Thibault Labarre (Ekimetrics): without cookies puts Marketing Mix Modeling at the center of the game

We met Thibault Labarre, Partner of Ekimetrics, a data science company for 15 years, a point of reference in our market. Cookieless, MMM, corporate culture, talent wars, data culture in brands … Thibault addresses some of the main themes in the world of data marketing.

A few words about Ekimetrics, your DNA?

Ekimetrics has been a pure and leading player in data science for over 15 years. I am associated with it and manage the Marketing Measurement & Optimization offer.

Since our inception, our mission has been to help companies address their major challenges through solutions that maximize the full potential of their data.

Today, in a context of unprecedented complexity, this commitment is expressed in two ways. First and foremost, we position ourselves as the best translators to create the link between business and data thanks to our multidisciplinary teams. Secondly, we put our ability to innovate at the service of designing and implementing sustainable solutions

Ekimetrics’ 320+ data experts are at the forefront in Paris, London, New York and Hong Kong to develop data-driven solutions that will help our customers around the world deliver real competitive advantages

You’ve been around for 15 years, what do you see coming up lately?

As I told you, organizations face an unprecedented context. At the same time they need to absorb shocks associated with a pandemic, adapt to inflation that questions their short- and medium-term prospects, respond to changing consumption patterns, and initiate ambitious plans to secure the carbon transition. And from a marketing point of view, the fragmentation of the media ecosystem with the multiplication of channels and the disappearance of the boundaries between on and off and the advent of cookieless reinforce this complexity.

This evolving framework therefore requires companies to reinvent themselves and rethink their measurement and forecasting ecosystem: what are the success and performance indicators? Which measurement ecosystem should be put in place? How to anticipate action plans in the face of growing uncertainty? Furthermore, more and more of them have integrated this imperative. Every day I meet leaders who want to equip themselves with agile solutions, sustainable competitive advantages and who want to carry out increasingly collaborative projects.

Modeling of the marketing mix: which objectives, which methodologies?

MMM is essential for companies wishing to equip themselves with a tool to measure and optimize their marketing actions. It is a method based on econometric approaches that are enriched over time thanks to more detailed and granular data and methodologies such as demand forecasting, experimentation and test and learn (A / B test, geo-experiment, etc.), or CRM to project models on customer segments or the public. Simply put, MMM is the foundation of a unified performance measurement.

At Ekimetrics, we mainly use MMM for three purposes. First of all, we allow our customers to measure the impact of marketing activations on performance KPIs (sales, leads, traffic, visits, brand awareness) and to arrive at a measurement of the contribution and ROI of the various performance levers. Second, we help them have a holistic understanding of their business model and anticipate the field of possibilities by identifying the exogenous factors affecting performance. Finally, we enable our clients to optimize their sales and marketing action plan to increase the effectiveness of their actions. To do this, we have created platforms that they can use independently to access their latest information, run performance simulations or under-constrained optimizations.

This support starts from the reflection phase prior to the launch of any MMM project. This phase, which aims to answer our customers’ more specific problems, will identify the key questions that the solution needs to answer. For instance : :

  • What marketing budget to reach my market share goal?
  • What seasonality for my conversation engagements? What synergies between the media channels? What is the maximum investment level per campaign?
  • What are the most effective promotions? on which products? Which mechanics to favor?
  • What is the impact of my commercial activations? Does the ROI justify the operational complexity of implementing these actions?

Does MMM go beyond short-term ROI?

In Ekimetrics we have implemented proprietary methodologies that allow us to work on the long-term effects of marketing activations and to measure their impact. This is essential to address the challenges of our customers, particularly in the luxury or cosmetics sector, for example, and more generally of all advertisers interested in measuring their performance in the media.

We are able to measure the effect of the media more than 6 months after the activation of the campaign and also to identify the marketing actions (media, product launches, price positioning) that have the greatest impact on the construction of the image of the brand and baseline (the natural sales of a brand). In recent years, we have also worked in collaboration with our media partners to raise market awareness of the importance of taking long-term effects into account to ensure “sustainable” optimization of advertisers.

