The Science of Analytics and the Art of Marketing

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As Technology Advances and Marketing Becomes More Targeted, Your Measuring Methodology Must Change with the Times

Change is something everyone needs, but no one wants. Unless we are given a compelling and legitimate reason, we will not change.

Today, most automotive vendors focus on measuring the success of their programs through traditional ROI (Return On Investment) thinking, usually along the lines of: Revenue “Created” divided by the Cost of Their Solution. This approach may benefit the vendor, but it is of little benefit for the dealer.

A more precise approach to measuring marketing success is necessary—an approach grounded in science, analysis, and fact, an approach practiced nearly everywhere else, and one the auto industry must adopt.

Moving beyond simple results measuring: control groups and incremental “lift”

It is not uncommon for most not to know the importance of a control group or how to identify their marketing’s incremental lift.

A simple way to understand the relationship between a control group and incremental lift is to observe medical trials. When testing the effectiveness of a drug, one of the control groups will be the placebo, i.e. the sugar pill, instead of the real drug. Using this control group permits the study to observe the incremental effects over and above the placebo effect—known as lift.

As technology advances and automotive marketing engages rather than simply promotes, the ability to measure the lift generated by your marketing efforts is crucial:

  • Choose a target market.

  • Select a random sample of the market to represent the control, typically called the “control group.” Remaining members of the target market represent the “test group.”

  • Run your campaign on the test group, while doing nothing to the control group.

  • Over time, measure the performance of the marketing message against the two groups and calculate your incremental lift.

By using the control group methodology, you know for sure that the results of the marketing program stand on their own, and are not the result of chance or some other marketing effort. Measuring lift, and not ROI, should be your newest, best marketing practice.

It’s time for the automotive industry to change its measuring methodology and know exactly where each marketing dollar is going!

Mike Martinez owns brand and product marketing as chief marketing officer for DMEautomotive, the industry leader in science-based, results-driven automotive marketing. For more information please visit or email



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