July 06, 2015

Sometimes These Meetings Get Pretty Interesting

I'm at lunch with a digital executive - a professional on the vendor side of the equation. This individual is kind and charming and intelligent. He simply faces the kinds of pressures most of us face. Yup - this person is under pressure to deliver growth.

The individual is speaking about a major client ... a huge business. This individual wants this huge business to utilize even more digital advertising, and for good reason ... it's time to get paid.

This individual doesn't know something I know.
  • The client is also my client.
  • I have analyzed every penny this client spends with the individual sitting across the table from me.
  • I know the ROI of the digital advertising sold by the individual sitting across from me.
  • I cannot tell the individual that we share the same client.
The individual theorizes (quite accurately) that the digital advertising his agency sells touches 3/4th of the customers that shop digitally with the client in question. Because his agency is ultimately touching 3/4th of the customers/orders, he wants to impose a much larger toll on the large client. He argues that he is responsible for generating 3/4th of the orders. Never mind that sales at the company are flat since the dive into retargeting ... the vendor wants to impose a serious toll.

The individual asks me to call any of a large number of Executives at this company. The individual asks me to convince the Executive Team that, just because this individual can get an ad in front of nearly every customer, the individual should get credit for just about every order placed by customers.

For the cost of a caesar salad, this individual wants me to convince Executives that interrupting customers with ads causes orders to happen, and because it causes orders to happen, the individual deserves to receive increased toll payments.

There would be no return-on-caesar-salad-investment (ROCSI) on this day.

But most important, folks, is the world view of some in the digital community. This worldview is no different than somebody arguing that without a cash register, money could not be collected - and therefore, the cash register deserves credit for all orders.

You, yes YOU, the smart digital merchant, you create demand. The customer never knew she needed to purchase that jean jacket. You made that happen. The fact that somebody can follow the customer across the internet reminding her that she wants this jacket is largely irrelevant. You, yes YOU, created the demand. You deserve to keep the profit.

Your attribution work must be really, really special, folks. You must know your organic percentage? Why? Because the digital toll collectors are coming after it. A good retargeting program might be worth 1% to 2% of your sales. Don't let them come after 75% of your sales. Know your stuff.