Forrester Wave Highlights Marketing Mix Modeling Vendors
Marketing mix modeling, which uses data analysis to measure and optimize the right mix of marketing tactics, is being propelled by the growth in channels, devices and analytics. A new report from Forrester Research evaluates some of the leading vendors. 

The report, The Forrester Wave: Marketing Mix Modeling, Q2 2013, is the latest in a series of Wave reports by that research firm on marketing mix modeling.

Why Marketing Mix Modeling?

The report notes that marketing mix modeling is becoming a top need for marketers because of several factors. Marketers need to connect across a customer’s life cycle, not simply through a specific channel or campaign, and this requires optimization at the most important touch points.

Additionally, companies are paying close attention to how marketing budgets are used, so marketers must back up their return-on-investment with data. Finally, the report points out that the “age of the perpetually connected customer is here,” and marketers need to harness the large amounts of data being generated from digital as well as traditional channels.

Each of the nine vendors in this Wave report have at least 10 active clients, are growing aggressively, support large marketing organizations, have a focus on marketing mix modeling and have marketing-mix-modeling-specific revenue that is more than 30 percent of its annual revenue.

The categories of evaluative criteria included the services currently offered, the strategies employed and the vendors’ market presence. Vendors were ranked as Leaders and Strong Performers. Contenders and Risky Bets were also available as rankings, but none of the evaluated vendors fell into those spaces.

Leaders and Strong Performers

MarketShare, Marketing Management Analytics, Analytic Partners, Marketing Evolution and ThinkVine scored positions as Leaders, while Ninah, Hudson River Group, IRI and Nielsen were placed as Strong Performers.

This is MarketShare’s second time as a Leader in a Forrester Wave. The report cited its prioritization of key business questions, and the “right mix of strategy consulting and change management services, customized modeling expertise, an easy-to-use mix and optimization tool, and in-depth cross-industry and domain expertise.”

Learning Opportunities

Marketing Management Analytics is noted for the efficiency of data integration and processing in its DaVinci platform, integration with the company’s Avista Mix Software, and ability to uncover channel trends and focus on specific goals. In addition to its ability to generate insights, Analytic Partners is applauded for uncovering the reasons for response levels, key business indicators and ROI.

Quick Intro

Marketing Evolution has a “unique approach,” in that, in addition to optimizing the upcoming marketing effort, it evaluates the effectiveness of initiatives against specific points in a customer’s journey, including awareness, consideration, purchase, loyalty and advocacy.

ThinkVine uses agent-based modeling to analyze a population “in terms of people’s characteristics and the relationship between those characteristics and the population’s behaviors,” allowing the development of models that assess marketing interactions across channels and in granular resolution.

Ninah uses a customized approach that draws on knowledge of the digital and traditional media landscape, along with such services as brand and pricing analytics. The boutique Hudson River Group focuses on top national retailers, providing what the report calls “impressive” expertise in its mix modeling team. IRI’s focus is on consumer packaged goods because it has direct access to scanner data, although it is expanding into other industries. And Nielsen, with its direct access to consumer, ad and scanner data, is a leader in the Digital Media Consortium, which seeks to identify best practices for the field.

The evaluations in the report are very brief, with only a fraction of the detail in, say, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant evaluative series of vendors in various fields. This Forrester Wave report provides a good, quick introduction to this increasingly important field and to leading practitioners, but hardly enough information for anyone to do a first-pass winnowing of possible agencies.

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