Cookieless Attribution: Insights from Provalytics CEO

In a recent insightful podcast, Provalytics’ CEO, Jeff Greenfield, discussed the evolving digital advertising landscape and the shift towards a cookie-less future. Jeff highlighted the challenges and opportunities this change presents, emphasizing the importance of adaptability, reach, and storytelling in marketing strategies. He introduced Provalytics’ innovative approach using impressions as a unifying metric and shared valuable insights into indispensable martech tools. The conversation sheds light on the future of marketing attribution and Provalytics’ dedication to navigating this transformative era.

In a recent podcast episode, our CEO, Jeff Greenfield, delved into the transformative landscape of digital advertising and the future of marketing attribution. With a wealth of experience in strategy, growth, and marketing, Jeff has played a pivotal role in steering Provalytics through the dynamic digital terrain, significantly enhancing the company’s market cap through innovative campaigns.

The focal point of the discussion was the imminent transition to a cookie-less digital advertising environment and the subsequent implications for marketing attribution. Jeff is at the forefront of developing next-generation marketing attribution tools here at Provalytics, addressing the challenges posed by the phasing out of cookies, a fundamental component of digital ads.

Jeff elucidated the difference between first-party and third-party cookies and the impact of Google Chrome’s decision to remove the latter. This move is set to disrupt ad trackers’ ability to monitor user behavior across sites, necessitating a shift in strategy, particularly for always-on marketers in industries such as financial services, healthcare, and e-commerce.

Contrary to the apprehensions surrounding this shift, Jeff posited that it presents an opportunity for marketers to reevaluate their reliance on data and targeting. He advocated for a more generalized approach, emphasizing that increasing reach could potentially enhance ad effectiveness. This transition calls for marketers to exhibit patience and adapt to a landscape with fewer choices and less granularity in campaign adjustments.

The conversation also explored the integration of AI and machine learning in optimizing media plans and underscored the importance of operationalizing analytics within organizations. Jeff emphasized the essential role of storytelling in marketing and the need for building consensus around analytics. He shed light on the unique challenges and opportunities that B2B companies face in this evolving environment and underscored the significance of branding and narrative in establishing a distinctive presence.

Jeff introduced Provalytics’ innovative approach to using impressions as a unifying metric, allowing for retrospective analysis of past campaigns. He also observed a resurgence of emotional storytelling and branding in advertising and encouraged B2B brands to embrace this trend by focusing on narrative rather than solely on selling.

Lastly, Jeff shared insights into his indispensable martech tools, highlighting the value of CRM, specifically, and ChatGPT, which has proven instrumental in idea generation, task assistance, and refining communication skills.

This enlightening interview offers a glimpse into the future of digital marketing, underscoring Provalytics’ commitment to navigating the challenges and seizing the opportunities presented by a cookie-less future.

2023 ANA Genius Awards

2023 ANA Genius Awards – How Brands Optimize Data Analytics

The 2023 ANA Genius Awards recognized brands for their exceptional use of data and analytics in driving business growth. In this article, we examine the winning campaigns and explore the key strategies and tactics used by these brands to optimize their data analytics efforts for maximum impact.

The 2023 ANA Genius Awards, a beacon of innovation, are ready to ignite the marketing world with a symphony of unrivaled ideas, tactics, and visions. In the ever-changing field of marketing and advertising, where innovation is the currency of success, genius that surpasses industry conventions is highlighted.

What is the 2023 ANA Genius Awards

The 2023 ANA Genius Awards, a symbol of brilliance, testify to the transforming force of creativity and innovation in the marketing sphere. This illustrious event is a mark of distinction, honoring geniuses who have changed marketing paradigms and sparked conversations that have reverberated well beyond the industry’s borders. It is a meeting of the brightest minds, where ambitious ideas and game-changing strategies collide, generating an ecosystem where creativity thrives and ideas are given wings to fly.

2023 ANA Genius Awards

Who Should Attend

The 2023 ANA Genius Awards are looking for marketing giants that have a tireless enthusiasm for pushing the frontiers of their craft. From seasoned industry experts to emerging disruptors, this gathering offers an unprecedented opportunity to engage, collaborate, and be inspired by the marketing galaxy’s brightest stars. Entrepreneurs looking to infuse creative dynamism into their businesses, C-suite executives looking to revitalize their brands, and budding marketers looking for guidance are all drawn to the Genius Awards like moths to a flame.

Most Anticipated Presentations

The ANA Data & Analytics Practice, in partnership with Neustar, will reveal an exclusive peek at a slew of case studies highlighting winning solutions. The four categories include:

  • Winner for Marketing Analytics Adoption
  • Winner for Marketing Analytics Storytelling
  • Winner for Marketing Analytics Innovation
  • Winner for Marketing Analytics Growth

The 2023 ANA Genius Awards are a tribute to marketing’s never-ending growth, in which brilliance is both honored and used to inspire the next generation of trailblazers. This gathering of forward-thinking thinkers, eager learners, and industry heavyweights promises to inspire fresh conversations, build lasting connections, and reinvent the very core of marketing itself. As we approach this incredible occasion, we excitedly await the unfolding of genius that will undoubtedly impact the marketing landscape for years to come.

2022 ANA Genius Awards

Marketing Analytics is finally making its mark on big business.

On December 15th, join experts from Hilton, Sanofi, Pepsico and Prudential at the ANA’s 2022 Genius Awards, presented by Neustar.

Mission critical to any marketing campaign, Marketing Analytics provides a sophisticated GPS to drive data driven strategies.

This year, the ANA Genius Awards continue to showcase the best in data driven strategies from companies across industry sectors and revenue, including brands, media platforms, and nonprofits.

Selected by the expert panel of judges, these winning companies have leveraged analytic thinking to fuel bottom-line revenue growth, all while managing to address some of the greatest challenges.

The four winners include:

  • Winner for Marketing Analytics Adoption: Hilton
  • Winner for Marketing Analytics Storytelling: Sanofi
  • Winner for Marketing Analytics Innovation: Pepsico
  • Winner for Marketing Analytics Growth: Prudential


The ANA Genius Awards showcases the best in data driven strategies from companies across industry sectors and revenue, including brands, media platforms, and nonprofits. Selected by the expert panel of judges, these winning companies have leveraged analytic thinking to fuel bottom-line revenue growth, all while managing to address some of the greatest challenges.

The ANA Genius Awards winners for 2022 are as follows:

  • Winner for Marketing Analytics Adoption: Hilton
  • Winner for Marketing Analytics Storytelling: Sanofi
  • Winner for Marketing Analytics Innovation: Pepsico
  • Winner for Marketing Analytics Growth: Prudential

Multi-Touch Attribution Changes with Upcoming Cookie Collapse

Google is set to replace third-party cookies in Chrome with its “Privacy Sandbox” ad targeting tools by 2024. However, these new tools are not performing as well as cookies, according to a new experiment conducted by Google. Advertisers using Privacy Sandbox decreased their spending by 2-7%, while the number of people who clicked on ads was within 90% of the status quo.  Conversations per dollar, a measure of ad performance, dropped by 1-3%. Despite the results, Google insists that the encouraging findings are validating what they hoped: that digital advertising can be both more private for users and effective for advertisers and publishers.

The ad tech industry is worried about the upcoming changes, as the ability to track users online will be hindered. The average person is increasingly concerned about their privacy, and governments are promising new rules to govern privacy on the internet. Other browsers like Safari, Firefox, and Brave already block third-party cookies, which makes Google Chrome look like spyware in comparison.

Google is trying to get everyone on board with its Privacy Sandbox project. However, privacy advocates say it’s not private enough, ad tech companies say it’s too private, and governments have raised antitrust concerns. Google needs buy-in from everyone for the plan to work.

In a recent Gizmodo article, Jeff Greenfield, CEO of Provalytics, a long-time ad industry executive, warns of the drastic attribution changes advertisers and publishers will face due to this new system. Marketers are used to targeting individuals, not groups, as Google will soon require them to do. Greenfield believes it’s going to be a paradigm shift that requires a lot of reeducation. Even if the new system works for advertisers, the experiment looks discouraging for publishers, apps, and websites that make their money through ads. Advertisers spent less with the new system, which could be catastrophic for media companies and news organizations in particular that often operate with razor-thin margins.

“The change is going to be drastic for publishers,” Greenfield said.

Google, on the other hand, pushes back on the idea that Privacy Sandbox will hurt publishers. The company argues that they are working with technology that is emerging and reducing the ability for ad technology companies and data brokers to identify individuals across the web. Yet, they can still deliver a high degree of relevance for advertisers, translating into a high degree of monetization for publishers. Google insists that Topics and other Privacy Sandbox systems aren’t supposed to work in isolation, but as part of a broader ecosystem of tools.

Another issue with the new system is that Google’s competitors are hard at work developing fancy new ways to keep tracking users after cookies go away. If these techniques are effective, it would mean Google’s privacy-preserving efforts are a wash.

“A lot of companies out there are offering cookieless solutions. They’ve found a way to link identities together without cookies. But Google and other companies like Apple want to be in control, so the next thing we’re going to see is them trying to stop all of these cookie replacements,” Greenfield said.

That’s a problem Google is well aware of, and it’s one the company needs to solve to maintain its vice grip on the advertising business. If other companies have tools that work better, they’ll spend their money elsewhere. That’s a battle that will shake out in the years to come, as Google finally rolls out its changes and the sea of ad tech companies compete to be the most dominant alternative. So far, Google hasn’t shared anything about how it will fight back.

“I can tell you that as an initiative, we don’t feel that those approaches stand up to consumer expectations,” Dan Taylor, VP of Global Ads for Google said, “We are working towards a more holistic picture of how each of these new technologies will drive results for marketers, monetization for publishers, and keep people’s information more private.”

Google has additional experiments in the works to test other aspects of Privacy Sandbox, including the Protected Audience API and the Attribution Reporting API. Results from those tests will be released later this year.

The push for greater privacy online is certainly a laudable goal. However, the fact that Google’s Privacy Sandbox tools are not performing as well as cookies is worrying, particularly for publishers who rely on advertising for their revenue. The potential shift from targeting individuals to targeting groups will require advertisers to reeducate themselves, and the changes will be drastic for publishers.

As the ad tech industry looks to adapt to the changes brought on by Google’s Privacy Sandbox, companies like Provalytics will have to help advertisers and publishers navigate the new landscape. Jeff Greenfield warns of the dramatic changes that are coming and the need for education and adaptation in the industry.

It remains to be seen how Google’s competitors will react to the upcoming changes and whether they will be able to offer a better solution. As always, the sea of ad tech companies will continue to compete for dominance in the industry. As the ad tech industry adapts to the changes brought on by Google’s Privacy Sandbox, companies like Provalytics will have to help advertisers and publishers navigate the new landscape.

Cynopsis Conference to Feature Provalytics CEO

Provalytics Co-Founder and CEO, Jeff Greenfield, will speak on Attribution at the Cynopsis Measurement & Data Conference in New York City held June 13 – 14.

During a session titled “What is Attribution and ROI/ROA measurement?” Greenfield will discuss the evolution of Attribution to solve today’s issues including: Walled Gardens, privacy regulation & the upcoming ‘cookie collapse’. Other speakers include Bill Harvey, Jane Clarke, Alice K. Sylvester, Jim Spaeth and others.

