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Data-Driven Media Buying Is About More Than Just Collecting Data

by Andrea Schreiber

published on 2017-10-07 07:50:00

100% Gut to 100% Data

Department store owner John Wanamaker reportedly complained back in 1879 that “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” Advertisers have been trying to solve the problem ever since. And, when it comes to traditional media, many marketers are still largely guessing. 

Among the questions in Borrell Associates annual survey of local advertising decision-makers was this beauty: using a sliding scale of "100% Gut" to "100% Data," advertisers were asked to indicate how they decided to buy a particular advertising solution (click here to see the chart). Traditional media leads the gut end of the spectrum, starting with Outdoor, while search engine marketing purports to be the most data driven media-buying decision.

What Does “Works” Mean Exactly? 

While the flood of data that comes with digital advertising helps determine what works most effectively, it doesn’t answer the fundamental challenge which is, what does “works” mean exactly? 

The Client Strategy team likes to say that we practice measurement-focused marketing. Not only do we want to meet objectives and solve problems, we think the results should demonstrate our success and that requires that we clearly identify the problem we’re solving. 

This year, objectives have been as varied as these: 
  • Grow online donations to a local non-profit 
  • Sell more new vehicles from a metro Detroit car dealer to buyers in Florida 
  • Acquire email addresses for a regional retailer
  • Increase the number of in-store shoppers at a local furniture store
  • Attract more participants to a northern Michigan ski event
Every campaign helps us to understand which tactics work when (and when they do not). One-hundred and thirty-eight years after John Wanamaker made his famous complaint, we think solutions should be less gut and more data-driven, whatever the media mix.

To take advantage of our industry leading data-driven solutions contact us at or call 313.222.2775.

Posted by Andrea Schreiber, Sr. Client Strategy Manager,