ORLANDO, Florida – Chief Marketing Officers’ biggest mandate is being able to figure out “Where should my next dollar go,” says Neustar’s Wes Nichols. In other words, how to maximize return on marginal investment.

“If I have an extra million dollars, do I put it into marketing or trade funds or into new production innovation?” is one of several hypotheticals that Nichols poses in an interview with Beet.TV at the annual Masters of Marketing conference of the Association of National Advertisers.

Nichols, Chief Strategy Officer for the information technology and services provider, says it’s no longer about just media or marketing. “That’s the problem we’ve seen in the old world of media where they were looking at backward- looking media mix models or you’re looking at silo-centric digital attribution when the reality is you need to be looking at the entire picture,” Nichols explains.

Figuring out exactly when and where money should be spent “is a completely different beast,” he adds.

An automotive client of Neustar asks “should our next dollar go towards a pickup truck or economy line? Should I put it into Boston or Denver? Should I move money from this country to this country?” according to Nichols.

It’s an attempt “to balance brand building and sales, which are sometimes at odds with each other,” he says. This balancing act has its own nuances across verticals.

In BtoB it’s usually whether to put additional capital into marketing or hire five new salespeople because “BtoB tends to be very sales driven,” Nichols says. In packaged-goods, “it’s that tradeoff between brand and trade funds.”

While not all industries are as advanced as others in terms of their appetite for more data-driven decisions, “We’re finding a shift from being a nice to have to need to have very quickly,” he adds.

While television continues to work well, “it continues to be the big bucket that everyone seems to want to chip away at. But we continue see the indirect effects of television to be very powerful,” says Nichols.

The company licenses tools to media companies to help their ad sales people talk not about ratings and eyeballs and “soft metrics” but talking about business effects.

“We’re trying to shift that conversation from an eyeballs to an outcomes conversation right now, and that’s how we’re working with television companies,” Nichols says.

We interviewed him at the ANA Masters of Marketing annual meeting in Orlando. This video is part of a series produced at the conference. Beet’s coverage is sponsored by Cadent. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.

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