“With the forthcoming industry changes, such as the removal of third-party cookies, it is imperative that marketers understand how the science of attribution has evolved to handle all of the changes to the ecosystem,” said Jeff Greenfield.

Join us for Cynopsis’ two-day Measurement & Data Conference, where we will dive deeper into critical topics with the leaders spearheading this revolution and address the measurement questions that really matter to you and your business through in-depth discussion and high-level networking.

In a challenging financial climate, Magna is still projecting full-year ad revenues to grow 3.4% to hit a new all-time high of $326 billion. But to take advantage of this expected surge, smart professionals need to connect the dots in data and measurement to ensure success, and that’s where we come in, with smart conversation that will help you move your business forward.

Can the industry really support a multi-currency model? What role will attention metrics play and how will they impact ad investment? Are we any closer to true cross-platform measurement? How will advanced audience measurement affect the monetization and creative development of content?

The Cynopsis Measurement & Data Conference event will be held at Edison Ballroom in New York City.

Learn more about the conference here.

Attribution Landscape: Insights from Provalytics CEO

In a recent marketing-focused podcast, host Brandon White and industry expert Jeff Greenfield, the CEO & Founder of Provalytics, discussed the rapidly changing marketing analytics landscape and the challenges facing today’s marketers. The conversation delved into the importance of distilling data into concise presentations for executives, adapting to changes in the marketing ecosystem, and embracing innovative analytical methods.

The Importance of Marketing Analytics and Effective Communication

With increasing pressure on marketers to justify their budgets and make financially viable predictions, it’s essential to transform data into actionable insights. The conversation emphasized the need to engage with CFOs, develop financial models based on analytics, and maintain an open mind about alternative solutions suggested by data analysis. As the marketing landscape evolves, effective communication with decision-makers will be crucial for success.

Navigating the Shift in Marketing Analytics and Privacy Concerns

The speakers highlighted a shift towards lower funnel buys, resulting in a smaller funnel and decreased ad effectiveness. They urged marketers to reassess their strategies, particularly in light of upcoming privacy regulations and changes to web analytics tools like Google Analytics. They recommended considering open source solutions such as Matomo as alternatives to Google products, which may exhibit biases towards their own platforms. Additionally, the discussion explored the challenges of tracking organic traffic in an age of heightened privacy concerns.

Understanding the Changing Marketing Ecosystem

The conversation touched on the evolving marketing ecosystem, with platforms like Facebook and Google dominating digital advertising. While these platforms offer simplicity and extensive personalization capabilities, they also face limitations due to privacy concerns and changes in targeting options. The speakers also discussed Google’s potential move towards healthcare and the challenges marketers face in aggregating data and attributing sales accurately in an age of companies owning entire ecosystems.

Embracing Agile Impact Modeling: A New Approach to Marketing Analytics

The speakers addressed the limitations of traditional marketing mix modeling and introduced Agile Impact Modeling (AIM) as a new approach to overcome these challenges. AIM uses seemingly unrelated regressions and hierarchical Bayesian techniques to analyze aggregated data from various channels, including Facebook, TV ads, email marketing, radio ads, and more. The model considers sales across product categories, customer segmentation for new versus returning customers, and geo-targeting.

The Benefits of AIM for Today’s Marketers

AIM’s primary goal is to provide granular recommendations that challenge assumptions about budget allocation while building confidence in the data. Although no model is infallible, AIM offers predictions with greater accuracy than traditional methods. This innovative approach can help marketers stay ahead of the curve, make more informed decisions about their budgets and strategies, and ultimately deliver better results.

As the marketing analytics landscape evolves, marketers must adapt to stay competitive. By embracing effective communication, exploring alternative tools, and adopting innovative approaches like AIM, marketers can distill data into actionable insights and make strategic decisions. In an era of increasing privacy regulations and shifting ecosystems, these strategies will be critical for marketing success in the years to come.

Suffolk University Partners with Boston Celtics, Hosts Hackathon with Provalytics CEO

Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School recently announced a new partnership with the Boston Celtics, launching an interdisciplinary Sports Management program in Fall 2023.  As part of this collaboration, the university hosted a ‘hackathon’ event on March 3 during its annual Bridging the Gap Marketing Conference, powered by VistaPrint. Jeff Greenfield, CEO of Provalytics and a member of the Marketing Advisory Council for Suffolk University, participated as a judge in this event.

The hackathon was aimed at helping the Celtics grow awareness and increase the number of applicants for black and minority-owned businesses in New England. Participating students were tasked with forming teams to address this challenge, demonstrating the real-world application of sports business to solve pressing issues.

Greenfield played a pivotal role in the hackathon event by lending his expertise and providing valuable feedback to the participants. His involvement not only elevated the competition but also showcased the strength of the university’s relationships with industry leaders.

The partnership between Suffolk University and the Boston Celtics is designed to offer students unique learning opportunities, including yearly projects from the Celtics and regular visits from their executives and management. Ted Dalton, Chief Partnership Officer for the Boston Celtics, expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, “We’re honored to be able to team up with Suffolk University to support a comprehensive and contemporary program that helps develop the next generation of sports business leaders.”

The new Sports Management program, directed by marketing professor Skip Perham, brings together existing sports-related courses from both the School of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences. Students can now major or minor in the subject and gain a holistic understanding of the business side of sports.

Perham emphasized the value of the program’s location, citing its proximity to the TD Garden and Fenway Park, as well as the numerous sports corporations headquartered in Boston, such as New Balance and DraftKings. While internships are not guaranteed, students in the program will have a competitive advantage when applying for positions with these organizations, thanks to the strong relationship between the university and the Celtics.

Suffolk University’s partnership with the Boston Celtics marks a significant milestone as the first AACSB-accredited business school in Boston to offer a Sports Management program. Dean of the Sawyer Business School, Amy Zeng, highlighted the importance of this collaboration, stating that it “exemplifies how we utilize our distinctive downtown Boston location and our multidisciplinary programs to create transformational and immersive educational experiences.”

The successful hackathon event, featuring the participation of industry leaders like Jeff Greenfield, further cements Suffolk University’s commitment to providing its students with exceptional educational opportunities. As the university moves forward with its new Sports Management program, students can look forward to even more hands-on experiences, fostering the growth of future sports business leaders.

The Suffolk University Boston Celtics partnership is a collaboration between Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School and the Boston Celtics NBA team. This partnership focuses on launching an interdisciplinary Sports Management program for students, offering unique learning opportunities, such as yearly projects from the Celtics, regular visits from Celtics executives, and access to industry leaders.

The Sports Management program at Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School is set to begin in Fall 2023. It will offer both a major and minor in Sports Management, providing students with a holistic understanding of the business side of sports.

Suffolk University’s Sports Management program is unique due to its partnership with the Boston Celtics, its downtown Boston location, and its connections with various sports corporations headquartered in the city. Students in the program will have access to yearly projects from the Celtics, visits from their executives, and a competitive advantage when applying for internships with sports-related businesses in the area.

The hackathon event, held during the annual Bridging the Gap Marketing Conference at Suffolk University, was an initiative powered by VistaPrint and supported by the Boston Celtics. Students formed teams to address a challenge related to growing awareness and increasing the number of applicants for black and minority-owned businesses in New England. Jeff Greenfield, CEO of Provalytics and a member of the Marketing Advisory Council for Suffolk University, participated as a judge in the event, providing valuable insights and feedback to the participants.

How Should Brands Adapt During a Crisis? An interview with Bill Harvey

During times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, brands changed their messaging and advertising. Instead of avoiding coronavirus-related content, Bill Harvey, founder of Research Measurement Technologies, contends that brands could use the resonance score – the level of similarity between the RMT DriverTags in branding and content consumed by viewers – to create impactful ads. Brands can take advantage of the opportunity to introduce new uplifting and inspiring messaging, recognizing and honoring the work of frontline workers and heroes who played critical roles during the pandemic.

During uncertain times, marketers often face the temptation to cut marketing budgets. But according to Bill Harvey, a marketing analytics pioneer and CEO of Research Measurement Technologies (RMT), this could be a big mistake.

Bill Havey

Bill Harvey

In an interview with Jeff Greenfield, CEO of Provalytics, Harvey discussed the importance of marketing during times of contraction, emphasizing that brands should not pull back, but instead find new ways to connect with their audience.

One way brands can do this is through what Harvey calls “quality of life advertising.” Instead of focusing solely on product differences, brands should create inspiring, entertaining, useful, informative, educational, and uplifting messaging.

By doing so, they can bring value to consumers during difficult times and build brand loyalty. Harvey also emphasized the importance of understanding DriverTags.


Driver Tags

According to Harvey, RMT DriverTags are the scientifically proven behavior driving motivators which connect an ad and a brand to a person’s most important underlying subconscious motivations in life. They include emotional benefits, core values, mindsets, need states, character, and personality types. A DriverTag is an empirically derived variable identified by machine deep learning to cause behavioral change. There are 265 DriverTags.

For example, if a brand is promoting a new luxury car, the DriverTags might include the Motivations (macro clusters of DriverTags) Status/Prestige, Power, and Leadership. At a more nuanced level, an ad might include Need States (micro clusters of DriverTags) of Glamour and Perfectly Made. The more the DriverTags in an ad align with the audience’s interests and needs, the more effective the ad is likely to be. The same is true of the alignment between the DriverTags in the ad and the DriverTags in the media context (program, website, app, publication, etc.).

Harvey emphasizes that DriverTags were identified through data analysis, not mere creative intuition. By analyzing the performance of previous ads and identifying the key concepts that drove engagement, brands can hone in on their most effective DriverTags and use them to guide their marketing strategy.

Ultimately, the goal is to create ads that are as relevant and engaging as possible for the target audience, and that require a deep understanding of what drives their decision-making. By identifying and leveraging DriverTags, brands can increase their chances of resonating with their target audience and driving sales.

A recent analysis by the ARF Cognition Council found that Driver Tags explain 48% of sales.

Crisis Marketing

Harvey believes that there is an enormous opportunity for brands to connect with their audience during a crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than immediately blocking their ads from coronavirus-related content, brands should find ways to pick up on the DriverTags in the content and create creative messaging that aligns with the current situation. This could include highlighting the heroes who are doing frontline research and caring for the ill, creating ads that inspire courage, and messaging that uplifts the spirits of those who are struggling.

Mind Magic

In addition to his expertise in marketing and media, Bill Harvey is also an author of a book titled “Mind Magic: Techniques for Transforming Your Life.”  The book is a compilation of techniques and mind tricks that Harvey has collected and refined throughout his life.

Harvey began working on the book in his thirties when his friends suggested that he should publish his collection of tricks that had been tested and proven to work.

The book is 12 chapters, each focusing on a specific trick, such as avoiding hasty closure, breaking assumptions, and changing perspective.

The techniques presented in the book are practical and can be applied to various aspects of one’s life, from improving decision-making to enhancing creativity.

The book has been well-received and has been used as a course text at universities such as NYU, UCLA, West Point, the Naval War College, and more.

Brand Marketing

Brands must be strategic and creative in how they adapt to the rapidly changing world during a crisis. According to Harvey, brands must use data to understand the consumer mindset and to ensure that the message is both relevant and resonant with the audience. By incorporating DriverTags, brands can drive home their message and create a more powerful impact.

Moreover, it is equally important for brands to understand the value of branded content that isn’t solely focused on selling a product. This strategy of quality-of-life advertising, as Harvey calls it, can be incredibly effective in communicating the brand’s values and creating an emotional connection with the audience. Finally, the importance of maintaining a consistent presence in the market, even during a crisis, cannot be overstated. Brands that pull back risk losing market share and their connection with the audience. Brands must rise to the challenge and adapt creatively to remain relevant and connected to consumers during a crisis.


Bill Harvey is a highly accomplished marketing and advertising research expert with over 50 years of experience in the industry. He is the co-founder and former Chairman of the Board of TRA, Inc., a consumer behavior data and analytics company. He is also the founder of his consulting firm, Bill Harvey Consulting, which advises clients on research and marketing strategies.

Throughout his career, Harvey has contributed significantly to the advertising industry, publishing numerous articles, white papers, and research studies on advertising and consumer behavior. He is also the author of several books, including “The Art of the Media Age,” “How to Prevent Your Advertising from Sucking,” and “Mind Magic,” which provides readers with 12 techniques for tapping into their creativity and problem-solving abilities.

Harvey has received numerous awards and recognition for his contributions to the industry, including the Media Research Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ (4A’s) highest honor, the Advertising Person of the Year Award. He has also been recognized as one of Advertising Age’s 100 most influential media professionals and is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences. Harvey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School.

RMT DriverTags are the scientifically proven behavior driving motivators which connect an ad and a brand to a person’s most important underlying subconscious motivations in life. They include emotional benefits, core values, mindsets, need states, character, and personality types. A DriverTag is an empirically derived variable identified by machine deep learning to cause behavioral change. There are 265 DriverTags.

For example, if a brand is promoting a new luxury car, the DriverTags might include the Motivations (macro clusters of DriverTags) Status/Prestige, Power, and Leadership. At a more nuanced level, an ad might include Need States (micro clusters of DriverTags) of Glamour and Perfectly Made. The more the DriverTags in an ad align with the audience’s interests and needs, the more effective the ad is likely to be. The same is true of the alignment between the DriverTags in the ad and the DriverTags in the media context (program, website, app, publication, etc.).

Harvey emphasizes that DriverTags were identified through data analysis, not mere creative intuition. By analyzing the performance of previous ads and identifying the key concepts that drove engagement, brands can hone in on their most effective DriverTags and use them to guide their marketing strategy.

Ultimately, the goal is to create ads that are as relevant and engaging as possible for the target audience, and that require a deep understanding of what drives their decision-making. By identifying and leveraging DriverTags, brands can increase their chances of resonating with their target audience and driving sales.



Provalytics CEO Advocates Health & Fitness for Business Success

The CEO of Provalytics spoke about the importance of prioritizing physical health in order to run a successful business. He discussed how investing in personal fitness can positively impact leadership abilities, mental clarity, and decision-making skills. The CEO also emphasized the need for companies to create a culture that values health and wellness in the workplace, and shared some of the initiatives that Provalytics has implemented to promote a healthy work-life balance for its employees.

We’re constantly trying to find that equilibrium in life where it feels like we’re doing a great job in our business and we’re doing a great job in our personal life.

But why does it still feel unachievable?

In this episode, I talk to Provalytics CEO Jeff Greenfield about practices he’s put in place to ensure quality time with his family, intense focus on his business, and the type of wellbeing that allows you to sleep 12 hours straight.


James Johnson
Jeff, welcome to Future Fit Founder. When are we going back to?

Jeff Greenfield
We’re going back to early 2022 let’s say March, February, March, 2022.

James Johnson
That’s amazing. What’s happening for you in March, February 22?

Jeff Greenfield
I’m at a transition time in my life whereI had built a company up from 2008. I exited in 2019 and spent a year running around some startup ideas. Nothing really took off. And then I ended up taking a job at 55.  And I’d never worked for anyone else my entire life. So it was a whole new experience. I didn’t want to do it at first, but my wife said why don’t you try it?  You’re always used to building teams. This will flex a different muscle for you. So I thought, okay I’ll give it a shot. Why not? Right? And did that, enjoyed it. But I enjoyed it maybe a little too much because some of the things about it were so different from a startup.

Friday night would come normally when you have your own company, you’re working until nine, 10 o’clock at night. You work all day Saturday, all day Sunday. Maybe you’re doing other responsibilities and other things, but the reality is that you’re really hyper-focused on the business. Well, Friday night would roll around and, and I’d shut down my computer and I wouldn’t look again until Monday morning. And I was like this is wild. I had never relaxed so much in my life ever. So that was a great kind of takeaway for me. But what I didn’t like about the job is the number of meetings where I wasn’t doing something. And as a founder, you’re constantly doing things. You’re wearing multiple hats. And when you’re part of a very large team, you’ve got to kind of stay in your own lane.  And, I guess you could say I’m a bit of a crazy driver, which all of us founders are because you, you’re shifting constantly.

And so, spending greater than 50% of my time in meetings was driving me crazy. So when I left in, in earlier part of 2022, I knew I wanted to do something new, but I was a little concerned because I hadn’t started a company since 2008. So, that’s a long time. And it’s a completely different muscle that you have when you’re starting something from scratch versus when you’re scaling it up versus when you’re up to like 50 or 55 employees, completely different muscles. So those startup muscles hadn’t been utilized in a long time, and I was afraid that they were getting a little weak, if you will. And so, I went to start this, but, I definitely had my doubts… was this the right direction? Should I look for another job? Dare I say or should I look for other opportunities?


James Johnson
So 2008, you started your own business, you grew it successfully, you act, and then you are taking another job. And the elements of it that you’re loving, possibly too much , and now you’re doing your own thing again. But faced with this thought of, well, can I remember how to do this?

Jeff Greenfield
Because, the world has changed.  In 2008, things were completely different, especially in my business of advertising technology. It was the beginning of things. Facebook a new thing that had just started. Google was the most dominant player. There was no Amazon ads, there were no ads to buy on Walmart or Target. There’s CTV (connected television), the digitization of TV wasn’t even around now. The level of complications and the number of channels and things that have to be measured and accounted for, this is a whole new different world that we’re living in. So I definitely had had my doubts and I actually had a series of conversations with my wife, and I said to her, I feel like I’m starting from like zero.  And she said to me that’s not the case because I’ve been in this space since 2008, and I’m really starting from the point at which I left. And I’m going get to where I want to be so much faster because I know the business, I know the players. I know what the needs and the wants of the customers are. So all of those early discoveries that you have to go through when you’re building a product and building a business, I don’t have to go through.  I already know what they are. I haven’t lost touch with the industry. So that helped to set me straight. But I was definitely concerned.

James Johnson
Okay. So you’ve clearly got a very good advisor in your wife / coach . So that bedrock is in place. Does that fully address that thought of, I haven’t done this since 2008?

Jeff Greenfield
No, it definitely does not. There’s still doubts because everyday I’m doing things that are to lead to a response to get potential customers or take current customers and get them to sign the contract and move things forward. And that you always get frustrated because as a founder, we’re very positive about things because this is like a baby. I know it’s going to grow up. I know it’s going to be great, it’s going to be incredibly successful. But then there’s those other voices in your head that say, you haven’t done this in a number of years.  So there’s always those seeds of doubt that are there that you have to overcome. And I don’t care how successful a founder is and how big the business is everyone has doubts there, those are always there and they never go away. Sometimes they get a lot louder. And the key is to try to keep them under control.

James Johnson
So it’s not when things are going, when you just start now, even when things are going really well, there’s still, there’s still the capacity for doubt.

Jeff Greenfield
Oh, of course. Because one of the other things is that when you start out with a new business, you’ve got probably 20 or 25 things that you could do. And so you start to look at each one of them, and eventually you go through a process where you say, okay, this one I’m going to go forward with. But those other ones, they don’t go away because there’s a part of you that liked it and you’ve just killed it. But those little parts of you are still inside of you. And those are the ones who are saying, Hey, you know, maybe this was a better idea. So anytime you, you hit a roadblock and you hit roadblocks every single day, I always say the only way out is through. You can’t really go around it. You have to just push through. But those doubts are always there without a doubt.

James Johnson
And it sounds like the doubts are there, but the ideas, it’s quite the idea that you start with all these ideas and it’s so true. I mean, when, as a founder, ever short of ideas, , but you don’t try and kill them, but they’re still lurking in the background somewhere. And the moment of sort of weakness or doubt or everything that kind of in the back going, what about me? Pick me , try me.

Jeff Greenfield
That’s exactly right. And sometimes you say, people always talk about, do you have a plan B? And it’s like, as a founder, no, there’s no plan B, I’m just going to going to push through and make it work. But in the back of your head, you still have this idea that you’re going to do when you get done with this, this one, when this one is a huge, incredible success, this is the next thing I’m going to do. Because you have to have an outlet for that kind of stuff. And it’s important to write down and also go back and evaluate yourself later on.

James Johnson
That’s really nice. So this idea that actually just get ’em out of your head and get ’em on paper and just kind of check in on them occasionally, but on your terms.

Jeff Greenfield
That exactly right. If you don’t, they’re going to keep grazing in your brain and come up. But this way you can go and check on them every now and then, make sure they’re okay, and then leave them there. But what’s fascinating is that with time, a lot of ideas that you come up with don’t look so good. Years ago I would tell my wife every idea that I had and I literally drove her crazy.  I would tell her 20, 30 ideas a day and she would be like, okay, these sound great.  I come back 20 minutes later with another idea, completely different. She’s like, well, what about that one? Well, now I like this one. So I drove her crazy. So that’s where I started writing things down because I figured I’d write them down and then when I read them, they tend to look a little different. And I had to edit myself a bit with her, so I didn’t drive her so crazy.

James Johnson
I can only imagine. So let’s say if you started your previous business in 2008 and then you worked somewhere else by the time it came round to starting your current business, there must have been a lot of ideas to choose from in your head, both in the books in your head as you’re going through. How did you narrow it down to the one you went with?

Jeff Greenfield
When I started the former company in 2008, I had a bunch of different gigs that I was working on. I thought this was going to be like a part-time thing. And then as I became more engrossed in it and started scaling the team, those other things I had to let go of, because this really was a full-time 24/7 effort. When I left there I felt mentally drained.  The product was built, I had accomplished what I needed to accomplish, and I felt like creatively I was kind of sapped. So having two and a half years, and part of that was at a job, it let me start thinking about things. And I think that’s an important thing is that you can’t force this stuff.  Because when I left there in 2019, I had a couple ideas, but I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. And what I ended up doing was I spent two or three months just relearning how to code PHP which I found to be very relaxing and enjoyable because when you’re doing computer coding, you want to get from point A to point B, you want the machine to do something, but you get to decide as the programmer how it gets there.  And there’s a a million different ways and sometimes the hardest work is not in the coding, it’s figuring out the path. And that I found to be very creative. And that kind of sparked me thinking about possibilities and ideas.

When I left the job, I didn’t want to necessarily go back into my former field, which was measurement / advertising effectiveness.  I had been hearing about a bunch of other newer startups that were out there, and I was very excited. So I got demos of these companies with the idea that when I found one that was incredible, I was going to back it, maybe invest in it and help them out however I could because I’d been out of the space for about a year and a half. Well it turns out that in my time away, the industry had been rocked with all of these changes kind of an apocalypse of signals for digital advertising.  And out of the mist was a backwards look at measurement that didn’t account for things appropriately. And I felt like it was doing a bit of a disservice to marketers and brands.

