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MSW-ARS’s Copy Test Solution, TouchPoint® Completes MASB Independent Metric Audit

February 20th, 2018 Comments off

News Release                                       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

MSW-ARS’s Copy Test Solution, TouchPoint® Completes MASB Independent Metric Audit

Lake Success, NY, February 15, 2018 – MSW-ARS announced today that their advertising research solution, TouchPoint has completed the Marketing Metric Audit Protocol (MMAP), the formal process for validating the relationship between a marketing measurement and financial performance as established by the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB).

Using TouchPoint MSW-ARS is able to measure, forecast and optimize advertising messages – for individual ads as well as full multi-execution campaigns across a variety of media types. The MMAP audit assessed the Touchpoint CCPersuasionâ metric against ten ideal characteristics, including relevance, predictability and objectivity.

According to MASB, “The MSW-ARS copy testing system, TouchPoint, provides quantitative prediction of the likelihood and magnitude of ad impact on future sales volume and market share.”

Allan Kuse, MASB Director and Advisor to the MMAP Center, noted, “CCPersuasion is the first metric to complete a re-audit after substantial methodological changes. Not only did the re-audit verify the results of their 2009 assessment, it documented additional capabilities such as capturing how price premiums impact advertising-driven brand choices.”

Tony Pace, MASB President and CEO, added, “We commend MSW•ARS Research for their on-going commitment to independent assessment and review. This newest assessment of CCPersuasion proves that marketing metrics can evolve with the changing needs of the industry without being compromised. The MMAP audit gives marketers confidence that the metrics they use continue to be both relevant and predictive over time.”

MSW-ARS’s patented measure of brand preference – CCPreference – also completed the MMAP audit in 2016.

Art Klein, Managing Partner of MSW•ARS said, “By submitting both our TouchPoint and CCPreference measures to MASB for audit, we are able to demonstrate independent validation and importantly, recognition of our measure as an exemplar.  MASB had already chosen to use CCPreference in their own extensive research culminating in their Brand Investment & Valuation Model. CCPreference has exhibited the strongest relationship to sales performance of all metrics reviewed by MASB in that research, explaining nearly 90% of variation in brands’ market shares.  This review built upon that work to verify the predicting of financial outcomes for advertising before launch.”

Doug Crang, Senior Director of Research at MSW-ARS added, “The MASB MMAP audit provided the opportunity to benchmark our TouchPoint copy testing system against the marketing industry’s most comprehensive and rigorous set of standards for marketing metrics, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results.  The TouchPoint system’s criterion CCPersuasion measure is built on the foundation of the patented and previously audited CCPreference metric. In fact, CCPreference is a common metric running throughout the range of MSW-ARS solutions from early stage creative development through copy testing and creative and brand health tracking, providing marketers with a unique ability to better connect research from one stage of the advertising process to the next.”

About MSW-ARS, Inc.

MSW-ARS offers a product suite that evaluates, quantifies and optimizes the impact of advertising messages and campaigns comprised of any combination of touch points, including television, print, radio, outdoor and digital.  MSW-ARS helps marketers build brands by providing world class research solutions in the following areas: brand strategy, all stages of creative development from early concept to fully finished ads, campaign evaluation across all marketing and media channels, advertising and brand equity tracking, media planning and strategy, return-on-investment, and forecasting.  The company provides solutions and consulting to marketers across traditional and digital marketing including: media mix optimization, media budget allocation, media and message connection, channel selection, digital media and emerging platforms.

MSW-ARS has a roster of marquee clients representing virtually every product category, including: Consumer Packaged Goods, Retail, Financial Services, Telecommunications, Technology, Automotive, and Pharmaceutical industries.

About MASB, the Marketing Accountability Standards Board

MASB is an organization of top-tier marketers, measurement providers, industry associations and business academics devoted to establishing and advancing accountable marketing practices that drive business growth with tools like the MMAP Metric Catalog and the Continuous Improvement in Return Assessment. For more information, visit themasb.org or email info@themasb.org.

