Op-ed: ZO’s Touchpoints ROI Tracker optimizes market spend

ZO's strategic resources VP Ruth Klostermann explains how a research project helps clients identify the power of individual consumer contact points, enabling the evaluation of competitive performance on a single metric - brand experience.

At a time when consumers are being bombarded with messaging through countless points of contact, it’s critical that marketers be able to evaluate which are working effectively for them, and even for their competitors. Yet there are almost as many metrics and measurement methodologies as there are touchpoints, making it very difficult to demonstrate which deliver the best return on investment.

In January 2004, ZenithOptimedia Canada was at the leading edge with the rollout of Touchpoints ROI Tracker. Since then, we have interviewed almost 30,000 Canadians across 17 studies in 12 categories, covering 216 brands. These projects are now being conducted in 34 countries, contributing to a global database of norms based on more than 300,000 respondent interviews worldwide.

The Market Contact Audit system, licensed from Integration Marketing & Communications, forms part of the Touchpoints ROI Tracker. A suite of proprietary analyses has been developed around the core brand experience methodology to provide marketers with insight and guidance on future touchpoint use, and the ability to track competitive marketing performance in each touchpoint over time.

Each study evaluates the role of each consumer touchpoint in building brand preference and purchase intent in a category, and the performance of each brand in each one of those touchpoints. Clients are able to evaluate competitive performance in all forms of contact, from mass media to point of sale to word of mouth, on a single metric – brand experience. Multi-category or multinational clients can utilize the extensive normative data to examine variances and gain a better understanding of how touchpoint dynamics function across their product categories and markets.

Touchpoints ROI Tracker is a holistic, media-neutral approach to communications planning that engages marketers and their agencies as active participants, from the first focus group through to strategy development, implementation and follow-up tracking. It arms the team with actionable insights into how the consumer relates to touchpoints in the category, with a focus on generating the best possible ROI.

The ability of this tool to bring all stakeholders together and lead truly integrated communications planning towards a measurable goal is a significant achievement, all on its own. But, coupled with our ROI Blueprint system, we have a powerful tool to help clients maximize the effectiveness of their marketing spend.

Ruth Klostermann is VP strategic resources at ZenithOptimedia.