I saw that an opportunity.  And there’s another pivot point that’s happening, which is Google Analytics, which everyone uses to measure their website traffic. You have to switch it over to a new version as of July of next year. And what that means for marketers is that there’s now going to be a new source of truth and it’s going to cause a lot of questioning.  So I saw this as a really good market opportunity where people are going to be scratching their heads. So the big players in the field are not looking at things properly, at least from my perspective and the biggest player in the field (Google), everyone has to now spend a lot of time and look at the data and it’s going to look different. So whenever people are questioning something that’s a necessity for their business, they look around and see, well, is there something else out there?

And so that to me, created an opportunity. And also, the way I wanted to build this business was to build it at my own speed. I wanted something that I could take the time to do. I could work with my first set of customers and treat them as partners because they’re going to help me understand what their wants and needs are, more so than what I even understand. And at a speed that I can also keep my relaxing skills that I took for my job on my weekends and not stress out too much. Because once you start hiring a team and building that up… to me, my team was always part of my family. I cared so much for my team. I remember one Valentine’s Day, my wife and I are out to dinner and, in my household, Valentine’s Day is like a religious holiday.  I mean, it’s a big deal. And we’re out dressed up to the nines and I get a text from one of my employees who has the same dog that you have, James and his dog was sick and he was at the emergency vet and they needed $600 in order to treat him, and he didn’t have the money. So I got up from the table, called them and gave them my credit card because I knew he would pay me back. I wasn’t worried about that. But I also knew that if his dog didn’t get healthy, his ability to continue to work, he was going to be constantly worried about his dog. And if there was something I could do to help, then that meant the world for me. So I was always on call 24/7 for my team. So I’m not anxious to get back there again. I’m enjoying the relaxing and the slow movement of building a startup. Those factors led me to say this feels like the right idea. I can leverage my experience, I can move at my own speed, and then when it gets to a point where I need to scale, then I have a decision that I have to make whether I want to do it again or not.

James Johnson
So actually, despite these doubts that you alluded to, actually, the previous experiences your wife identified allowed you to spot a market gap quite quickly. You were quite clear around the type of business you wanted to build initially, that you wanted to rather than shoot for scale. And it was about building something carefully with some key clients, partners, not building a team, really being focused on the quality of the work and quality of life. And take some of those, it would take some of the lessons you’ve learned around work life balance from, from from working that feels quite having that played back to you. Does that, how does that sound?

Jeff Greenfield
Yeah, you’re spot on in terms of that.  I remember one time when I was running my other company, I always had my phone on me anytime away. I was always working and I had made a decision that we were going to go away. I think it was for my birthday. We were going up to Maine and I let everyone know that my phone was going to be off for 48 hours. Now, everyone who needed me, they all had my wife’s phone number. So if there was an emergency, I would know about it. But I’ll never forget, I got in the car and as we’re getting on the highway, I grab my phone and I turn it off. This was terrifying for me. Absolutely terrifying.  But I turned my phone off and then throughout the two and a half hour drive up to Maine, I must have yawned a thousand times. My wife said that as soon as I turned that phone off, I started yawning like crazy. We went to this amazing little inn on the ocean, and that day when I went to sleep, I slept for 14 hours. And so I realized this concept that you have to have that balance and being able to, to shut off and know that things are going to be okay. I mean, this is where, as a founder, all of these tools are awesome, but they’re also somewhat bad as well too, because it’s so easy for you to be in touch with what’s going on, which means you don’t get to take a break. And we need those breaks. And that work life balance, the aspect of your overall health is incredibly important, especially when it comes to dealing with doubts that you have about your business.

James Johnson
See, that’s, and that’s a really interesting point. So what is it about, dealing with the doubts you have about your business and that combination with like, looking after yourself, how do those two play together?

Jeff Greenfield
Well, if you’re not taking care of yourself, if you’re not healthy physically and mentally, it’s easy for those doubts to kind of jump in.  It’s just a natural thing when you’re strong, think about it, it’s kind of like a cold, when you’re eating, right.  You’re sleeping properly, you’re doing all the things that you should be doing, you’re taking time to relax. The chances of you getting sick, yes, can you get sick, but you have done everything in your power to ensure that it won’t happen. So I always kind of look at your body as it’s a gas tank when it comes to food and alcohol. And if you were to put water in your gas tank, none of us would be surprised if your car wouldn’t run.  It’s not made to run on water. And yet we’re constantly putting stuff into our body that we know is not good for it. We don’t eat enough vegetables, we eat food that’s not great. We consume too much alcohol, especially when we’re stressed out. All of those things make your engine kind of sluggish. Now, what’s incredible about the human body, unlike a car engine, is that we can do so much damage to our body and there’s all these filtration systems in it, but as you get older, your ability to filter out all that stuff and function is not there. So that’s one aspect is is having a healthy diet. The other aspect is sleep. Sleep is probably one of the most important things. And I know a lot of founders that don’t sleep a lot at all.
They’ll sleep like five hours. And there was a time where sleeping for a short period of time at night, hat was a sign that you were strong. But the reality is that’s a sign that you’re weak. And now I think people are starting to understand that there’s a lot of movements with, some of the mattresses that have the cool water that go through them. I’ve got one of them. And sleeping in a very cool environment is very relaxing, helps you go into a deeper sleep. So making certain that you get that seven to eight and sometimes 12 hours of sleep that you need. I think one of the other things that is important as well is that ideas and solutions for your business, they don’t always happen when you’re awake.
And once you start to eat better and sleep better, you’re going to notice that you’re going to dream more often. And it used to bother me that my wife and daughter used to talk about their dreams every day. And I was like, I don’t feel like I’m dreaming, but what it was is that I just wasn’t paying attention to them. So now I keep a notebook at my side table, and I’ll wake up at like three or four o’clock in the morning after a dream and I’ll write it down just like I write those other ideas down just so I have them to refer back to. Because it’s fascinating when you write down a dream and then you go back and you look at it and you’re able to find some meaning in it. And that’s the same place where business ideas come from.  It’s the same place where creativity comes from. It’s that other part of you, your unconscious mind that is always there, always watching, but it’s important to pay attention to that. I think the other thing that’s important as well is that, there’s no way that you can function throughout the day by working nine to five. You know, back before, in traditional work, people come to work at nine, they would go and they would leave and take an hour lunch to kind of chill down a little bit. And then on the way home from work, they’re driving home where they’re relaxing, they’re getting into that home zone. And now with people working remote, it’s very difficult to kind of power down, if you will. So I take an hour every day in the middle part of my day to do what I call a power down, which is I’ll go in, I’ll lay down on a couch or lay down on my bed, I’ll shut my eyes, cover myself with a blanket and just go and I’ll find that within like a couple of minutes, I’m, I’m zoned out.  I’m not sleeping, but my mind is relaxing and unwinding. And, when I wake up from that, I’m recharged, I’m ready to take on the rest of the afternoon. And I took that from years ago in my first business. I would work in the morning from like eight to 11, go out and have lunch, and then work again from four to seven. And after I would have lunch, I would go and I’d lay down and I’d go to sleep for a couple hours, wake up, take a shower again, like it was a new day. So I’ve kind of borrowed from that with that power down. So eating right, powering down, making certain you’re sleeping enough and, and writing down these ideas that come to you, especially in dreams are so important.

James Johnson
So here there’s two things. One is this idea that we equip ourselves better as founders by being in a better state. So that’s a natural things going to go wrong, all this stuff. But actually if we’re feeling better, we’re going to be much strongest deal with it. And second is the idea of just leaving space for ourselves for our creativity, for our recovery. And it’s not just a case of charge, charge, charge, charge, charge. Is that right?

Jeff Greenfield
You’re absolutely right. I always say to folks that your calendar should never be more than 50% full. Because you need time to recharge, you need time to relax. You sometimes need time just to think a little bit about a call or an email. You can’t move forward at lightning speed. And this idea that you can multitask, it doesn’t work. Now as a founder, you have to wear multiple hats. But it’s really important that when you put on that hat that you’re all in on that hat versus trying to do that and three other things at the same time. Because what ends up happening is you go back and you evaluate the quality of the work and you’re going to get disappointed. It’s not going to be up to what you want it to be and what you would expect.

James Johnson
So nice. It’s acknowledging there are lots of hats, but it’s been quite disciplined about when you are wearing one hat, wear that one hat.

Jeff Greenfield
Yeah. And you have to be in that mindset. And it’s very tough as well because for a lot of us, let’s say you’re scaling a team and you’re the CEO, but they need help in account management. Well, you’re not the CEO right now. You have to take that hat off and get in the mindset of account management, because if you want to help them, you have to think like them. You have to be them. And so you have to take yourself back to the early days of the company and rely on the foundations that you’ve established. Usually what ends up happening is when there’s problems in the business, it’s because there’s been so many new people that have come in and the foundations aren’t being followed that you set. So you have to kind of go back and remember what are those foundational ideas and concepts because those that you start are what builds a company when you have really strong ideas about how you want your business to run. And as new people come on board, they’re either not onboarded properly. So you have to take the CEO hat off and go back to your foundations so that you can help them.

James Johnson
So it feels, Jeff, like you’ve got a very clear idea around looking after yourself, creating that space. A lot of the pods I talked to my clients around from sort of being future fit. And you’re coming at this with a lot of experience, but you still have these doubts. When you start, what do you think’s going on there?

Jeff Greenfield
I think it’s part of what all founders fear, which is the fear of failure. You don’t want to fail because you’re all in on something. And that’s a natural fear that we all all have. And again, it’s those voices or a singular voice in your head that says, Hey, maybe you should do something that’s a little safer that’s a little more guaranteed, like the job.   But I’ll go back to that. The thing I did like about the job is that I got to see the inside of how big businesses run that I’ve always seen from the outside. And I saw it firsthand where most people, half the time, the decisions they made were in the best interest of the company.  And the other half of the time they were in their own best interest to ensure that they kept their job. And I found that a lot of people would build moats around themselves. And I started feeling that way. I started feeling like, this is so good that I want to build a moat around this. And I’m like, what am I doing? This is because to me, from a creativity place, that’s death. Because now it’s all about, maintaining where you’re at, and you’re in stasis, which is not good. Founders are like sharks. We have to always keep moving in order to breathe. So the failure aspect is always there. It’s always looming because we’re taking huge risk. And even though there is a risk, there is a risk that the partners you work with won’t like the product.  The folks you’re working with decide, Hey, I don’t want to work with you anymore. I want to work with someone else. And there’s always the human aspect of it. Every relationship, there’s different personalities. So there’s like, you know, the personalities can clash and then that can kill it right there. And also, I’m bootstrapping this instead of raising money and I’m moving at a slower pace than I would if, if I had raised money. And the disadvantage is the speed, because in a startup, you always, you know, you get the money so that you can move at a faster, faster speed and gain some market share. And this, so there’s a risk there. So there’s a lot of risk in order for me to maintain my, my work-life balance, or I should say my sanity in that case. And so that, to me, maintaining that work-life balance is, is my primary thing that has to be there in order for this to be a success. Otherwise, it, it won’t be successful because at the end of the day, I won’t be healthy enough to enjoy it.xxxx

James Johnson
Hmm. I talked to my clients a lot about, I actually quite, I don’t particularly like the phrase worklife balance cause I feel it sets you up to fail. It’s kind of kind like work life integration, just how, how, how you make the two work together. And actually the irony is I think when we get told, oh, well you think, I mean, I said myself earlier, like, it feels very sequential. Like you sort out your work and then you exit or you do whatever, and then you sort out your personal life. That feels very logical,

Jeff Greenfield

James Johnson
But actually ignoring your personal life, ignoring yourself actually makes you less likely to achieve your work objective. And so making sure the two work together, like you can go have Valentine’s Day with your wife and go traveling. She’s clearly a big part of what you do. Same thing, my wife is, my family’s everything. If your work goal, if they don’t work together, it’s not going to, it’s, it’s not going to work. Cause it’ll, you’ll break on the journey as as, as what, as what I see a lot. Does, does that resonate?

