The holy grail of marketing

Integration of marketing communications research

Is such a fantasy a utopia?

We open the interface of a website aggregating all the studies of marketing communication channels and see the results of a study of an ongoing advertising campaign, live. At one point, we get a message that the audience: thematic 1 cable TV, in one of the regions, shows interesting behavior. During the live broadcast of a local concert, traffic developed on the website of one of the candy brands, in the area of descriptions of milk chocolate. The band continued to play a cover of „Dirty Dancing – Time of my Life” from the stage.

After the event, its audience members, some of whom wore T-shirts with purple furballs, walk past a billboard, then checked social media2 activity on a smartphone3 they see a banner4 and a recommended viral video5 that their group of friends liked. A familiar rhythm is heard from a nearby store. A few people walk in to do a little shopping and pick up a newspaper6 with current promotions, and at the same moment they all get an email, informed by a push notification7. Customers pass a poster with a hostess offering samples, the store smells of milk chocolate. Clearly interested in the interesting graphics in the newspaper, a young man turns on the camera in the augmented reality app8, on the screen he sees dancing surrogates.

On that day, more milk chocolate was sold in the subsequent increased turnover of e-stores offering this treat at the same time as offering a VOD9 service with an offer of the movie Dirty Dancing, before which another cross-promotional message10 from the chocolate manufacturer is broadcast.

The marketer receives a full report on conversions, sources of entry, audience flows, and cost-effectiveness of each channel. He immediately sends recommendations for implementing changes to the relevant departments. The next day, the optimization yields even better results, reach is increased and test results and preparations for the next product launch are completed.

Brutal reality

At present, the coordination of the targeted advertising message is usually indicative, being the geographic area, time slot, and age group.

A higher approximation causes such a fragmentation of the panel that changes in the campaign, with budgets of several million, are decided by the reactions of three people. If you suddenly increase the number to six, agencies and research offices see a 100% increase in audience. The above „Fantasy” hypothetical situation would not even be recorded by current media research, let alone compare effectiveness and degree of interaction.

  • Radio listening is declarative, so almost everyone claims to listen to leading stations, product commentary, or texting games that are not recorded or correlated with other activities.
  • Newspapers have regular declines in circulation and readership so it is impossible to count anything, and certainly the strength of particular forms of advertising or articles. Totally unconnected to the digital sphere.
  • Television has become very fragmented and uses, in addition to regular advertising blocks, various forms such as product placement, sponsorships, contests, etc… Unmeasurable formats are already a daily occurrence on a massive scale.
  • Sent mass mailings take place too often to bases that are sold wherever they fall which in effect causes them to „burn out”.
  • Outdoor research is virtually non-existent.
  • There is no research or chance to compare the impact of: events such as concerts, trade shows, conferences, physical mailings, telemarketing, and distributed social networking.

Any statement of marketing expenditures is either overestimated or underestimated, the message is pumped one-way, and not only is it impossible to accurately calculate conversions, but on top of that it is impossible to assess the negative impact of broadcasting the message too often to the wrong target groups. A negative impact can cancel out expected results or even cause stronger-than-expected adverse reactions. This is an invaluable field for the activities of trolls and hackers, and in the current digital environment, this is very easy to happen.


Research is now an expensive „game” for a marketer, mainly because instead of researching and optimizing those channels that bring conversions, they take an advertising „cannon shot” and try to identify what they hit.

Media recommendations are sometimes based on unrepresentative data, obtained through surveys that do not keep up with the pace at which the market is fragmenting and modernizing. Recorded declines or low increases in ad spending in the market in Poland, may simply be the result of its deepening diversification and fragmentation, impossible to grasp by tracking ATL alone.

Marketers are reacting much faster than any other participant in the communications „cauldron.” An increasing share of budgets is being invested in highly targeted activities for narrow industries, thematic channels, subcultures, short-term trends, direct activation, events, sales lead generation14 using laboriously shaped „personas „, „smart „, augmented reality, 3D, Bluetooth, WiFi, LCD, DOOH, UX, programmatic, social media, CSR, PR, BTL, B2B, etc… technologies.


We are looking for the golden grist of marketing communications research.

I consciously use the phrase „marketing communications research” and not „media research” because this could indicate a source of data only from ATL. Currently, we have a mass of data but unfortunately, neither can it be defined as a „single source” nor do we have access to raw data. Is „single source” a utopia?

With the current level of technology development, however, one can speculate and try to imagine that all „signals” could come from a single source but organizing such an endeavor would require a major organizational effort both on the side of standardization, software, testing and optimization of results but the biggest challenge is funding.

Imagine that there is a way to collect all kinds of data live, anywhere, anytime, turning the survey panel on or off at the touch of a „magic” button.

Rather than throwing oneself into the sun to integrate „lame” and incompatible systems or build such another one, one can consider using to collect data with a device that has all the necessary functions and the vast majority of people already have one.

As of 2018, there are already 38.14 million people living in Poland, of which as many as 78% use the Internet (29.75 million), almost half actively use social media, and 37% use smartphones for social communication. There are currently 1.3 SIM cards per Polish resident! (Source:

Why not try using a smartphone?

