Tracking First interviewed Dominic Tassone of the Indegene Encima Group for this two-part series focused on the unique campaign tracking challenges faced by marketers in the pharmaceutical industry. Part one covered the challenge, and part two explores how pharma marketers are tackling it.Tracking First: Thanks for your helpful explanation of the unique tracking challenges facing pharma marketers. Can we talk a bit about the regulatory environment that impacts drug advertising, and how they work with it?DT: Pharma and medical device companies need to be very careful, particularly about how they market to consumers and to a lesser extent to physicians. All drug marketing has to pass medical, legal and FDA reviews. The regulatory hurdle creates another trickle-down of complexity, like requiring different collateral for consumers and practitioners. The drug companies have to be transparent and consistent with messaging to practitioners, while simultaneously working to create demand or stimulate interest on the consumer side.
Tracking First interviewed Dominic Tassone of the Indegene Encima Group for this two-part series focused on the unique campaign tracking challenges faced by marketers in the pharmaceutical industry. Part one covers the challenge, and part two will explore potential solutions. Tracking First: What makes the challenge of marketing analytics in the pharmaceutical industry unique?DT: Within pharma, you find all the usual challenges of tracking digital marketing that any team faces, compounded by an unusual level of added regulatory complexity. The core problem facing any team is keeping all of the tracking codes and parameters used for click tracking organized. This gets very complicated when you have lots of different marketing channels. And it gets more complicated when you start talking about multiple agencies and multiple channel owners, or different agencies for different channels, or potentially multiple agencies within one channel.
When you’re in charge of the Library of Congress, there are probably all kinds of pressing practical concerns. Daniel J. Boorstin, twelfth Librarian of Congress, appears to have made time to consider the big picture as well. He is credited with this assertion: "the biggest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge."Consider what this could mean for your analytics data and your business. If your analytics relies on legacy spreadsheets developed over the years in various departments, if the uploading of tracking codes and classification tables into your analytics tool is done by hand, if you find that your reports aren’t always capturing the data you want due to corruptions or mis-classifications of your campaign codes, then instead of knowledge about your business, you’re likely laboring under the illusion of knowledge. That’s why you have the sense that your reports aren’t giving you the whole story. That’s why you don’t feel you can trust them.
This past weekend, my 15-year-old was mowing the grass in our yard -- a Memorial Day tradition for generations of American teenagers. About half way through the job, the lawn mower died. It turns out he had used the wrong fuel for the engine. Though it was taken from a can that was sitting in the garage next to the mower, it was fuel that was intended for use in a chainsaw. Not only did using the wrong fuel cut short that day’s mowing -- it appears to have burned the motor out, permanently.The experience reminded me of the much-discussed challenge in marketing analytics of “garbage in, garbage out.” We are at a stage in the marketing automation revolution where we have a multitude of sophisticated tools. They can handle audience segmenting, attribution tracking, re-targeting and micro-targeting, allowing us to use consumers’ past behavior and preferences to predict their behavior to the finest level of detail and market to them just when they are at the point of considering a purchase.
I recently came across an idea that interested me in The Way to Design, by Steve Vassallo, award-winning designer and entrepreneur. He elaborated on a concept familiar to many engineers (and one that’s increasingly been adopted in the marketing world), that of “T-shaped” people, those who know a certain field very well and have enough understanding of adjacent disciplines to allow them to develop and launch products successfully. But Vassallo says that more is needed. In his words, “if you want to build enduring companies and really earn your seat at the table, I think you need to be π-shaped. That is, you need to have depth in both the creative and the analytical. Left- and right-brained. Empathetic and data-driven” (The Way to Design, Chapter 4). There may be certain people for whom developing strengths in more than one discipline comes easily: not just T-shaped, or even π-shaped -- picture a three-legged stool of talents. But for every person who finds this a breeze, there are probably many more people for whom one area of expertise is plenty. Given the value that such breadth can bring, Is there something that we can do in our organizations to help people get to the place where they have more than one leg to stand on?
Take a look here, to see what we’re reading and talking about. Some of the headlines:--Marketing Technology May Never Consolidate (But That's a Good Thing)Marketing technology has consolidated to the point where it looks like a pyramid: a few billion-dollar giants on top, dozens of $100 million firms at the next level, and thousands of companies with less revenue below that -- with that number increasing steadily. By revenue distribution, the industry is consolidating. But by number of firms, it's expanding: a common market structure in the digital age known as a "long tail." The result could be a market that is consolidated at the platform level, with diverse specialized products available to plug into those platforms.Ad Age(4/17/17)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a digital analyst, with a background in web development and marketing, takes a role heading up web analytics for a Fortune 500 company...and finds himself in the midst of chaos. The business wants to know how their marketing campaigns are performing, and they keep pestering IT for a more nuanced analysis. Meanwhile, tech wants normalized, better-quality data, and labels the lack of these inputs a “marketing problem.” Enter the analyst, trying to steer marketing in the direction of better data capture and IT toward a better understanding of marketing’s challenges -- all while advocating within the global organization for a greater focus and investment in the very data capture and analysis that these stakeholders have grown to mistrust.
It was a staple of the cartoons from my childhood: Seated on a river bank, an eager fishing enthusiast casts a line into the water and begins reeling in the line, imagining trout for dinner. Cue the laugh track -- what breaks the surface of the water is a sodden old boot.And so it is with marketing teams, enjoying the newfound freedom being pitched to them by various ad platforms. These platforms emphasize their ease of use in launching new campaigns. “You don’t have to wait for internally-generated Tracking Codes to deploy your marketing,” they say. “You can get the data you need with no hassle.” And marketers respond to it, because it’s mostly true. The vast majority of campaign tracking codes are no longer generated by human analysts, but by the Facebooks and Doubleclicks of the world. Within their ecosystems, these platforms accurately track and monitor, dutifully feeding data into the tag manager.But this presents a challenge to marketing analytics, one that can sneak up even when the tag management system is humming perfectly. When it comes time to analyze performance holistically, it works against your integrated marketing picture to have outside ad platforms creating cloned variations of codes that were carefully designed by the analytics team. Marketing teams don't realize that in reaching for "freedom," they’re also pulling in a lot of noise.
Tracking First is hitting a growth spurt. Since the new year we’ve renewed six annual contracts and brought on three Global 500 clients, two financial services companies and one leisure and hospitality provider.We are actively seeking agency channel partners to help us develop a white label partnership model that will allow us to work seamlessly with other analytics consultants.
A friend of mine recently shared a post about what it’s like to work for one of the Super-Innovator companies: Google, Apple, etc. It’s a great read (you should check it out), but one paragraph in particular jumped out at me “At Netflix...there is no expense policy. The only policy is, ‘Act in the best interest of Netflix.’...They tell employees to assume their best judgment, and they can be more productive if they’re not held back.”Think about that for a minute. What would it be like to work for an organization that truly prioritizes innovation over cost controls? It means the company trusts and values their employees enough to empower them to act on their unique insights. Kinda makes me want to cry. Maybe you’re lucky enough to work for such an organization. In reality most companies, for one reason or another, can’t follow this model fully. Tracking First for example, is a lean, boot-strap startup. I hope we get to the point where innovation is our most advantageous use of funds. I expect it to be a while. If you’re not one of the lucky few who ends up working in a super-innovator culture, there are still guidelines you can use, to evaluate if the culture is a fit for you. Here’s what I watch out for: