Scott Kelly heads digital marketing strategy at Ford Motor Co. Kelly talked to eMarketer’s Lauren McKay about Ford’s integrated marketing efforts and why ads in online and social media are more effective for the Ford brand than Super Bowl commercials.
eMarketer: What are Ford’s core digital tactics?
Scott Kelly: At the absolute core are our website and web content, social media and online media. Online media can mean anything from display advertising on websites such as Yahoo! or content integration within podcasts. It also includes mobile advertising and gaming.
eMarketer: How has this digital investment grown in recent years?
The digital agency has been through a lot lately. In less than a decade of rapid changes in technology and human behavior, the digital agency has gone from “new kid” to “shiny object” to “acquisition target” to something that is now looked at as an also-ran to the thriving world of social media, emerging technologies, and the increasingly competitive world of the app.
It’s gotten to the point where, on an alarmingly frequent basis, we find ourselves fielding questions from clients like, “Do we really need a website?” or “Why pay for an online ad buy if we have a Facebook and Twitter account?”
Your options for visualising and better understanding the combination of media that assist sale across multiple touchpoints on the “path to purchase”
Back in 2008 I did an interview with Gary Angel, an analytics consultant at Semphonic, where I asked him about attribution approaches. What he said two years on is still equally relevant:
Attribution remains a significant issue for clients. In our view, there is no one right answer to attribution. We all know that first or last doesn’t cut it. But it turns out that channels interact quite differently for different organizations. It also turns out to be nightmarishly difficult to produce coherent reports on channel interactions that capture anything like reality.
Building an attribution model usually seems to involve a significant company-specific deep-dive analysis followed by the creation of a set of business attribution rules that are applied to ongoing reporting. This is an area where we tend to emphasize Analytic Reporting (reports that have a model built-in using programmatic code) to achieve reports that capture the complex reality but can actually be digested.
This challenge certainly remains in 2010 and I expect to gain increased attention in 2011. But the difference now is that there is a wider range of tools to help with this challenge.
What is digital media channel attribution?
To take an example, from my Internet Marketing book, here a search for a car rental the overall customer journey or “path-to-purchase” can involve multiple touch points from an affiliate to natural search to a banner ad.