Jeff Greenfield
It totally does. And I, I talked to a founder yesterday who’s built an incredibly successful company. He’s raised a lot of money. And we reconnected because we hadn’t talked in like 12 years, maybe 14, 14 years now. And I was one of his first 20 customers when he started the company, and it’s now massive. So we talked about the growth that he’s been through, and I asked him about how, because they were hybrid before, but he would go into the office every day. But since Covid, they’re a hundred percent remote. And I asked him, how is that working in terms of integrating his, his home and his work life? And he, he said, it’s, it, it’s so much better. Because when he was at the office and it was a Friday night and he knew he should leave by five o’clock, but he had work to do, he would stay there till seven, eight o’clock at night and miss bedtime for the kids.
And when he is working from his home office, regardless of what’s going on at five 15, he, he shuts down his computer, he’s there for bedtime, he can hang out with his young kids and then if there’s something that would’ve kept them, he can then go back later on and work on it. So there’s no stress. And so this way, because he’s working remote, it enables him to, to spend that time with his kids that he wouldn’t normally get. So it, it, it, you’re right. It’s, it, it’s really about integrating it. And I, and I think for some, like, like this friend of mine, the, the remote is helping him. For a lot of others it’s having that addiction and having it right there it can, can make it very difficult for someone like me. It, it is very difficult. I mean, I have it in a, my computer’s in a different room, but most of what I do is on my phone.
So it’s very tough to, to not check things. And I actually, I had to take Slack off of my phone because I found I was checking it constantly. It became the thing, I’m sitting on the toilet and I’m checking my phone to, to look at Slack and I’m like, what am I doing? Okay, there, there’s, there’s nothing here that is more important than what I’m doing right now, . So I, and, and, and so I, I, I realized okay, I cannot trust myself, so take it off the phone. So I took it off the phone and it has cut my stress level down dramatically. So I, I know with my personality, I’m if it’s available for me. And that’s why in, in the instance of the story I told you earlier, I had actually turned my phone off. Cause cuz I, I can’t trust myself.

James Johnson
I think it, there’s one of the habits that I think we all like email, LinkedIn, slack. There are so many ways that we can get pulled into the business and that take us out of, out of whatever we’re meant to be focusing on that. And it’s some, someone will come with a good solution at some stage. Cause I, I have the same thing as you. I delete periodically, I delete email off my phone and it comes back on. I delete LinkedIn off my phone, it comes back on. I, I, I really like people who try and say, oh, I, I won’t look at my phone before a certain time in the morning. I think these are all really good habits, just really hard to stick to

Jeff Greenfield
It. Well, and the tough thing is that most of these were designed to addict us. I mean, we know that they, all of these programs with the exception of email, have been really gamified. And so they, they were designed to, to get our brains to constantly look at them. And it’s almost impossible. If you look at your phone and you see LinkedIn has got 25 notifications and, and there’s that whole, what do they call it? The brain reward Cascade theory. And, you know, and, and this, these are, you know, the, you know, clicking on that 25 number is like, you know, getting a shot of dopamine. It’s, it’s, it’s like, it’s like a hit on the crack pipe if you will. Hmm. so I turned off all my notifications except for text. Those are the only sounds that I hear. I actually have my phone, the sound always turned off, so it just vibrates. But I look at my phone when I looked at LinkedIn and my email, it doesn’t show me how many. So I actually have to take that extra step to click it to see which I do more frequently than I should . But if the number was there, it would probably be 10 x what it is. You know, ,

James Johnson
I, I went to a, a really interesting talk for about 15 years ago talk, talked about designing for laziness. Yeah. And the idea was to design your life for your house ever. So that the example gave couple is set example, like if you have any chocolate biscuits, put them on the top shelf so they’re not easy to get to and put like healthy snacks on the counter. Easy to get to. They suggested you had a tv, actually unplug your TV and put it in a cupboard . And then if you want to watch tv, and you had to basically put it on, put it on the wall and then plug it in. And that made it, I mean, now with Netflix and iPads and everything, and it’s all, it’s all gone. But,

Jeff Greenfield
Well with the, with the food example that you gave, what I found is that it doesn’t matter where the snacks are in the house, I will eat them, so will my wife. So we found that the best thing is not to have them in the house. Those is like no snacks in the house. And when, like the holidays come around for like Thanksgiving and people bring us pies and things like that, we will cut a slice that night and then it goes right in the bin. We get rid of it because it, my wife always taught me, she’s like, there’s no difference whether it’s in the trash or your stomach. So just throw it out. And so again, I can’t trust myself, you know, if there’s nice brownies in the house or chocolate or cookies, like the black and white cookies, I, I mean, they’re going to be gone. So I might as well just not have them in the house. That way I’m not tempted. I mean, if I want them, I can get, I’m making it more difficult. I have to get in the car and drive to the store.

James Johnson
, fair way to say it. I, I get, I’ll get, go out the house and g the bin

Jeff Greenfield
. That’s right. Yeah. No, I haven’t, I haven’t done that except for maybe in college. But I haven’t done that as an adult. Definitely not.

James Johnson
But I, I think what’s really nice about this is like you, you’re carrying this with like, so you’ve got these doubts in the business, you’ve got these habits, but it’s just acknowledging like there are situations where we can’t trust ourselves. Whether that’s small things like eating a bag of biscuits or whether it’s a bigger thing, like listening to ideas that are sitting in the back of our head. There are things that we can do by sound things to help us, like leave invitation out, have good habits, bright ideas down. There’s lots of practical things we’ve talked about. But that with all those things, it’s still okay to go, okay, maybe we can’t trust ourselves. And that’s noble

Jeff Greenfield
It, it, it’s totally normal. Cuz at the end of the day, you know, as a founder, these, these ideas, they come in and, and you know it like the back of your hand that it’s going to work. But you can’t forget one important thing. W we’re human. And, and there’s, you know, wherever there’s good, there’s going to be bad. So when things work out really well, there’s always a balance in life that yin and yang, if you will. So always, always be looking always be prepared, but also understand that, you know, you’re going to get to your goal, but the way you get there may not be the way you anticipated. It may be a zigzaggy type course. And not to be too hard on yourself about it and understand we’re, we’re human. At the end of the day, we’re, we’re going to make mistakes. And just like, it’s, it’s okay to have doubts. That’s a, that’s a human quality.

James Johnson
Hmm. I really like that. It’s, it’s

Jeff Greenfield
That we’re not infallible. We’re not perfect. And you know, even if you, but, and, and here’s, here’s the greatest thing about that is that if you’re a founder and you have an idea and you execute on it and everything works and you have this massive exit, I would argue that from a financial sense, that may be great. But for you as a person, it’s, it’s not great because we only learn by making mistakes. We only learn by failing a little bit. And it’s our failures and it’s our mistakes that we make that, that make us stronger and make us better overall humans, if you will. So you, you wanna, you wanna fail? I, I’ve all of, all of my failures, you know, I, I always say to my wife that, you know, if, if God or someone came down and said, Jeff, I can, I can make those failures go away and it, it will be as though they never happened. I would say, well, but I would lose the knowledge that I gained with that. And so I, I I, I love my mistakes. They’re, they’re part of me. And they make me who I am today. And it, it makes, it makes living life so much more enjoyable because every time you fail a little bit, every time you make a mistake, your perspective and your view on other people and, and other businesses has, has been expanded and shaped. And that’s, that’s a wonderful thing.

James Johnson
Actually. It was one of the driving forces he’s podcast actually was just that you always in the press or when you go to conferences or you go speak, it’s always a narrative of success. And it’s always a narrative. Oh, I set up to do this. I did these three things and hey, presto, I’ve done this. And even though we know that’s not how it worked, and they set out to do why? And so it went horribly wrong. We end up like, that’s not the narrow people tell telling these things. And so I think having a space where people can actually really hear what’s gone wrong and what’s going right allows us to realize that we’re all, we’re all the same. We’re all human. There’s no such thing as this kind of uber mench founder story. There are some, there are some founders who say, get incredibly lucky and just everything works, but they’re not very many of them. And actually we’re better, we’re better off for this journey as, as humans and, and for future businesses as well. We, we, cause it’s repeatable,

Jeff Greenfield
Right? And, and, you know, you can’t take it with you. We’re all, we’re all here to get along with each other and, and kind of make our way in life. And it, it’s been proven time and time again that having more stuff it does isn’t a road to happiness. I, I think, I think the road to happiness is, is you know, having a, gaining a good understanding of yourself and, and you know, being able to, to love when you messed up because of the lessons that you learned. And, and, you know, is that going to lead to a successful business following that? Maybe, maybe not. But I think following that leads to a more successful and happy human at the end of the day. And that’s, that’s really what this is about for me at least.

James Johnson
It’s about what’s going to lead to a successful founder, even more than as more successful business. So I think that’s, that’s great. Thank you so much.

Jeff Greenfield
My pleasure, James. It’s been a pleasure.

James Johnson
As you heard today, coaching opens up a whole range of insights and areas to explore. If you have a potential moment to revisit and the podcast or just want to learn more about coaching, book in for a 30 minute chat with [email protected].

Provalytics Co-Founder Presents At The ARF’s Attribution & Analytics Accelerator

The ARF’s Attribution Analytics Accelerator recently welcomed Provalytics Co-Founder for a presentation on the latest advancements in attribution technology. In this article, we highlight the key takeaways from the presentation and delve into the importance of attribution in modern-day marketing and advertising efforts.

Todd Kirk, Co-Founder & Lead Architect of Provalytics and Founder of Middlegame presented at the ARF’s 7th annual 2022 Attribution & Analytics Accelerator with Sameer Kothari, Global Media Measurement and Real Time Optimization Director at PepsiCo.

As the Lead Architect of the Provalytics AIM platform, Todd Kirk has again demonstrated the flexibility of Bayesian Seemingly Unrelated Regressions (BSUR) to drive business results for complicated, disconnected consumer journeys.

“Harnessing the Full Potential of Marketing Mix Models: How Attention, Creative and Audience Personalization can Drive ROI”, focused on how PepsiCo has reinvented the use of marketing mix modeling and developed a proprietary system called the “ROI Engine.”  The “ROI Engine” measures the ROI of full funnel marketing campaigns and informs annual plans with its channel level predictive engine.

At the same time, online media allows for even more comprehensive and granular measurement of the underlying factors associated with media execution and response. This is the “WHY” behind the digital media ROI results.

Working with Todd’s Middlegame, PepsiCo developed a leading indicator system to predict the ROI outcomes of digital campaigns based on attention, creative, and audience mix.

This allows the PepsiCo team to further dissect campaign-level incrementality into the underlying components of WHY.