 

Evidence-Based, Customer Journey Management to Build Brands

January 23rd, 2018 Comments off

Evidence-Based, Customer Journey Management to Build Brands

The Opportunity for Marketers

As customers become exposed to a cascading list of product choices, store choices, and information sources, the opportunity exists to connect all the communications about any specific brand and product into a single consistent, coherent message relevant to the individual customer’s needs.  The customer journey has emerged as the concept that provides the opportunity to best deliver an integrated marketing communications approach at an enterprise level.

The various customer-facing functions in organizations now have the opportunity to integrate their individual, principal goals to deliver a single voice for building brands:

  • Customer Experience — Every daily contact point a moment-of-truth to opportunity to exceed expectations
  • Digital Communications — Automated intelligence and delivery to enhance daily relationships
  • Traditional Communications — Process creation and delivery fully integrated with digital in driving marketing ROI
  • Experiential — Events and sponsorships to cut-through clutter and energize the brand
  • Corporate Communications — One unfavorable rating or post can undo the entire marketing plan; authentic information content drives brand growth
  • Purchase site — Online and offline, 24/7 access and critical convergence of messaging

Common Ground toward Effective Brand-Building

All these functions have been departing from their parallel paths and converging based around the following premises:

  • All brands are vulnerable to losing customers through a single bad experience.
  • Brand strength is created through a history of positive experiences.
  • Every characteristic of the brand involves communications and relies upon communications for success.
  • The customer journey concept is an extension of past models for consumer decision-making.
  • Traditional and digital communications must be integrated which requires their development processes to become integrated.
  • All the functions involved still rely upon key, evidence-based, branding concepts – The MSW-ARS RDE model for brand-building links closely to the customer journey map for any defined product segment.

The opportunity exists to apply common metrics that measure short-term and long-term communications success across functions, within functions, and within elements of each function, across a customer journey.

Evidence-Based Metrics; the Common Language for Integration

Metrics that truly capture the reality of the interactive contact at each touch point along the customer journey must be evidence-based to ensure unified direction and consistent execution across organization functions for delivering an integrated communications approach.

MSW-ARS solutions for each step of the journey contain the Customer Commitment Preference metric that is more sensitive to immediate unit share and brand franchise shifts than any other metric in the market.

Source:  MASB

The validated connection between Customer Commitment Preference and customer lifetime value enables the team to know precise return-on-investment for each individual element and the collective program across functions.

To develop insights to addressing continuous improvement within each touch point, any customer journey analysis must address three basic questions:

To capture thinking (cognitive) and feeling (emotive) measurement requires empirically proven metrics that can uncover both the stated and derived importance of each touch point and communications for assessment of both expectations and delivery to expectations.

Convergence around Customer Journey as the Key to Brand Building

MSW-ARS has developed empirical evidence of how communications work that can accurately connect short-term sales and long-term brand development to the performance of the individual and collective touch points in the journey.

Taking Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning to another Level

Previous brand experience is a principal characteristic for segmentation and target opportunity determination at the need generation stage of the customer journey:

  • Neuroscience-based, unconscious measurement of derived importance uncovers un-voiced concerns before they become lapsed or lost customers.
  • Category measurement of attitudes and usage across all measurements and media formats to identify opportunities to get things right at the beginning and deliver a consistent, coherent message.

Linking the Big Idea and Content Development

Research on how communications works has been conducted across the MSW-ARS, fifty-year, database.  The evidence clearly indicates that the key message of any product is built into the product design.  This was reported most recently by the MASB, the Marketing Accountability Standards Board at the 2017 Annual Conference for the Advertising Research Foundation.

Therefore, the opportunity for integration of the various communications programs must start at the beginning.

The MSW-ARS Sifter product has been designed specifically to measure the strength of the Value Proposition.  Additionally, the approach provides an assessment of effectiveness in delivering this value proposition that can be attributed to various communications elements and that can be applied in long-form and short-form content for scaling across every customer touch point.

