How a Wine Brand Advanced Digital Ad Measurement

An ideal study for the value of programmatic change

Published by The Wall Street Journal on April 27th, 2017

The Wall Street Journal’s story on How a Wine Brand Advanced Digital Ad Measurement is an ideal study on the case for change and the value of change.
Alexandra Bruel, the WSJ journalist who covers the digital media space, wrote:

“Constellation Brands wanted to measure the impact of digital ads on in-store purchases of its Black Box Wines mid-campaign, rather than waiting until after the ad push.”

The Case for Change and Making the Change

The big story starts when marketing leadership decides to take control of their programmatic destiny. Programmatic has rapidly become a foundational tool of modern, data-fueled advertising, but if the tools are not used correctly and to their full potential, more harm than good is done.

The first step after making the decision is followed by developing a logical, bulletproof case for change. The case should be based on financial rigor and operational effectiveness. Most importantly, the case needs to be understandable by the CMO and CFO on the first go around. Reaching this milestone is a critical step toward change management and self-induced education.

Breaking it down to build it back up

When it comes to time implement, a small, agile team with a good plan must dig deep by breaking down the current approach in order to build a totally new systematic approach with direct tech relationships and redesigned planning processes.

When making changes to programmatic, the key objectives can be summarized into a few buckets:

Benchmark working media efficiency today in order to accurately measure future gains

Make decisions that maximize working media, which quickly brings partner alignment into play

Get quick data wins while aiming toward a longer-term goal of attaining a reliable single user ID

Generate viable campaign use cases and execute with organized sprints

With new and more fluid foundations in place, new campaign ideas can flourish because the team now has fresh confidence and a new ability to successfully execute what could not be done before the change. The team now relies on audience-based processes, not media-based thinking. The team can now spend more time focusing on measurement precision and verification instead of low-value ad ops.

From idea to measurement, the new process opens everyone’s mind to new possibilities, creating more new knowledge faster, leading to a virtuous cycle of ideas, new knowledge, more ideas, and so on.

Black Box Wine is a perfect example of how a meaningful case for change can play out.

The Value of Change

Conceiving and running sophisticated campaigns like BlackBox would either be really hard, or not possible at all, without first making a quick win foundational change. In the process, three planned outcomes will fall from the tree:

1. Learning Curve

The entire conversation changes when everyone starts rowing in the same direction toward a common goal using a common language. All stakeholders, from senior to junior and from tech partners to agency partners move up a steep learning curve with thoughtful education and applied learning.

2. Ad Effectiveness

Campaigns like Black Box Wine should be celebrated, but not for too long. The bigger story and most significant cause for continued celebration is taking a “first of many” attitude. As Jeff Bezos might put it: advertising planning and execution, along with the tools and people resources that go into a winning formula, must be considered a “Day 1” exercise. When advertisers run a Day 1 programmatic system, there is always something to celebrate.

3. Working Media Efficiency

Magnitude improvement in working media efficiency over a very short time period generates significant savings allowing brands to place better ads in front of more targeted audiences. Every impression and related cost must be accounted for in detail. In effect, getting the cost accounting in alignment tends to automatically drive all other operational alignment.