Context and Introduction

June 7th, 2022 was the second day of the I-COM Summit Experience 2022 in Barcelona.  One of the first events of the day was a roundtable hosted by Mass Analytics. Dr. Ramla Jarrar, the CEO of MASS Analytics, had the pleasure of welcoming Nick Bridden, Head of Global Commercial & Digital Analytics at Reckitt, as a chair of the roundtable. Nick, a strong believer in measurement, and in his position of Analytics lead at Reckitt, added the valuable perspective of the client to the roundtable topic: “The Measurement Industry Post Cookies Depreciation”. Nick and Ramla led a discussion about the question of in-housing MMM in the face of Cookie depreciation, and whether granular MMMs can answer the industry’s growing concerns.

Dr. Jarrar kicked off the discussion by setting the context of Marketing Mix Modeling, and the measurement industry in general. She emphasized the industry’s need for measurement techniques that are inherently compliant with the new privacy regulations. These techniques should also be able to deliver a level of granularity that can answer to the high expectations that businesses now have. She, then, stated that tech giants have been encouraging the wider adoption of MMM by offering MMM-specific data feeds. A move she believes will tremendously help provide granular and actionable insights and recommendations to brands.

On his side, Nick emphasized that Reckitt were from the early adopters of Analytics and Measurement. They continue to drive the growth of their brands through ROI measurement across brands and countries. He also mentioned that Reckitt started their in-housing journey and partnered with MASS Analytics to pilot Marketing Mix Modeling projects in specific markets. Nick then added that he was really happy of the outcomes of this partnership and is now in the process of devising a rollout plan.

Diverse Attendees

The attendees of the roundtable were a diverse group of media agencies and major global brands. Their questions varied between the position that Marketing Mix Modeling will occupy in the measurement industry, and the specific changes that MMMs have gone through as they have been adjusting to the new environment. The latter is characterized by the growing number of privacy regulations, and the decreasing days of cookie-based measurement techniques. Some questions touched on how MMM could fit into an ecosystem of complementary measurement techniques that cover both strategic and tactical decisions. Examples of these techniques include, but not limited to, Experiments, Brand Lift studies, RCT, and Test-and-learn programs.

MMM is a Marriage Between Art & Science

As the discussion progressed, Dr. Jarrar clarified that MMM is a product of art and science. Thus, it relied on cutting-edge software to reach high levels of granularity that resemble that of cookies. She also reiterated that tech giants’ encouragement for MMM made this type of granularity even easier to reach. About the art part of MMM, she explained that the intervention of human expertise in an MMM project is indispensable. This applies to the very first stages of a project where the brand oversees data collection. It also applies towards the end of the project where the MMM partners are in charge of the final debrief to retrieve results and provide recommendations that respond to the business needs. At this level, even the best model will not yield the desired results unless the knowledge and experience of the MMM partner are deployed.  Dr. Jarrar added that what makes MMM a solid candidate to lead the measurement industry in the days to come, is its privacy-compliant nature. Even the most granular marketing mix model will not breach the user’s privacy.

Partnerships are Key

One of the highlights of the roundtable was the discussion about independence from MMM partners. Here, the majority seemed to agree that even though MMM  is available for any business that could dedicate the efforts of a team to oversee MMM projects, it is wise to rely on a partnership with media and analytics agencies. This allows the business to benefit from their expertise, media knowledge, and unbiased opinions that are based on more comprehensive views of the industry. These agencies could be the best source of insight to the modeler about the strategy of their investments, the message they wanted to communicate, and the execution details.

In a nutshell, the roundtable represented an update on what the major players in the MMM space have been up to. The audience members were eager to learn more about the direction in which the measurement industry, as a whole, is going. They were also interested in specifics such as the advantages MMM has over other measurement techniques, and why it could be the future of the measurement industry.