Sifter is not intended to replace AI in the CRM/Marketing Automation system.  Sifter complements AI by:

  • Ensuring that the communications program has an effective launch.
  • Supports first mover growth opportunities for the brand.
  • Provides the foundation for insights at the need generation stage and future learning from AI contacts.
  • Can be integrated into decision-support, desktop applications to help serve as a cross-functional theme for coordinated, daily message responses.
  • Ensures delivery of the fundamental, brand value proposition across all touch points.

Touch Point Effectiveness

The MSW-ARS TouchPoint product is also founded on more than fifty years of empirical evidence for how communications work.  The successful application of this solution and the certainty of its ability to predict results and lower business risk have been proven in a study by the MASB involving multiple communications research firms across twelve categories.   The MASB study results have been presented to the ARF and the AMA, written about in The Economist, The International Finance Review, The Journal of Brand Management and CFO Magazine, and has been discussed with the IASB (The International Accounting Standards Board).  Customer Commitment Preference is linked to Market Share & Cash Flow and hence to the NPV of the brand.

The Touch Point solution is flexible to allow brand teams to intervene and test any point along the journey at any time to develop empirical knowledge for continuous improvement.

Success at the Moments of Truth

Effective communications during the consideration, engagement and evaluation stages lead to inclusion in the consideration set at the first moment of truth when the purchase is made.  Communications then strengthen the purchase and remove dissonance at the second moment of truth when the customer receives service for the product.

Application of the MSW-ARS ACCU*TRAK solution allows company and brand teams to invest resources at a precise point in the journey that will most effectively improve both the contribution of that single touch point, but, more importantly, the overall unit share results sought by each of the various marketing functions.

Conclusion

Organizational changes indicate that brands fully understand the need to integrate the various functions, but, don’t yet fully understand how to link them in an effective manner.  MSW-ARS has an answer to this need that will allow brands to move ahead of their competitors in making this critical adjustment to finding common ground… cross-functional, evidence-based metrics that will enable marketing organizations to successfully implement integrated marketing plans across each customer journey.

Surpassing the Norm – Better Approaches to Providing Meaningful Context – Part I

August 13th, 2015 Comments off

Context is important.  Consider the story of little Johnny, just returned from school with a test paper for his father to sign.

“Hi Dad, could you please sign this for me,” Johnny said uncertainly, handing the paper to his father.

“Mm, a 75 huh,” Dad said thoughtfully pursing his lips, “what was the class average?”

“75,” said Johnny slowly.

“Oh, not bad then,” Dad smiled.

Suddenly feeling the need for full disclosure, Johnny continued, “We took the test on the day of the class trip to the aviary that I didn’t go on due to my irrational fear of being carried away by a giant eagle.  Only three of us didn’t go – the teacher left a test for us to do so we wouldn’t be bored.”

Dad raised an eyebrow. “I see,” he said, “how did the other two do?”

“Well, there was a new kid who didn’t go because he didn’t have a signed consent form.  He got a 50, but then he’d never studied fractions before…”

“Oh,” said Dad, quickly computing in his head, “so the other must’ve gotten a 100?”

“Yeah,” said Johnny, “but that was Joey DaBrain – he always gets a 100!”

“Hmm,” said Dad as he handed back the signed paper and slowly walked away, puzzling over whether Johnny really had performed acceptably on this test or whether it really even mattered.

While this scenario may seem slightly bizarre, it highlights the importance of context in evaluating performance, and reflects on some troubling issues plaguing the communications research industry in the provision of benchmarks to put research results in proper context for making crucial decisions for a brand’s communication strategy.

We may be comforted to know that our new advertisement is performing “at norm” when tested, but how can we be confident that a benchmark provided by our research supplier is truly relevant for our brand?  Unfortunately it may not be, since traditional norms – typically category or industry averages – are affected by a variety of issues which may render them inappropriate or even misleading.

