CANNES – Harnessing statistical data for marketing decisions can help brands not only decide where to advertise, but also what kind of technologies they need. For Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a unit of Colgate-Palmolive, marketing mix modeling helped to uncover the need for its own data clean room to support a more granular analysis of its media-buying strategy. It also helped to convince upper management to put more resources into advertising.

“We’ve been very successful in getting buy-in from our organization about getting higher and higher levels of investment in our media,” Joe Keating, associate director of analytics and consumer insight at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, said in this interview with Jonathan Steuer, co-founder and chief executive of Anonymous Media Research.

Limits of Addressable TV

The brand generated a solid return on investment from advertising on addressable television, which shows different ads to different households during the same linear programming. The difficulty was that it needed greater scalability.

“We quickly run out of runway. So, we’ve been on a journey to try and understand by publisher, by campaign, by audience, how do people respond to our media?” Keating said. “That’s taken us down a path of wanting to build our own clean room so that not only can we get that information, but we’re in charge of getting those outcomes.”

Less Need for Middlemen

Data clean rooms, which match the records in different databases without sharing it, support these more direction connections with media owners while removing an advertising agency as a mediator. Publishers also can provide more insights into their audiences, and help to form a marketing strategy.

“We really struggle to get to the right granularity of data going through the agency, and I would hate to think that they didn’t want to have kind of full transparency over what they were doing, but it certainly felt that way,” Keating said. “Working directly with publishers has been transformative to us.”

The brand works with a global media agency whose bulk-buying power offers greater economies of scale. Other parts of its marketing efforts are handled in-house.

“For years, we were underinvesting in our brand and we suffered,” Keating said. “We’re in a much healthier position now because we’ve been able to be bold by having a goal that is common to us and to the agency. It’s been a really positive change.”

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