What you can measure isn’t the same thing as what you should measure

I was in London the other day for an event (pre COVID-19, now feels like it’s ages ago). Later, I had lunch with Orlando Wood at System 1, who gave a great presentation at the event. This is the link to his book: https://www.amazon.com/Lemon-advertising-brain-turned-sour/dp/0852941471

If we block the left or right side of a person’s brain, it will completely change the way this person thinks and behaves. The left brain is able to draw only a very symbolic and conceptual flower. Meanwhile, the right brain can draw the outline of the flower, but it lacks details. To be fully functional, we need both sides of the brain.

He also presented his research to show that, in the last 10 years, more creatives in our industry have been driven by the left brain (i.e., flatness and abstraction). As a result, ads are becoming less effective.

Orlando told me that one of the key symptoms of left-brain-driven thinking is that it is 100% data-driven. Everything needs to be explained by data … and data is the only source of truth.

Lots of companies are starting to offer a TV attribution solution. Traditionally, it hasn’t been very easy to understand the ROI of TV campaigns, though now it’s getting lots of traction. I do believe that TV attribution creates lots of value for marketers and that it’s better for the industry to keep measuring it. However, this doesn’t mean that TV attribution is the only thing you should measure.

I have a degree in operations research. It’s tempting to make everything data-driven. However, we are far from able to fully understand the marketing effectiveness in an accurate manner. This means that all data products available in our space provide only part of the answer. There are many important questions to which we have not found good answers, such as the long-term value of TV and other long-form content.

We cannot blindly choose what we can measure as our KPI to track. In my opinion, TV attribution cannot really measure the strength and impact of brand equity. It also doesn’t factor in the long-term effect of TV, especially around brand-building. If TV starts to use CPA as the only KPI to compare against digital media, then TV budgets will quickly shrink to zero. Brand marketers must believe in what they think is really important and continue pushing it forward, even if it cannot be fully backed by data. I know that this is not easy in this day and age. However, the strong conviction and courage to execute are key success factors in transforming the industry.

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