Representation:  A benchmark can only be as strong as its representation.  The average of the three students who took the math test is not likely to be representative of the average ability of all 25 students in the class.  A norm computed for a particular category is likely to be composed of whatever the research supplier has at hand, rather than a representation of the category as a whole.  And composition can clearly make a difference in practice.

Take for example average MSW●ARS CCPersuasion scores for four major brands in the same household products category, as shown in the following chart.  The average scores between the brands vary considerably.  The average across all four brands is 7.7.  However as the graphic illustrates, excluding either the strongest scoring or weakest scoring brand can dramatically affect the overall average.  The answer to ‘how are we doing’ for Brand A would be considerably different based on the presence or absence of brands B or D in the normative computations.

norm-fig-01Brand Development: We likely wouldn’t hold Johnny to the same standard as Joey DaBrain when it comes to results on a math test.  Children have unique strengths and should be treated accordingly.  The same is true for brands.  Even if a benchmark were to account for all brands in a given category, it is not a given that this benchmark would then be appropriate for application to research results for all brands in the category.

This is because brands have unique situations that should be accounted for in assessing effectiveness of commercial communications.  A brand team with a new entry to the category shouldn’t necessarily be held to the same standard as the category leader.  As an example, the variation in purchase intent levels for seven different brands in a personal care category shows how a one-size-fits-all approach to normative data will give a misleading result for many brands.

norm-fig-02Consistency: We may attempt to expand the context for understanding Johnny’s test result by considering the class next door, which recently had a test on fractions.  However the results for the other class are obviously affected by the teacher’s choice of questions and typical difficultly level of his or her tests.  When it comes to normative data, similar considerations are also in play.  If we are considering a verbal metric, results could potentially be affected by such factors as question wording, type of scale used, placement within the questionnaire and sample group considered.

Even for a behavioral metric with a consistent and rigorously monitored methodology such as CCPersuasion, there can be differences in how brands in the same category define their competitive brand set, particularly in categories that are somewhat ambiguous or can be defined more broadly or narrowly.  Such differences may again make comparisons to category averages less meaningful than first presumed.

Availability:  In some cases, particularly in new or emerging categories, it may be difficult or impossible to formulate normative data for a specific category or even broader industry segment.  Or for smaller categories, it may be necessary to reach far back in time to assemble sufficient cases, leaving the resulting norms susceptible to changes in market conditions, consumer sentiment or research methods.

Scope: A category norm requires historical test results for the metric of interest across a reasonably robust number of brands and overall cases.  So by definition, such a metric will need to be general enough to be in broad use in the research industry.  This will include common metrics such as liking, purchase intent, awareness and so forth.  While benchmarks may be readily available for these metrics, this likely will not be the case for many of the brand-specific metrics that the brand team is particularly interested in, which leads to the last and perhaps most important issue with normative data – meaningfulness.

Meaningfulness:   Beyond the appropriateness of the “class average” of 75 as a benchmark for Johnny’s performance on the math test, perhaps the larger issue was whether the test result was at all meaningful in predicting Johnny’s success in the course, given that it was likely a make-work exercise for the students not participating in the class trip.  Similarly, while much effort may go into providing normative benchmarks for a battery of standard metrics, are the resulting comparisons useful to the brand?

Generally, a given metric may be considered useful in the assessment of commercial communication if it is either predictive enough of in-market effectiveness (typically sales-response) to be useful as an overall success criterion, or is specifically related to the brand or category in such a way as to guide revisions or future developmental work.  Unfortunately, the metrics for which normative data is typically available, such as liking and recall/awareness, are too general to provide specific guidance to the brand, and they have been shown not to have a strong enough relationship to in-market effectiveness to be appropriate as a success criterion, as for example in matched-market advertising weight and copy tests:

norm-fig-03

Despite these issues, research managers desire context for their research results – and rightly so, as context is imperative.  Part II of this series will highlight approaches pioneered by MSW●ARS that provide appropriate context for research results while avoiding the pitfalls which beset standard normative data.

Please contact your MSW●ARS representative to learn more.