Data is great, but this agency rep enjoys making sense of the analytics so his clients can improve marketing performance
To Calvin Lathan, data from marketing analytics is a gold mine of information that helps Hybrid Media Services’ clients use their advertising and marketing budgets to the best of their abilities. But he knows that raw data is mind-numbing for business owners who simply want to improve their bottom line.
“I like being able to take the data and all the numbers and terms and methodologies and break it down, talk their language, and tell it in a way they understand it,” Calvin says of what he does for his clients. “I like being able to take tech stuff and break it down to average human speak at a non-tech level.”
Calvin hasn’t always had his pulse on all things data, which he does now as Director of Business Insight and Intelligence at Hybrid Media Services, the Armonk, New York-based direct response audio advertising agency.
LeadsRx provides data from multi-touch attribution (MTA) and broadcast attribution to Hybrid, helping Calvin and others determine what is working – and what is not – in advertising campaigns.
“It’s nice to see someone using LeadsRx that says, ‘hey, can you do this for radio? Or other channels?’ They ask about the pixel.”
THE VALUE OF THE HUMAN ELEMENT
But what Hybrid clients really want is Calvin’s experience and expertise for examining the analytics data and turning that into insights that improve campaign ROI and return on ad spend (ROAS) for their businesses. Which is why Hybrid offers the LeadsRx broadcast-only product free of charge to its clients. For the full MTA product, Hybrid passes along that cost, but the results garnered far outweigh the expense.
Calvin partners with Bryan Lozano, Senior Manager, Partner Development at LeadsRx, to get the most out of the data. For close to three years, Calvin and Bryan have used web attribution analysis and data from all other marketing touchpoints to support growth for Hybrid clients.
One client, a loan lender, wanted to track every single form fill on their website – 12 conversion points in all – as well as hits to their blog. With no marketing analytics department, the business relies on the human touch Calvin and Bryan give the attribution data. They are still working to refine the process and add in more data from Salesforce to examine dollars out vs. dollars in.
“ROAS – that’s huge for them,” Calvin said. “It’s nice to show them what is working based on dollar values. Bryan tries to help me with the workarounds for them.”
Calvin has the experience to back up the keen insights he provides his clients. While working for a large agency out of South Florida – where he still resides and does his work for Hybrid – he was an account exec handling marketing and advertising strategies for the likes of Chrysler Corporate, Auto Trader, and 25 other auto dealerships in the U.S. and Canada.
He dug into creative media, digital advertising, and all matters that extended outreach and awareness. He carried his automotive brand experience over to another agency, helping automotive brands grow. When a friend asked for help improving digital and radio ad performance, he happily stepped in, and it led him to his role at Hybrid. He leans on vendors like LeadsRx to help collect and make sense of all the data.
GETTING GRANULAR WITH THE DATA
The insights can get pretty granular. Calvin created a visual tool to show clients cost-per-click (CPC) analysis, which can highlight that an ad on CNN is performing well on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursday, but not so great on the weekends, for instance. Or that one market is creating lots of website traffic over another. It’s solid data that helps Hybrid shift ad spend for its clients to what is truly working.
Hybrid is a bit unique in they specialize in buying “remnant” advertising – essentially “we buy cheaper advertising, so our ROI is really good,” Calvin said.
Transparency is important to Calvin and Hybrid; showing clients all the inputs that lead to better decision-making on their behalf. And advertisers love it. “We show them everything – how much money is booked, how much is cleared, everything,” Calvin said.
He cites a former boss who believed in the concept of the “open Kimono.” All expenses are revealed, including the 15% rate Hybrid receives on transactions. “Even with our fees baked into the buy, we’re still providing results,” he says. “This is our fee and the cost based off that fee, as well. We don’t hide anything.”
If a client does not have a call center to handle direct response ads, Hybrid helps with that, too. Calvin is still amazed at how many consumers will see an ad with an 800 number but still go to the website to research and/or make a purchase. They “Google” the company, essentially, or they see a product ad on Instagram but go straight to Amazon to see if it is available and if they can get it shipped free.
“So we match all that together, and It really works,” he said. “We’ll have an 800 number attached to a particular station and we can show that station XYZ is working, and we can show that 80% of the time it brought in the most visits.”
Calvin enjoys time with his kids.
PARTNERING FOR SUCCESS WITH ZQUIET
One direct response client is ZQuiet, a manufacturer of a break-through anti-snoring mouthpiece. Calvin is in charge of tracking its data performance. A recent case study showed how the partnership between Hybrid and ZQuiet has helped the company continue to grow and prosper.
ZQuiet Owner and Co-Founder Dan Webster said TV worked, and worked well, so his company stuck with it for about seven years. But the advent of smart phones and time-shifted TV viewing habits changed the landscape of top-of-funnel marketing, and the TV advertorials stopped generating the profits they once enjoyed. Enter Hybrid and its audio advertising expertise.
BATTLING THE PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON BUSINESS
Like a lot of businesses, Hybrid and its clients were hit hard by the pandemic. The agency went from buying $1.5 to $2 million dollars in advertising a week across all clients to less than half that. But the agency had a plan. It knew that in times of recession, people were thinking of other job opportunities, so Hybrid went after the education system.
One client, the University of Maryland Global Campus with its online degree offerings, asked Hybrid for help. Analyzing Google Analytics data, Calvin and team were able to show that UM had an opportunity to expand beyond its existing marketing reach that included just the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area.
Hybrid convinced the marketing team at UM to run a Sirius XM campaign on top performing stations, Fox News, CNN, Howard Stern, etc. The four-week run was so successful, Hybrid and UM took the campaign national. Website visits skyrocketed. Two years later, the wide-reach approach continues.
“They could tell right away, after our initial call explanation of LeadsRx and its capabilities, that we were on to something,” Calvin said. “They were excited about the insights from segmentation reports, and highlighting what was working and not working in their campaigns.”
MARTECH THEN, NOW, AND AHEAD
Just five or six years ago, digital advertising was the new thing, Calvin recalls. “Now, if you don’t have digital marketing strategy up to par, it’s really hard to compete in this market,” he said.
Even a small meat company in Montana realized that their radio-only approach was not enough. With attribution data, Hybrid was able to show radio’s impact, but also the influence digital campaigns were having on driving traffic to its website. Customers visited the website to order online, and online and offline ads pushed in-store traffic, as well.
What’s the future hold for MarTech? Calvin says, to no surprise, podcasts are just getting bigger and bigger. Hybrid even hired a director of podcasting 2.5 years ago. “It’s a totally different beast, so we had to bring in expertise,” he said.
Next up? Calvin said it will be interesting to see what happens with the metaverse, as well as new TV technology, such as the new Samsung TVs with ads built right into the menu.
Whatever the touchpoint, channel, medium, or device, marketing analytics is necessary to see how it is all working (separately and together). You need to see what is leading to conversions, Calvin said.
“With the LeadsRx tool, it is great to have for everybody,” he said. “Obviously, you want to use it if you are driving consumers to a URL, or if ads are pointing to an 800 number. We’re in a dual-strain society – watching TV while on an iPhone or iPad. It’s not cut and dry on what TV or radio brought in.”