Measurement Is Universal, and Universally Elusive | Marketing Maestros | Blogs | ANA

Measurement Is Universal, and Universally Elusive

March 11, 2021

By Paul P. Robinson

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This is the second in a series of blog posts following a 4th quarter 2020 survey of ANA members on the topic of Commerce Marketing. To see the first, please click here.

In my five years at the ANA, and throughout a much-longer-than-I would-like-to-admit career, unlocking the power of measurement, in the form of return-on-investment (ROI), key performance indicators (KPIs), and other attribution, has always been the holy grail. There has never been a serious strategic conversation around any marketing program where the topic of measurement is not front and center.

Within the scope of commerce marketing, this is an especially difficult area due to the many facets involved. Traditionally, the challenges shopper marketers face when trying to tie the last few feet of purchase to the many tactics and touch points in the store are hard to quantify with certainty. The journey for good measurement has been a never-ending struggle between trade promotion, account-specific campaigns, and larger brand and media efforts that have never translated well to marketing mix modeling and other company-wide strategic resource allocation conversations.

As the definition of Commerce has evolved toward including direct-to-consumer (DTC), social commerce (via Facebook, Snap, TikTok, Instagram) and e-Commerce (owned and retailer) — all complete with incredibly rich data and measurables -this challenge has not totally resolved itself. (That being said, there are many wonderful technology partner platforms which are doing an incredible job of closing this gap — the topic for a future blog post and many recent commerce marketing committee presentations).

One of the possible challenges in creating clear measurement outcomes (despite the plethora of data that directly ties to purchase) comes from the incredibly rapid pace of change accelerated in 2020, along with the test-and-learn-and-fail-fast benefit of “new” channels. Combined with the low barrier to entry e-commerce channels and DTC sales, every piece of data is measured, creating a mountain of data that drives a greater commitment from data scientists and marketers to drive conclusive cause and effect growth paths.

In our 4th quarter 2020 survey on commerce marketing, ANA members were clear that every measurement source is important — from directly tangible (ROAS, sales and new category users) to those that are considered “softer” measures (like relationship building, awareness or impressions).


What is particularly exciting about 2021 and beyond is the consistent emergence of a “Connected Commerce” approach that is planting roots at companies in different industries. Of course, those efforts were driven by the mother of opportunity — a crisis year that required seismic shifts in how brands drove the customer journey and the overall user experience. These efforts have seen vital results in sales and revenue, driven key consumer and shopper insights and provided great organizational learning, while transforming the way many different types of businesses have addressed their go-to-market strategies.

This transition manifested itself from the quick response of “we’re in this together” messaging to personalized commerce efforts, capturing marketing “in the moment,” with everything being available to be delivered to your home, from ketchup to automobiles. The consistent theme throughout these efforts is that there is room to grow and connect with your consumer without ever meeting them face to face. Live events have gone virtual, and content has needed to work harder than ever in building a relationship that will convert sales. (To hear how brands of all sizes and all industries have thrived and what they have learned, you may want to attend the 2021 Experiential, Content & Commerce Marketing Virtual Conference on April 20-21)

Having not only survived but thrived in 2020, marketers are sitting at the precipice of what has been eluding this purchase journey efforts of marketers for so long — an unfettered seat at the table. There has never been a more transformational time in the history of marketing. Armed with improved, measurable data, marketers are combining with the innovative creative and technology opportunities afforded by so many cutting-edge providers. The opportunity to create true value-added, strategic and measurable impact to the C-suite will help to unlock the resources that will drive more value to the bottom line.

What a time to be in commerce!

More about the Commerce Marketing Committee: This committee focuses on the blending of consumer and shopper insights, driving growth via retail, e-commerce, m-commerce, direct-to-consumer, or any method of commerce experienced by a company/brand. With this expanded scope, our goal is to engage members in any industry. Please contact me if you’re interested in learning more about the Commerce Marketing Committee, the resources the ANA has to offer or just to geek out on all things commerce.

The ANA Brand Activation Conference series begins on April 20, with the 2021 Experiential, Content & Commerce Marketing Virtual Conference. For more information or to register, please click here.

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