought-starer talks that focused on the choice between in-housing MMM and having an MMM partner. On the other hand, they touched on how MMMs will be evolving to address future challenges.

The Panel: How to drive ROI during economic uncertainty

The panel was led by:

  • Dr. Ramla Jarrar, CEO & co-founder of MASS Analytics.
  • Matt Andrews, General Manager, Ekimetrics
  • Harriet Williams, Media Effectiveness Manager, L’Oreal
  • Robert Beever, Managing Director Media Effectiveness, OMG UK

Harriet was the first to answer the question about pandemic lessons and recent MMM trends in the last few years. She stated that “L’Oréal have been running a huge amount of MMMs” and added that they’d been having a renaissance of MMM. Robert from OMG UK shed light on the shift of conversation in econometrics from being ROI-focused (short and long-term) to a conversation that expands to EBITDA, Cash Flow, and Net Customer Growth. He explained that Marketing must hit varying Business aspects in different periods to provide proper support. And that it needed to deliver the campaigns that are most effective for each specific period rather than just stating ROI changes. Then he ended by asserting that ROI alone will not move Marketing onward in a truly significant manner.

Dr. Ramla Jarrar echoed the input of both Harriet and Robert and added that the factors MMM providers need to consider, go beyond the economic situation and data privacy changes. She stated that they include the rapid increase in demand that covers all aspects of MMM be it consultancy, training, fully managed services, or specialist technologies for in-housing. She also insisted that another factor to keep in mind is the curiosity the clients have developed to understand the hidden particularities of MMMs, and their increasingly granular questions to fully leverage econometrics. Then she proceeded to explain that all this has accelerated the pace at which MMMs need to deliver.

“The pace at which MMMs need to deliver is the highest ever, to adapt to an accelerated media planning cycle”

And that this trend is the reason behind the surge of number of refreshers (updates) that would reach a monthly frequency -in comparison to yearly and quarterly in the recent past. And what’s even more interesting is the emergence of restoring. “This is a lighter and exercise than model refreshers, and it allows the business to have a faster look into the performance of their most recent campaigns.”

When addressing the question of inflation Matt, from Ekimetrics, pointed out the different types of business and how exposed they are to the market. As an example, he used seasonality and how easy it is to break away from it. Dr. Jarrar followed up on this by expressing her happiness with being on a panel that acknowledges the importance of external factors, especially the economy in this case.

“The era when only media variables mattered is no longer viable; MMMs must be comprehensive of all the factors that drive decision making.”

She added that the idea of comprehensive MMMs have been made even more relevant by the abundance of data sources such as Google mobility, Search Query, The world Bank… “The trick here is that there is no-one-size-fits-all”; it all depends on the vertical and the brand. The best approach, according to Dr. Jarrar, is:

  • Test and learn.
  • Transform your data to capture their real-life impact.

The discussion was wrapped up with honesty and continuity:

A strong partnership between the brand and the agency was the main phrase from the panel’s answers to the third question. Dr. Jarrar broke this down into 2 main points. She stated:

  • Honesty is crucial between the agency and the brand. Brands come with a lot of expectations and want to be very granular. It’s important from the beginning to set clear expectations about what could be done with a certain amount of data.
  • Continuity in the relationship especially in times characterized by so much uncertainty. In the past, three meetings with the clients were considered more than enough. This model has long been dead now. The client should be a partner at every step of the project. In fact, they can be an amazing sounding board for the agency.

The last part of the panel was the Q&A session. And it focused mainly on the balance between automation and accuracy, and the role that brands play in the first steps of an MMM project by making sure the data quality paves the way for a smooth start of the project. The panelists also touched on how MMM can thrive in an ecosystem that encompasses granular decisions, and business drivers alike. But the highlight of the section was the last question that zoomed in on how to uncover all aspects of an MMM. The answers to this question could be summed in what Dr. Ramla Jarrar said at the end of her answer:

“MMM is a partnership between art and science. And behind each variable there’s a story to be told, the role of MMM is to uncover it.”