Dale Nitschke

Dale Nitschke Interview: Unlocking the Potential of Your Digital Marketing Investments

MIMA’s Monthly Event for April will take place on April 18th, 2018 featuring Dale Nitschke, CEO of Ovative Group. Dale will provide insights for marketing leaders, account managers media specialists, analysts and more on how to best use data to measure the effectiveness of their integrated marketing efforts. As digital investment grows, marketers will need to reframe their mindset and effectively address how their marketing programs are impacting the enterprise.

MIMA recently talked with Dale to gain some insights into what he will be discussing at our monthly event.

MIMA: I loved the quote on our event page in which the merchant John Wanamaker said he knew half the money he spent on advertising was wasted, however he did not know which half. I have also met marketers discussing a project they are working on. Someone invariably pipes in wondering how they measure its effectiveness and get approval from management. Measuring the impact of our marketing efforts is a hot topic. Where does your work fit in?

Dale: I spent a long time at Target which is a store-based company. I led Target.com and Target’s guest database initiative in the early days, when it was small. With that experience, I was able to build the business and learn how important and valuable customer data is. A lot of what the digital marketing team for Target.com was doing also impacted the store’s business. This sparked the idea – could we develop a measurement capability that enabled us to understand the impact of digital touches on the enterprise outcomes? So, not just online but offline outcomes.

MIMA: How did you build the idea into a workable solution?

Dale: We did skunkworks activity there to prove our concepts. We were able to prove it out on a high level – a category level. When I left Target and started Ovative, I thought I could use this capability to help companies build. We knew more money was moving into digital. If companies continued to just measure the effectiveness of digital marketing on internet-based business, whether it be e-commerce or lead-gen, they’d only be looking at a portion of the impact of that marketing. We wanted to look at measuring digital’s impact on enterprise value. We have been focused on that successfully for the last nine years and many companies are moving into this phase as well. You can measure digital’s impact on enterprise value at a very granular level including category, keyword and customer level. The data helps people make better decisions. It creates more transparency about what is actually happening on the customer journey. Leaders can make better spending decisions for media, experience and more. Overall, the 50% alluded to in the Wannamaker quote is now down to 30% that you can’t measure. We continue to make progress.

MIMA: What needs to change with marketer’s measurement mindset in order get better results with their data analysis?

Dale: What we see is that many marketing professionals are still focused only on the digital outcomes of their work. They are looking at lead-gen or the last click of a transaction online. They need to step back and think about what the business outcomes are that they are trying to drive. That includes driving profitable revenue for their company and maintaining a healthy customer file. A healthy customer file would be understanding whether they are talking to a new customer, re-activating a previous customer or dealing with an existing customer.

MIMA: That sounds like an approach that would require the whole company and top leadership to be on board, not just the marketing department

Dale: Yes. Marketing in this way is in the middle of driving the P&L (Profit and Loss). Marketing relationships are traditionally a supportive role. In retail, we supported the merchandising initiatives. And I think that is changing. Marketers need to be partners with their CFO, merchandising officers and CEOs. They need to understand what it is going to take to support a changing business model. Retail used to rely on building new stores to attract customers, and the pressure was not on marketing to drive new customers. As retail stores have slowed down, the company is required to rethink how they acquire new customers and that demands new business models. The whole leadership team needs to be involved in decision making along with marketing. The question becomes, how do you invest marketing dollars to keep the customer file healthy.

MIMA: Now that we know we need to analyze our data for enterprise outcomes, what are the next steps?

Dale: I would challenge everyone to look at the metrics they are currently using. Think about whether the metrics align with the overall business goals or if they align to a strategy or channel that is just a small part of the business goal. Identify gaps that you might have in your metrics that hold you back from being able to measure the whole business goal. Work to fill the gaps.

MIMA: What happens if you are in a company that hasn’t thought this way in the past. What do I do as a marketing leader to get everyone on board?

Dale: The forward thinker needs to find the data believers within the leadership team. Talk to them about the concept. Then build a proof of concept you can show the rest of the team. Bring your concept to life, market your own ideas and help the organization better understand how it works.

MIMA: Tell me something that you personally can’t do without

Dale: I’d say it is the great team I work with. They are fun, smart, passionate people and they make me smile every day.

Join us at MIMA’s April event and learn more about Dale’s data-driven ideas. Other upcoming events include the members only Coffee + Case Studies featuring Weber Shandwick and Slalom. In May, join MIMA for the Career Development Series: Future of Digital Careers and May Monthly: Not Your Grandmother’s Betty Crocker.

Written by MIMA volunteer and Marketing Committee Chair, Gina Micek

Gina Micek


Integrated marketing strategist, writer, storyteller and adventurer. I am a builder with skills in relationship building and telling compelling stories that drive connections.