As the promoter of sustainable data science, we believe it is our duty to support the ecosystem in understanding long-term performance issues.

What is cookieless for?

We distinguish two main advantages at the end of cookies.

First, better control over the sharing of consumer information. In fact, by improving transparency and strengthening consumer protection, cookieless “responds” to consumers’ distrust regarding the use of their data.

Second, cookieless is driving companies to rethink their measurement systems. These move away from siled attribution methods, characterized by calculating the impact of digital media on online sales without taking into account media, marketing efforts and sales channels as a whole.

This trend brings MMM back to the center of the game, thus confirming its essential role as a measurement base. This is the vision defended by Ekimetrics for 15 years.

MMM and retail?

Distribution is a “playground” perfectly suited to the potential of MMM.

This industry is the epicenter of exciting issues like the multiplicity of sales channels and the challenges of omnichannel travel. These issues require the implementation of complete media plans that must play on the synergy between the channels, or the realization of continuous arbitration between the local and the global / national.

In addition, beyond the media, distribution offers the possibility to work on many levers, for a more efficient strategy, such as network meshing, pricing and promotion strategy or more localized service offerings and assortments.

A concrete case?

We have been supporting a CPG leader for several months in optimizing its engine resources, both promotional and media. We have therefore implemented a solution that is based on the specific methodologies of the MMM and allows us to respond to the challenges of companies at different levels:

  1. Propose an efficient and relevant allocation of budgets between product categories and the main marketing levers
  2. At the product category level, propose the most effective media plans to achieve annual goals: average budget by channel, seasonality, synergies, featured products, etc.
  3. On a brand scale, accurately measure the additional real and ROI of each promotional activation at the different distributors and deduce the most effective but also relevant plans for the sellers

We are already seeing the benefits for businesses of adopting a common language and unified measurement foundation to break down silos and simplify collaboration between media, finance, commerce, etc. teams.

Users benefit from accurate and solid insights and can focus on making informed decisions thanks to the forecasting and performance optimization modules.

On average, we measure 10% to 20% efficiency gains from these projects.

You have been in Ekimetrics for 10 years. What is the corporate culture? How to keep talent in times of shortage?

Ekimetrics’ independence is based on sustainable and profitable growth. Since our creation, we have had a very entrepreneurial culture that has allowed us to constantly develop new solutions, focused on the needs of our customers, leaving great freedom for our employees to build their own path.

We have gradually strengthened our approach to retaining our talents with training programs, a wide variety of projects, time dedicated to innovation and internal projects. This contributes to the creation of an environment conducive to discovery and initiative taking, as well as to a dedramatization of bankruptcy, precisely so as not to inhibit this risk-taking.

I myself had the opportunity to experience a 2-year international mobility when we opened our office in London in 2014, or to participate in many internal transformation themes in recent years (training programs, human resources policy, asset building technological etc.)

Furthermore, all these initiatives are part of the 5 founding values ​​of Ekimetrics: excellence, curiosity, transmission, pleasure and creativity.

And at the customer, where is the data culture, in particular with regard to MMM, which concerns different functions and businesses?

Data deadlines vary widely between sectors, but also within each sector.

Companies are still struggling to gain visibility into their performance in real time, while others have teams of data science experts to create resources and support companies.

Let’s make a similar observation on WMM. We meet advertisers who have been practicing MMM for a long time and know how to use lessons wisely when others, who are very data mature, are still very new to MMM and unified measurement of marketing performance, especially among the many. pure players we support.

In general, it is about breaking the silos in particular between marketing, finance, commerce and studies so that MMM becomes a common language within the company. Furthermore, all these professions are naturally called to dialogue with each other because they share a common interpretation of the performance.

To do this, you need to reinvent some decision-making processes to make sure you have the right information and the right tools when it comes to making strong decisions.

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