Now in its seventh year, the 2022 ARF Attribution & Analytics Accelerator is the only event focused exclusively on attribution, marketing mix models, in-market testing, and the science of marketing performance measurement.

The boldest and brightest minds presented at the Attribution & Analytics Accelerator 2022—the only event focused exclusively on attribution, marketing mix models, in-market testing, and the science of marketing performance measurement. Experts led discussions to answer some of the industry’s most pressing questions and shared new innovations that can bring growth to your organization.

Analyze Google Ads Performance for Maximum ROI with Provalytics

Maximize your return on investment with Provalytics’ expert Tips on Effective Google Ads Performance Analysis. Learn how to analyze data, identify trends and make data-driven decisions to drive success for your business.

In this episode, we’re joined by Jeff Greenfield, founder of Provalytics. Jeff joins us to share his thoughts on how marketers can more effectively measure Google Ads performance.  In the episode we discuss:

  • What really is forecasting in marketing?
  • Why do you need to look outside of Google Ads to find the data you need to produce better advertising?
  • Is the AIDA marketing model still relevant?
  • What is incrementality?
  • The importance of upper-funnel marketing

Scott Colenut
Hello and welcome to the Internet Marketing Podcast, brought to you by Site Visibility. I’m your host Scott Colnutt.  And with me today is Jeff Greenfield, CEO at Provalytics, and we are gonna be discussing how to more effectively analyze Google ads performance. Welcome to the podcast, Jeff.

Jeff Greenfield
Thank you so much, Scott. It’s a real pleasure to be here today.

Scott Colenut
Would you mind taking a moment to introduce yourself to me and our listeners describing a little bit more about what you do at Provalytics?

Jeff Greenfield
Yeah, Provalytics and the reason it’s Provalytics is because it’s about proof and ‘prova’ is an Italian word for proof. And one of the things that has been lacking since the beginning of the digital era in terms of for marketers for planning is to figure out what is actually gonna work. It’s very easy to look back and say, okay, this worked in the past, is it gonna continue to work? But what Provalytics goes really full, full forward on is this concept of forecasting and people understand forecasting, because you know it for the weather, for earthquakes and things like that. And forecasting is never exact, but it’s pretty close. And that’s what this is all about, is being able to see, if you do this, you would’ve gotten this, and then you go and do that, and then it turns out you actually got that. That’s what Provalytics is all about.

Scott Colenut
It’s interesting about forecasting and marketing particularly because in my experience, I find that the description of forecasting is used interchangeably between people. Some people when they talk about forecasting, they’re talking about science and data backed forecasting, and some people use forecasting as a word to describe a best guess scenario. Do you find that there’s some confusion just with what forecasting actually is?

Jeff Greenfield
Yes, but both of those different sides are both accurate because what’s important here is that when we’re talking about forecasting a marketing response, uh, we don’t actually know because we can’t. And even back in my early days of my career with C3 metrics, when we were able to collect deterministically every single digital touchpoint, we still don’t know what was inside the person’s head before they saw that first ad. So we still don’t understand, we know how humans react advertising, but we, we can’t look at it from that aspect. So that’s why forecasting is all about the math and the models. And there’s a, a famous saying about models that all models are wrong, some are useful, and the reality is, is that no forecast is going to be a hundred percent or even 90% accurate. But the idea is, is that if it can just give you a little leg up and and point you in the right direction, that’s so much better than what most people are using, which is a best guess.

Now what’s important about this is that your best guess is a marketer because you understand your business better than anyone else. A lot of those assumptions and understandings also need to be brought into a model because there’s seasonality that’s involved with business. There’s trends and there’s also the competitive pressure as well too. So I, I would say that a forecast is a best guess, but it’s a best guess That is utilizing advanced machine learning and in some cases ai so that it’s a guess that would take, let’s say a couple of hundred humans to sit down in a week and come up with the machines and the math can do it in less than an hour.

Scott Colenut
What you’ve just said is music to my ears. I’m sitting here smiling because we talk about this concept, everything you’ve just described in our agency quite a lot. And what I find is that, um, particularly creative marketers can be often fearful of the data aspects of what we’ve just described. And really, as you said, the data is used to guide you. It’s not an exact science and there’s so much other context to overlay and factor into your model. So if you manage to get to the point where you marry data with ambition, experience and all that other context, that’s when the model becomes really, really useful, at least in my experience. Is that similar to you?

Jeff Greenfield
No, you’re absolutely right Scott. And, and sometimes though the model’s results will be somewhat counterintuitive, so you also have to be open to the idea that it may point you in a direction that you think is a waste of time. I’ll give you an example. A brand goes and they advertise, let’s say on the WWE (the wrestling site) during wrestling season because they’re selling something that they think that demographic is really into. So they advertise, they get tons of impressions and you know, they’re in e-commerce and they’re looking and they got zero sales from it, none whatsoever. So, what do they do? It’s, it’s a month long buy, they canceled the buy.  All of a sudden, three to four months later sales start coming in out of nowhere or, and, and what it would show up in GA is organically, it would just show up as organic sales.

It came from nowhere. So all of a sudden you’re organic, the number of sales that you can’t attribute to anything starts to increase pretty substantially. Now, back in my days at C3 Metrics, since we were capturing deterministically, not only clicks, but every single impression, we were actually able to see precisely where these individuals found out about the site. And so for a lot of marketers when you say, Hey, you know, that ad buy you canceled three months ago, you need to go back and do more of that because you, your ROI on it is ridiculously high. So you have to be open to understand that the data is there as a guide, but you have to sometimes get out of your own little box a little bit to understand where it’s going to lead you to and, and also to be able to follow it.

And that’s one of the toughest things for folks is that when models give recommendations and they say, this is the best thing that you can do, a lot of marketers say, oh, you know, it makes me feel a little uncomfortable, because I wouldn’t do that on my own. And you know, and I’m here to say that this data and these models are here to make you smarter on their own. They’re not that smart. The only way that they’re really super smart is when you, the marketer take the recommendations and put them into the market and into play.

Scott Colenut
It’s a test of your ambition, your bias, perhaps your ego at times to take all of this in information on board and be open-minded about what they’re telling you with these models. Speaking about getting outside of a box and taking this back to specifically in Google Ads. So I’m assuming that in some way perhaps you find Google Ads analytics may be restrictive and maybe they don’t give you the information that you really need to help form these models on their own. Is that correct? And maybe just talk me through how you reach the conclusion that maybe you need to look outside Google Ads analytics to get this wealth of information that you’re talking about.

Jeff Greenfield
Absolutely, Scott, when you look at Google Analytics, one of the things that’s important is to understand where did it come from? And Google Analytics was originally a company called Urchin. And that’s why the famous UTM codes, you know, UTM source, UTM stands for ‘urchin tracking module‘. Back in the early two thousands, anyone who had a web server, urchin came on there for free. It was an open source platform that Google acquired. And what’s important to understand is that urchin and Google Analytics today is a very good measurement of how people get to your website and what they do on your website. I would argue that there’s others out there that are better, because of the restrictions that are coming into play with GA 4, which we can talk about later. But it, it’s, it’s important to understand that it’s primarily to let you know how did someone get to your website?

Well, Google Analytics and anyone who’s dug into their data will see that the vast majority of traffic that comes to your site comes in either organically or it may come in through brand search. When you’re buying, you’re bidding on your own brand search term if you’re a large enough brand. But what you want to know as a marketer is not necessarily how people click through to your website, but I want to know that big 80 or 90% of organic, how did they find out about me? What is it that brought them to go and search for me? What is it that got them to click on my brand search ad? Because that’s where you should be spending the bulk of your marketing dollars. And because we know that marketing is a funnel. Now there’s a whole argument it’s not a funnel, it’s a circular motion because of social media and there’s a feedback loop.

But I’m a traditional guy, I go with this AIDA model, awareness, interest, desire, and action. And that top of the funnel is very wide at the top. And that’s where you’re throwing out, you’re throwing out food and breadcrumbs because you want to bring people to the top of the funnel. And at that point nobody is searching for you. You’re trying to get to new people who have no idea who you are. Now what’s happened since about 2006 is that folks have been spending money on lower funnel tactics like search. And we’ve seen that large brands have shifted dollars over to where they’re spending about the same amount of money on what we’re calling performance versus branding. And remember, branding is all upper funnel and there’s a great book out there by Orlando Wood, published by the IPA called Lemon, how the Advertising Brain Turned Sour.

Right on the third page, there’s two graphs there. Orlando’s company tracks the effectiveness of ads and they also track ads spend. And what they’ve seen is that as brands have started to build out performance divisions, their funnels are now smaller. And as a result, advertising effectiveness since 2006 has been on a massive decline. And what that means is your ads have to work much harder in order to get the same results they used to get. Now what’s the reason for all this, the reason for all of this is because most marketers are using metrics that only look at clicks and how someone came to their website, they’re not looking at the most important component, which is impressions or reach to see how many people you actually reached. That information doesn’t come into GA.

And GA is great if all you are is marketing on Google. And a couple of years ago that was actually possible, but now the search market is so fragmented because now you’ve got Amazon, you’ve got all the retail search like the Walmarts and the Targets of the world, and you’ve also got all these other platforms whose data doesn’t come into GA, like Facebook, Instagram, Snap. And then you’ve also got things that a lot of marketers are utilizing these days, which is OTT / digitized television. That data doesn’t come in there either at all. So the reality is this:  GA is great for understanding how people got to your website and that’s it. But in order to understand what is driving them to come to the website, you have to go elsewhere.

Scott Colenut
And where is elsewhere? That’s the burning question. Where is the elsewhere?

Jeff Greenfield
The elsewhere for me is in my background in Multi-touch attribution, where we collected everything. This is going back to 2008 when we built the company and we could collect every single touch. We even had our tags that were live on Facebook, we had tags on Amazon, we had tags everywhere. So what would happen is that we would start measuring a campaign and we would see all of these impressions and we could track them all the way through to a conversion event. So in some instances for some of our clients, six to nine months, even before the person showed up to the website, we would have that whole trail done. And then with machine learning, we could point them in the right direction in terms of where to spend those dollars. Now what happened though is that all of a sudden Facebook stopped allowing tags and that wasn’t a problem because we had years worth of information and Facebook was really just one of the mix.

And then all of a sudden YouTube came along and said, oh, with all the privacy stuff, no more tags on YouTube, we’re doing this ads data hub. And what that meant was we could no longer get user level data. It was only aggregated. And then now you’ve got things like TikTok and you’ve got all these other platforms where you cannot get impression based data, especially OTT and CTV.  I exited C3 in 2019 and thought I was done with the analytics space for a number of years and then I started looking around after about a year or so to see what was out there and what I saw really disturbed me. And all of a sudden out of the blue there is an explosion of new analytics platforms that are solely based on clicks. Essentially they’ve duplicated Google Analytics, but it’s all click based.

And they have a way to suck in data via public API’s, so that it provides a very nice dashboard for marketers and marketers think these things are the most amazing things in the world. When I saw that, I was like, oh my God, this is like what they’re describing in the book Lemon. But now it’s happening at even more of a scale. And I had always wanted to be able to take the things I really loved about multi-touch attribution and create a new type of model that borrowed from the world of marketing mix modeling. Now, marketing mix modeling has been around for many, many years and it’s what most large brands use to determine their budgets. Typically once a year it becomes a whole project where they gather three years worth of data, they do a whole analysis and then they fix the model up and then they come back to the marketer and they say, okay, spend this percentage of your budget and TV, radio, and then digital is just one big bucket and that’s it.

