Marketing Opportunities and Performance Expectations: The Impact Estimator Tool


Posted by Iyiola Obayomi from Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide — North America on July 5, 2018


In this third installment of a four-part series (click here to read installments one and two), we’ll address the value of the Impact Estimator Tool as an important part of your strategic planning development.



Case and context for the Impact Estimator Tool

At some point in the marketing and communications process, you will come to a moment where you must prioritize between initiatives, campaigns, or programs offered to unlock your brand value. The Impact Estimator is a very useful quantitative tool in helping with these types of decisions. The tool identifies the range of business impact and outcomes a program can provide to help you establish performance goals and targets, should you decide to move forward with an approach.


A good analogy for illustrating this tool is the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) score, which is used to compute the value of proposed government policies. The CBO score was thrust into the limelight years ago during the healthcare debates, as it was relied on to help evaluate the coverage, future cost, and economic impact of healthcare policies. This is akin to the role of the Impact Estimator when it comes to assessing the value of marketing programs and ideas.


A recent assignment helps visualize the tool in action. A pharmaceutical client was interested in bold ideas to further accelerate their latest brand launch that had a strong showing out of the gate. The agency provided a series of proposed initiatives that could help in this regard. While the typical suggested approach tends to be based on experience, intuition, or, as in this case, the preference of the brand, the strategy team invited analytics to “score” each program and provide an additional quantitative basis to aid the brand team’s decision making.


Four great ideas were scored, each with its unique value proposition to help patients, HCPs, and KOLs understand unmet needs, identify the right patients, and deliver better outcomes.


The key questions we formulated to address for this brand were:

• How does this program create value to support the brand’s strategic objectives?

• Which of the four ideas will maximize expected business results?

• What level of investment should be committed to this initiative?


• What business results can be expected?


Visual journeys as first step in Impact Estimator


The following standard steps were applied to the Impact Estimator:

1. Outline the conversion journey and pathway for each initiative: The Impact Estimator is a quantitative tool, but it’s a quantitative tool built on an intuitive illustration of the impact pathway for each initiative or idea. In other words, the first step applied was to map out a visual pathway of how each initiative intends to reach, engage, and impact intended HCP audiences, and to identify the conversion nodes that the program plans to impact.

2. Customize the tool: The next step is to customize the tool to translate the illustrated models into a quantitative model.  This requires the inputs to be edited, and the simulations customized around each conversion node.

3. Simulate and evaluate: With the model adapted, the final step is simulating a break-even scenario for each initiative, as well as expected performance based on typical conversion expectation ranges from historical performance, analogs, or benchmarks.  Sometimes, as with this case, Monte Carlo simulations (a series of over 1,000 runs of the model with different inputs inserted into the model randomly) were conducted to increase the volume of potential outcome. The combinations with the highest occurrence represent the highest likelihood and are therefore selected as the most likely outcome for each initiative.


The outputs that were identified not only provided the clients with a range of expected business impact and outcomes for each initiative, they also set the performance targets for each key performance indicator (KPI)—a vital component of measurement plans. The presentation of each idea therefore began with the usual strategic context and rationale, audience insights driven by primary and secondary research, the value proposition for each idea, and a creative visual that brought the idea to life. It ended with the output from the Impact Estimator, adding quantitative inputs such as expected reach, impact, and incremental revenue potential, all criteria considered when selecting an idea.


Estimated impact of a campaign idea


Three of the four proposed programs scored well. The clients proceeded with two of the ideas, and made some tweaks to the eventual roll-outs. The programs exceeded their three-year ROI projections, and one is actually used as an internal case study for accelerating brands post-launch.


As with other forecasting efforts, ongoing collaboration between the brand teams and internal analytics and data stakeholders is extremely important. A winning formula will help with vital alignments.


In our next and final post for this series, we will explore how the Measurement tool can be used as a foundation performance planning tool during the Go Live stage.