Consumers are more diverse than ever. They consume different kinds of media in many different ways. Further, there's no singular path-to-purchase buyers take. That leaves marketers with more options and questions about how, when, and where to reach and engage their customers.

As marketers are trying to determine the right combination of messages and activities for their audience, they are also being held accountable for sales targets and the ROI of their efforts.

Change is the new normal, and the pace is only accelerating.

The Shift to Agile Marketing

In the old days, brands formed marketing plans and established budgets to align with annual financial planning cycles and media buys. To determine how much to spend on specific tactics, marketers analyzed data from previous years or cycles.

The rapid evolution of marketing has forced brands to pursue more flexible planning models. In the digital arena, real-time marketing based on incoming data has been useful but only for improving tactical execution in a limited number of channels for a small percentage of the total budget.

Automation powered by algorithms has enabled brands to optimize digital campaigns and use automated bidding platforms for online ad purchases. But again, those are tactical in nature and don't deliver the kind of improvements brands need to keep pace with competitors.

Real time, however, is still not good enough.

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image of Mark Battaglia

Mark Battaglia is CEO of ThinkVine, a marketing mix optimization software company.

LinkedIn: Mark Battaglia

Twitter: @MVBattaglia