But the nice thing about marketing mix modeling is that you can also incorporate any type of media like out of home, billboards, tv, radio, and even podcast and digital. But it was always a project. It was always like this huge heavy lift for companies. So what I wanted to do was to take that basic understanding and merge it with multi-touch attribution, to have something that was always on and always running, wasn’t a project, was based in impressions and based in reach so that you really truly understand what is driving those clicks to your website. And then also add in things that Multitouch attribution doesn’t have. So the most important thing that you’re not going to get from GA or any MTA platform out there is what’s called incrementality. And that should be the driving force of all marketers, which is trying to figure out, if I spend $10,000 here, how many more sales will I get than if I hadn’t done it?

That’s what incrementality is about. MTA and Google Analytics don’t include incrementality. Historically, the way you do incrementality is you have to set up a multitude of A/B testing and it’s a lot of work and there’s companies out there like that have done a good job of building out a service around incrementality testing. But at the core of marketing mix modeling is this concept of contribution. How many sales would you have received if this specific tactic wasn’t there? And so that’s incrementality as well. So what I’ve done is, if you can imagine a Venn diagram, if you will, of both multitouch attribution and marketing mix modeling, and we call it AIM or Agile Impact Modeling because it’s agile, it’s not stuck and it focuses on impact.

And the cool thing is this, with all of our clients, like right now we’re getting a lot of last month’s data from clients.  Most clients send this data either weekly or monthly. We’ll go through and we’ll model it. But what we will do with this last month’s data is we will hold back the last 30 days of data. And what I mean by that is that we will only give to the model the impressions, the clicks, and how much we spend at a granular level. We will not give the sales or leads or any other KPIs. And for, we run multiple KPIs for our clients. And then what that will do is that will show our clients how well our model is able to predict because then we’ll output showing this is how many sales you got this day, or this is how many leads and the model showed this. So we’re predicting it around 85% and it’ll show that for every single day for every single tactic. And in addition to that, when the model is done with that, it will then create a forecast.

And the forecast is based on the requirements of the client at things like, how far out do you want to plan, do you want to plan 30, 60 or 90 days? I can tell you two months ago folks wanted to plan out 90 days. They wanted a Black Friday forecast. You know, based upon last year and what we’re seeing in the market what is the best place for me to get the biggest bang for our buck so we can forecast out? We set the forecast timeframe, we set the budget. How much do you want to spend? Do you want to spend how much you spent last month? Do you want the budget to go up 10%? Do you want it to go down 10%? Whatever it is. And then also what we call the risk quotient.

How much are you willing to decrease or increase a specific tactic? And most of our clients are like around 25, 30%. Everyone says, oh, if something’s working really well I’ll go up 50%. But I’ve never seen anybody do that just yet unless it’s a very small amount. So then what our platform will do is it will go off and do hundreds of thousands of simulations. This is the equivalent of having these like 20 or 30 data scientists working on just your marketing plan for an entire month. And it will come out with the perfect plan and and based upon those restraints and requirements. Now of course, that’s why we hold back the last 30 days of data because remember last month our forecast definitely included this current month. And so as a result, we want to be able to show them how well we would’ve done if we knew the exact amounts that were being spent.

And what that does is it gives marketers over a period of time, a certain level of confidence that says, Hey, I can trust this thing. I’m now willing to take a bet. And I’ll tell you my early days of this, I had this vision that the way to onboard someone into the world of data and marketing analytics was to go to their office and do like a half a day presentation. But we would start it at like four o’clock in the afternoon and I wanted to make sure that we were at a corner window because outside I was going to have someone digging up the dirt and preparing for a fire walk because that’s what this is like.

Scott Colenut
Is there a sweet spot for the amount of time it takes for your clients to start to notice the trust in from them in the process.

Jeff Greenfield
It’s about a full quarter, so three to four months and you figure it takes a month or so to get up and running. One advantage that we have at Provalytics versus any other type of attribution, most attribution, if we get started today, I can only look forward. I can’t go backwards. So just imagine if you get hooked up with GA today, you can’t ask it what happened last month. And all of its decisions are based only from their first day. The advantage with Provalytics is that since we’re not using user level data and we’re getting data directly from the platforms, like from Facebook and Google and we’re doing daily data for most of our clients the day that we start, we can then get the last year & sometimes two years worth of data for some of our larger clients that have agencies.

They’ve got all of that stuff already in dashboards. They can push it out to us in a series of Excel files within a day. And then what that allows us to do is get up and running very, very quickly and provide a forecast that’s very accurate. And what most clients will do is for the first month, they’ll just look at it and watch it. And then what they’re really curious about is, okay, when this month is over, how well would the model have predicted? And then what they’ll do is, is that when eventually around month three or so when we’ve provided this forecast, they’ll choose one or two things that they will do and and they’ll do those and they’ll watch those. And that’s usually what happens is, and the biggest place where people can save is what I call the low hanging fruit are tactics that you’re doing that appear to be showing incredible results, but they’re really not doing it.

There’s something else that’s, that’s that’s, that’s doing that heavy lifting. And a lot of times the model will come in and say, you know, cut it the maximum amount and folks get very nervous. So if I do that, I’m gonna, my leads will go down, my sales will go down. So then there’s a negotiation. This is where the human has to come in and I have to talk to them and say, if we were to cut it 10%, would it make a difference? Oh yeah, we would see a difference say are, do you feel okay doing 5% cut just so we can get a read on it? And you can see, so they’ll cut it like a 5% and the month will go on and sales and leads are not impacted so all of a sudden there’s a question in their mind about their original assumptions and then we’ll cut it again.

We’ll now cut it down to like 10 or 15%. And then when sales and leads are still the same, that’s when folks say, okay, wait a second, wait a second. There’s maybe more here than meets the eye. And that’s really what it comes down to is that you just have to realize as a marketer, people don’t just show up at your front door to your store and buy.  Someone either had to tell them about you or they read about you, or they have been studying the category because of a competitor. So your job as a marketer is to figure out how do people get to that front door? Because if all you’re doing is you’re focusing your dollars on that lower funnel, right where the sales happen, what’s going to happen is your next quarter, you’re going to have to work even harder to do that.

The advantage of doing some upper funnel work and and working on awareness is that it pays off one and a half times. So it pays off much more than way down at the lower funnel. You need both. Remember those people, awareness, interest, desire those people at that action part of the funnel when they’re ready to say, yeah, I’m ready to buy. And they go search, your competitors are there and they’re trying to steal them away. The same tactic that you’re doing to them, which is the famous Google money making machine. So you need to be in all parts of the funnel and you really have to think about, and there’s some good guidelines too, based upon your business. So for example, if you are a retailer, let’s say selling clothes, and you’re online, that’s a seasonal business. So if someone doesn’t get into your funnel this month, you have a chance to get them when the seasons change because they’ll be out looking for new clothes at that point.

So you’re not so concerned about that. So you don’t need to spend 80% of your dollars at the upper funnel for that type of business. You want to be spending like a quarter in the upper part of the funnel and the rest throughout the funnel. But if you’re in a business like you’re a mortgage broker or you’re a real estate person, people refinance here in the US on average every three to five years. Now I know sometimes it feels like it’s more frequent than that when rates were really low, but right now rates are high. So the rate of refinancing is almost nil these days. But even if the rate is once every three years, what that means is that if you don’t get someone into your funnel today, you’re not going to get another crack at them until three years from now. So for businesses like that, where what we call the market purchase frequency is measured in years, you need to be spending like 50% of your dollars in that upper funnel because you need to get people into your funnel.  If you don’t get them now, it’s going to be years until you get them again.

Scott Colenut
I’m really interested in this upper funnel part and the fact that you’ve referenced the A I D A framework a couple of times. For me personally, I still use that framework as well, but with the complexity and sophistication of marketing and how it’s developed, particularly over the last decade, sometimes I do say to myself and wonder, am I just stuck in like the old way of doing things? Like should I be adapting my process? But I think sometimes amongst all of the noise in marketing, it does help to have some of these simple models and ultimately they still work for me and give me clarity and confidence. I’m just curious because you have referenced A I D A a couple of times. Have you gone through that same process as me? Have you questioned yourself on the framework? Do you still find that you use that framework and refer to it quite frequently?

Jeff Greenfield
I do. My data scientist, he really likes the model that Google created with the zero moment of truth. But I look at that and at the end of the day, my job is to help guide marketers on a journey to making smarter decisions. And I find that graphic and that explanation counterintuitive and really confusing.  So if you work as part of a marketing team, or if you’re in an agency andyou put together a QBR for a client, you’ve got all of this data in a PowerPoint and you pass it on to the client, the VP of marketing looks at it and he takes out some of the data and he creates a two slide deck for his CMO.

CMO looks at it and she knows she now has to do a board presentation. And that deck that was originally 20, 30 pages worth of data becomes like a single line item in the CEO’s presentation to the board. So at the end of the day, you have to keep it really simple because us human beings we’re distracted more than ever before. And even us in the executive levels of companies, it’s has to be real basic, the whole idea of an elevator pitch and that zero moment of truth, to me, it’s just anything that takes more than like 10 seconds to explain, you lose 99% of your audience. Whereas A I D A is awesome. And it was in that great movie, Glengarry Glen Ross [NSFW] which had an amazing line and he showed AIDA and that’s where the line came in coffees is only for closers. I love that.

Scott Colenut
Funny. So I really like that film, but I don’t remember that part. That’s funny. I’m gonna have to go back and watch that.

Jeff Greenfield
Oh,  it’s absolutely amazing.  An incredible movie about sales people and how important it is to work the leads and stuff. And it’s just an absolutely incredible scene. But the idea of always be closing and you always have to focus on that upper part of the funnel regardless of what model you look at. But A I D A makes sense to me. I’m an older guy, but I think the simplicity of it makes sense to a lot of people when you start drawing these circles and how it’s a loop. It’s like, okay, I’m a marketer, I understand it’s a loop. I understand that returning customers, there’s a whole conversation that we’re going to have via email, and my customer service has to be up to snuff and all that stuff. I get all of that. But what I’m worried about as a CMO is sales. And I need to know how to get more sales. And even for retailers where 75-80% of their sales are from returning customers customer and CRM is incredibly important there is always a KPI for new customer acquisition because without new customers, you are always going to have churn, and then the business starts to go in the wrong direction.

Scott Colenut
So given everything that you’ve said in this podcast so far today, and given what you’ve just described there about upper funnel activity and the importance and the ability to track it and awareness, I suspect you must be really interested in what’s happened on TikTok over this last couple of years.

Jeff Greenfield
Oh, it’s absolutely incredible the way that trends are starting from there. It’s really amazing. I have some clients that are spending decent amounts there.  I’ve been impressed by it, but I also still like to remind marketers, at least in the US, that the majority of folks who are spending money are 50 and over. And some of them are on TikTok, they’re not quite there, but I urge marketers to become familiar with it because it is a force to be reckoned with. And as the population ages, TikTok is not going to go away. Like we know now, the folks who first got into Facebook, they’re still there, but the younger folks are not. And then Instagram came along. So there’s these divides based upon age groups but it’s depending upon your product, it can be a great place to be.

