I took in the second half of the MSI anniversary track.
The MSI, or Marketing Science Institute, is a 50 year old institution. It’s at the nexus between business and marketing science academia. As a result, it has money and databases. Because it has both, it gets to set research priorities that are influential.
The 90 minute track I took in had to do with page 8 of their list, “Managing Brands in a Transformed Marketplace”. I can’t resist.
Branding is a problem for Marketing Scientists for many reasons. It is not transactional, it may be measured in many ways, it manifests itself in many ways, and it subject to time lags.
Direct attribution folks are able to understand many things owing to the extremely clean nature of their data. They have a lot in common with finance in that respect. Direct attribution folk tend to gravitate towards direct marketing. It’s all very clean.
Branding is not transactional. A large amount of money goes in. What comes out? What comes out is very difficult to quantify. Sure, there are brand tracking studies and instruments like the Net Promoter Score. These are based on survey methodology. And those methods are not explicitly prospective, predictive, or linked in a way that an accountant can understand. Worse, such tracking is typically deemed ‘market research’, not ‘analytics’. There’s a huge range of freedom and flexibility in how to define success. It’s extremely resistant to standardization.
The perception of brands and branding efforts vary by country and culture.
The monetary effect of branding is cumulative and heavily time lagged. The effects last well beyond the initial investment.
Problems are good, because they raise opportunities.
We need a more structured way of thinking about brands. It should exist.
The first day went very well.