Mobile attribution, or finding out how a mobile user noticed and signed up for an app or service, is a technically challenging task. And that’s changing the traditional business of marketing at big companies.
Doug Milliken, vice president of global brand marketing at Clorox, said in a panel at VentureBeat’s Mobile Summit that mobile marketing is now a technical discipline. Ashu Garg, general partner of venture firm Foundation Capital, moderated the session.
Milliken said another CEO with a technical background enlightened him about the change in marketing.
“It’s an important insight,” he said. “It’s a huge period of innovation, the greatest period of innovation in the history of the profession. And it’s all being done by computer scientists and engineers.”
Marketers have to analyze and juggle huge data sets and link together automated marketing platforms to run mobile marketing campaigns in real time.
“You cannot be successful as a marketer unless you have deep technical expertise,” Milliken said.
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Jeremy Wacksman, vice president of marketing at online real estate site Zillow, agreed.
Zillow has 90 million visitors a month, and it spends $75 million to $100 million a year on building its audience, and 75 percent of the users are now coming in through mobile. The company has more data scientists and economists than performance marketers.
He said that attribution, or figuring out what marketing spend is driving users to the app, is a challenge.
At Clorox, the change in marketing is driving a cultural change toward what Milliken called “responsive marketing” or “agile marketing.”
He said, “Real-time strategic marketing is a priority at Clorox.”
In the past, Clorox would spend a year readying a $10 million to $20 million marketing campaign. That’s a big bet, and so it made sense to get the campaigns perfect. Now, “good enough” works best in mobile, Milliken said.
“You optimize it as you go,” he said. “That’s a very hard thing to do. But now we add in the cost of delay. You may lose hundreds of thousands of profit if you delay a month. So good enough is better.”
Wacksman said, “We’re a younger company, and the market is you test. If you are wrong, you make a change. But you learn a lot faster.”