If you’re looking to target younger folks, it’s incredible. But if you’re looking to sell more high end items or more expensive items, you, you’ve got to look at the more traditional channels, the traditional digital channels. But direct mail still works incredibly well. I don’t see enough marketers doing it. And there was an interesting analysis that was done years ago where a company had a marketing plan put together by an agency in New York City and one in Minnesota. The one in Minnesota was, was filled out perfectly. It it had them spending on billboards and spending on direct mail TV and radio. The plan in New York City had no TV, no direct mail, and had no out of home.

And the reason for that is marketers tend to think that everyone who buys their product or their service is consuming the same media that they are. And one of the things that brand teams have kind of got away from is years ago, and it really wasn’t that long ago, marketing teams would say, our client is ‘Nicole’. She’s 32 years old, she’s married, she has a dog, she has two children, and she lives in this type of household and these are the things that are important to her. Our other customer is ‘Brandy’. She’s 22 years old. So they would have these personas of who their customers were, and they would really do a really good job of digging into their personalities. And that’s what drove the strategy of the media plan. And what’s happened is marketers have got away from that because most marketers that are running campaigns now are digital natives.

They don’t have a cable subscription, they stream. So they never watch live TV. So TV would be completely off. They don’t listen to radio, so why would you buy audio? But they do listen to podcasts, which are great, but they don’t do direct mail. That doesn’t mean anything to me. So I, I I’m not gonna recommend to buy direct mail. But the reality is, is that these channels kill. And the nice thing is, is that when you think about the distraction rate, when you think about someone scrolling real fast, uh, through any of the platforms where your ads are at, there’s a lot of competition. And one of the interesting things that I found myself doing is in the morning, I’ll sometimes pull up Facebook and I’ll scroll through it or Instagram, and then I said, wait a second, wait a second, second, I’m curious how many messages, not just marketing, but messages, did my brain consume that quickly? And then I’ll scroll back and I’ll count them and it, it blows me away. I’m like, this is just amazing that our brains can take in all of that data. One of the advantages of out of home and direct mail and CTV digitized television is you’re not competing with anyone else. When someone gets their mail, they have to look at that envelope. It’s, it’s very, very powerful. Same is true of out of home. These things work and they’re great at building upper funnel awareness.

Scott Colenut
Mm-hmm. , there’s a great parallel in my mind between why I raise TikTok in discussion and what you are discussing there in terms of out of home. And I was going through, it’s funny you mentioned scrolling through Facebook. I’m not really on social media too much. Like I don’t find it, uh, my natural place to be. I really enjoy podcasting. I really enjoy writing longer form stuff is typically where I’m kind of at my happiest and most comfortable. But when all of these platforms are released, I experiment. And over this last week or two, I’ve been experimenting more with TikTok. I found myself scrolling through and thinking this is actually just a really passive experience. So there are comments and there is like functionality, but typically people are scrolling from one TikTok to the other, and that’s just a continuous loop. So actually this ability to track upper funnel awareness, the impression levels on something like TikTok, and I’ve seen exactly the same happen on Instagram.

You know, Instagram now, I, I remember there was a report I read a couple of weeks back talking about how stories, and actually just passive watching of stories has become the primary interaction on Instagram as opposed to interacting with like, uh, actual photos and carousel that are posted. So every indication to me is showing that with the video platforms, the emergence, the, the time we’re spending on video, we have less actual click and engagement data to work with, which makes that impression data even more important. And I just think that there’s a parallel there between the out of home stuff where you wouldn’t necessarily want to disregard the awareness that TikTok can raise, but you’re not gonna get the last click data that maybe you are used to getting from social media platforms 10 years ago with some of the ones that are emerging. Now.

Jeff Greenfield
You’re absolutely right, Scott, that awareness is so incredibly important. And if you, if you don’t look at it, you’re doing a disservice to your brand or your, your clients that you’re running marketing for. You know, a lot of folks ask me and say, well, you know, I understand that, you know, there’s a lot of very sophisticated machine learning and AI that you’re utilizing at Proletics, but you know, I’m, I’m spending, you know, uh, you know, a hundred, $300,000 a year in marketing. How can I figure out, how can I take advantage of this impression concept? And the way to do it is that one of the most, and this is why we based the model on impressions, because it’s, it’s kind of future proof. Meaning that anytime you go and do an ad buy anywheres right now, you can always log in and see, you know, all your creatives that you ran.

You can see how much money you spent today and you can see your impressions. And that’s across every single platform that’s out there now. And it, and that’s how things will be in the future. But what you can do is you can go back, let’s say over the last year, go into each one of your platforms and, and get at a, you can do it first at a kind of a platform level or a campaign level’s pretty good for every day of the year. Write down in a spreadsheet, you know, the, the platform name, the campaign name, how many impressions, how much money you spent, and do that for everything that you spent on. And what I would say with Google search is, especially brand search, I would look at your impression volume, not, not what people clicked on, but how many total impressions there were, whether they clicked on you or not.

It doesn’t matter because really what you want is over time you want your, your brand search volume to go up. So you put all these in a spreadsheet and then on another spreadsheet or worksheet you put in your, your main kpi, sales, leads, visits, whatever it is. And then you run a very simple regression analysis. And what regression will show you is which things are strongly correlated. Now, in order to do it like this, you have to get enough data, you’re gonna need probably at least a year’s worth of data. But if anything, it will point you in a direction where you’ll say to yourself as a marketer, huh, I I didn’t even realize that. Maybe I should look at this a little differently. And that’s where you say, okay, if I’m a small marketer, I’m gonna run an experiment. And so an experiment you can run, let’s say Facebook turns out is highly correlated to your sales being up.

Well, then what you wanna do is look at your data that you have on sales, and if you’re lucky enough that you have sales based upon states, what you wanna do is pick a state in Facebook and turn your ads on just in that go only in that go and then sit back and wait. The nice thing about a test like that is that it, it doesn’t cost that much cuz your audience is so much smaller and let it run for a couple of months and then look at your sales data. There’s a, a high degree of likelihood that you will see that there’s a pop of sales, uh, in Ohio or Dayton, Ohio, if you wanna pick a city and, and see how that works. And that’s, that’s, you know, the concept of this ab testing and, and, and, and doing experiments at scale. I mean, really the way to do it is you pick a city like Dayton, Ohio and Jacksonville, Florida, and in Jacksonville you run PSA ads, ads that are not for you. And in, um, Dayton, you run your own ads and then you see which campaign had the highest lift. But this is a way you can do it using your own data without having to go to a company and it will, will give you some insight that you probably don’t already have.

Scott Colenut
Always be closing, always be testing.

Jeff Greenfield
That’s the whole thing. And, and I know you’re a big proponent of it, Scott, is having a testing budget always have to be, because here’s the thing, I mean, what’s gonna come out in the next year in terms of a new platform that starts to light, you light the world on fire, you wanna make certain, as a marketer that you have budgets set aside, uh, that you can devote to that you don’t wanna always have to go back to the CFO asking for more dollars. And, and the problem today is that we have, and this was recently the, uh, uh, association of National Advertisers here in the us which is all the big, big brands. They had their annual meeting. And at this meeting, marketers were talking about how they are under pressure more than any, any other time to prove that this money that they’re going to spend will get this X number of results. Uh, so there’s a lot of pressure on this, and I don’t care how small or large your company is or how small a large your marketing budget is, we’re all feeling it. And so doing a simple analysis like that, or if you’re a larger company and you wanna have a platform like Proletics or any of the others that are out there, you need something in your corner to be able to demonstrate in a spreadsheet y spending, X is going to get you y in sales.

Scott Colenut
Some key messages that I’ve taken from that. Uh, just the importance of testing and what that can reveal. But you said something really interesting when we were talking about the gaining client trust and how it might take three months until you reach that sweet spot, but then after that three months period, you still retain and build trust with clients by, by focusing on these experiments. So what you’re doing is you’re making small bets. And it reminds me of a book that I read, and I think it’s called Small Bets. I’m gonna, I’ll put it in the show note description, but it’s about these small experiments that you undertake to build confidence and learn. You don’t go from zero to a hundred, you don’t mentally overwhelm yourself and commit yourself to too much. You really just validate your ideas. And it just sounds like, and, and do correct me if I’m wrong, but the part of your process of achieving and retaining continuous buy in of clients, it’s just by making small experiments. So you said maybe you negotiate down from 10% of a budget to 5% of a budget. It sounds like that’s a really important part of your process.

Jeff Greenfield
It totally is because, you know, it’s only from making small bets, as you said, that you can build trust over time. And it, and it’s, I I look at all of our clients as it’s a partnership mm-hmm. , uh, because I, you know, just like with them, you know, you have a vision in your mind of, of where and how to spend and how, you know, with our data, we come in and challenge some of those assumptions and move them along. I have a vision based upon my experience and time in this industry of, of what folks want and what they need. Uh, but what I’ve learned throughout the years is that they’re not my customers or clients, they’re my partners because that relationship goes both ways. They’re teaching me what type of insights they need to pull out of it, and that enables me to make the product even better. So it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a two way there. What, what I give to them in terms of insight they give back to me.

Scott Colenut
Curious about one part of forecasting as well, because we’ve experienced this in our agency, and I know we have different models and different ways of approaching things, but it sounds like we broadly have the same principles. We found that there is much more volatility in the forecast we’re producing this year because the 2020 to 2022 pandemic related metrics, uh, data that we’re using, those data sets have, uh, a lot of volatility in them, which don’t, uh, track against previous years. So yeah, the forecasts that we are producing this year have much wider confidence intervals. I’m curious to know whether that’s something that you’ve seen and if you’ve adapted your

Jeff Greenfield
Approach. Yeah, absolutely. Covid through everyone and all models in a loop, it, it, it completely did because we’ve never experienced in modern history a time where, uh, all, all of everything was shut down. And one of the most important components of customer activity is what we call adl, activities of daily living. So we know that sales are gonna be different during certain times of the year because people’s activities of daily living have shifted. So like during vacation season and people go away, they’re not sitting at their computer as much, they’re not going into stores as often. Well, ADL got thrown for a major loop when Covid came around because everyone was now at home with their kids whether they wanted to be or not. And everyone was forced to this new world of remoteness that we had never experienced. What was fascinating to me is that we had all the tools that were always there, but we never really utilized them at the scale that we are utilizing them now.

And so all models that were done pre C you kinda had to throw them all out because we’re in the kind of this new world, if you will, of shopper habits and buying habits all around. Uh, so what it means is, is that you can use a lot of historical data for your forecast, but you really have to focus on recency the most recent data that you have. For a lot of models. That’s very tough, uh, for them to do that. Cause you need, the more data you have, the better. It’s the recency that really matters these days in this post covid era that we’re living in.

Scott Colenut
Jeff, it’s been a pleasure to talk to you. I can tell that you’re someone that I can speak to for hours on. We could have gone off on so many tangents in this episode. So, uh, before I let you go, do you want to let our listeners know where they can find out more about you and paralytics?

Jeff Greenfield
Absolutely. Just go to That’s And go there and check it out. You can also go to and learn a little bit more about my background and what’s put me on this crazy journey of marketing analytics. And I’ve got to say, I never thought that this business would be sexy, but it really is sexy. It really is. It’s exciting to help people learn more and focus them in the right direction. It’s really incredible.

Scott Colenut
I can hear. And I appreciate your enthusiasm. It inspires me too. So thanks so much, Jeff. But now I just say thank you so much for your time, Jeff. This has been the internet marketing podcast. Take care.