Skip to main content

Marketers Take Charge: Steps to Build a Foundation for Media Accountability

September 25, 2019

Attending ANA Masters of Marketing? Let’s grab some time to discuss how you’re driving marketing accountability at

As a marketing or advertising leader, you hold the keys to the world’s 360-degree experience with your brand. Evolving forces on the battleground don’t make it any easier - nimble/adaptable D2C brands, a saturated digital marketplace from product proliferation, and an increasingly complex and opaque advertising ecosystem.

Despite these new dynamics, the goal of CMOs has remained unchanged – to drive and grow enterprise value. It is this unwavering position that drives CMOs to seek out the latest trends and technology to meet their goal. We understand – Mediaocean has served brands and agencies for over 50 years, so we’ve seen it all.   

As you plan for the future of your brand and marketing efforts, the single most important trend to embrace is marketing accountability.

Defining “Marketing Accountability”

Marketing accountability, as defined by Forbes Accountable Marketing Study, is the measurement and optimization of marketing contribution to enterprise value. Consider the top-down benefits of accountable marketing:  

  • Organizational – Brands can accurately map marketing contribution to enterprise value for shareholders and investors
  • Departmental – CMO/marketing department can confidently showcase media spend results both internally and cross-functionally
  • Individual – A media director or brand manager possessing full visibility on planned spend, actuals, and reconciliation across all regions

Marketing accountability is not an isolated decision to make but rather a frame of mind and a spirit that informs all technology, data and organizational decisions.   

Common roadblocks include:

  • Weak organizational alignment on goals and marketing economics
  • Insufficient tools and resources to account for spend and measure against goals
  • Not committed to data-driven decisioning for short-term and long-term

The last two challenges are where I find that many brands struggle - specifically around advertising. Failing to embrace accountability practices can be detrimental to not only marketing capability, but the perception of the marketing function as well, by creating a risk of perpetuating the marketing cost center stereotype. In today’s landscape, no brand can afford such perception.

It starts with a foundation

Media accountability starts with the understanding of what you’re spending. Much easier said than done, however, as every brand needs a mechanism to collect, centralize, and maintain information on how much they’re spending globally, across channels, and partners. This data must also align with your unique business needs, flowing consistently across all teams and markets.

When you’re building this foundation, or this media data strategy, there are a few key steps that we always encourage brands to think through:

  • Identify and prioritize key data points. Identify KPIs that help you measure campaign goals. No one business is the same. Leverage experts such as agency partners and media consultants on how to prioritize depending on your unique needs.
  • Determine your media data sources. Advertising is burdened with data fragmentation across a multitude of systems. It is imperative to take a detailed inventory of your media installed base. Depending on your goals, this could extend beyond media data to sales figures, etc.
  • Establish Master Data Framework to ensure standard data structures. Fragmented systems lead to discrepancies in coding and naming conventions making it impossible to report on any data across sources. A master data framework will ensure alignment between systems thereby driving consistency across teams, ensure clean data integrations, and will help produce unified reporting.  
  • Find a home for it. Do you buy or build? This all depends on your what resources your company has available. Questions your company should ask itself are: Do we have skills in house to build? Are those skilled resources committed to building now? What is our time-to-market?
  • Finding the best way to visualize and act on that data. With all this data now at your disposal it’s time to decide on how you want it displayed. Remember that many different teams will benefit from this data so starting small and prioritizing 1-2 audiences to build visualizations with their goals in mind is the easiest/fastest way to deliver value. 
  • Mobilize your database. This data is desired by advertisers, planners, agencies, auditors, etc.. so, it is important to ensure flexible APIs and integrations between systems are in place

Once you’ve centralized and standardized all your media information, only then can you begin to use data to make decisions on spend, and act fast as a nimble D2C brand would.

Take Action

I am typically approached by the office of the CMO or media teams to help them with their accountable marketing strategy. Frequently, these conversations are born from internal pressures or something gone wrong. As such, I encourage marketing leadership to start having these discussions more proactively and to champion accountable marketing throughout their organizations.

And remember, behind every great brand is an accountable marketer.

Attending ANA Masters of Marketing? Setup a call to discuss how you’re driving marketing accountability at