Telecommunications companies could become aggregators24 of data and research offices their integrators. Why does a smartphone meet the requirements necessary to build an integrated marketing communications study? It is a small device that everyone carries with them practically non-stop, it has all the necessary sensors and the ability to run relevant applications, from which it can transmit data in real-time through the existing telecommunications structure:

  1. Microphone – the popular Shazam25 application recognizes music tracks flawlessly, equally a similar algorithm can recognize any TV station turned on nearby, the same goes for video, radio stations, concerts, or any announcements in public spaces.
  2. Camera – recording any graphic elements, such as press or outdoor, when recording consumer behavior gives marketers instant insight into behavior patterns giving unlimited opportunities to test new packaging, ways to arrange merchandise, and stores the ability to optimize the placement of promotional items.
  3. GPS geolocation – being in the vicinity of recorded outdoor and mobile ads, tracking the shopping route of mall customers, behavior patterns of families on weekends, etc….
  4. Accelerometer – recognizing the user and how he or she is behaving and active; walking, running, swimming, using vehicles.
  5. Browsing – browsing history gives flawless insight into where and how the user uses the Internet, „live” data is provided by Google Analytics. More than 3 billion people around the world now use social media every month, and 9 out of 10 users access their chosen platforms via mobile devices. (Source:
  6. Apps – recording the use of apps along with recording the advertising messages that appear in them.
  7. Wifi, Bluetooth, NFC – use of any smart device for interaction.
  8. Payment systems – SMS, ATM withdrawals using the phone, transfers from mobile apps.
    Artificial Intelligence – interactive and intuitive guidance of the user throughout the research.

The collection and coupling of all data collected from the smartphone create the so-called „digital fingerprint „26 can be compared, and in fact, it is the same as what the NSA does. It is more accurate than a fingerprint or retina. The phone is practically non-stop connected to the network via GSM, LTE or 3G, or 4G. By adding to the system city monitoring, cameras mounted in vehicles, industrial monitoring systems, video surveillance of security companies, local wifi networks, and connections between users via Bluetooth or via NFC and „smart” devices and payment behavior, we get a complete picture of behavior. The term „Internet of Things” is no longer a science fiction phenomenon. The environment of marketers, media, and agencies cannot close their eyes to such obvious possibilities. Yes, it is a challenge but there is probably no other way and the benefits are undeniable.

Digital, mobile and social media in the world – statistics for 2018 (source:

Entire data presentation: Digital in 2018 Global Overview from We Are Social (Source:

Internet rzeczy

Patrząc na rozwój i futurystyczne wizje „internetu rzeczy”27  widać oczywiste analogie do możliwości jakie daje nam użycie smartfona do zbierania danych, czytaj; badań.

Currently, we do not yet have built-in sensors everywhere and communication infrastructure in every device or network, it is a matter of the near future. Instead, we have a ready-made network consisting of devices packed with sensors and networked, and these devices are available to „every” person needed to perform an integrated study of marketing communication and it is not a utopia. 7.6 billion people in the world have a mobile phone. More than half of the phones used today are „smart” devices (smartphones), so it’s becoming easier for people to use the internet anywhere in the world. (Source: Financing, thanks to technology, can be even easier than it seems.


Acquisition of funds can also be done with the use of technology, which will make it easier and cheaper for everyone. Each party participating in the project can benefit, and most importantly, we do not limit ourselves to three institutions: media, agencies, companies. Initially, I was able to identify at least ten parties potentially interested in the project. I am convinced that many more interested parties will be found and their joining can be automated.

  1. Users – The most important piece of the „puzzle”, i.e. people providing data. Everything depends on them, they have to agree to download information, to give up privacy for a certain period of time. Then they must have a suitable smartphone, equipped with appropriate applications and properly configured. The user could receive gratification in a variety of ways; each participating party could provide a bundle of benefits that could be selected as e-commerce products. The transaction itself would take place automatically, via the Internet, just like buying an audiobook. Example: you agree to study for a month by clicking on one button. Then the system collects data and assigns the user to the appropriate target group. There is no problem with the overrepresentation of certain social groups because it is the system that controls the addition or subtraction of a person from the panel, taking into account current demographic statistics.
  2. Media – In addition to funding, the media have an important function of disseminating participation in research. The more people participating, the lower the cost. With a wide range, you can „surgically” plan communication via smartphones. Advertising can become an important source of project financing.
  3. Agencies – A natural partner of the enterprise.
  4. Research companies – Integration and methodology.
  5. Marketers – clients of the project.
    Crowdfunding – Investments in research may also be of interest to medium and small companies due to the possibility of examining very narrow geographical areas and specific target groups. More small businesses buying in an automated manner can account for a substantial percentage of the proceeds. The „entry” threshold may be low enough.
  6. Telecommunications – Companies providing network solutions are able to offer convenient packages to encourage participation in the survey and provide software packages to run it. Example: by taking part in the study, you will reduce your monthly subscription by 10%.
  7. Smartphone manufacturers – Uploading research software packages to the native settings of the phone will greatly facilitate the acquisition of users.
  8. Operating system providers – Application stores can promote research software packages, update, and control configuration.
  9. Search engines, social networking sites, information portals, mass mailing, and text messaging platforms.
  10. IA Vendors – have the potential of intelligent solutions, which can be extremely useful when building an intuitive solution for learning how to use the application that supports the study on smartphones. Artificial intelligence will guide the user through the installation process and support the data collection process, e.g. when you need to connect to a wifi or Bluetooth network, answer the question of whether the billboard has been noticed or will assist in recording video from shopping malls or taking photos of posters. The facial recognition system will identify interactions between users.
  11. Banks – The method and place of making payments as well as the shopping assortment are important data. By combining geolocation data with the time and type of purchases, we receive extremely interesting information about shopping preferences, wealth, and preferences in comparison with the intensity of the advertising message.
  12. State – Police detection of emergency situations, Central Statistical Office statistical data, health service.
  13. Security Agencies – As a project partner, they can bring a connection to many industrial cameras.
    Healthcare – hospital and pharmacy systems, apart from records, are already used, and perhaps primarily, for communication.
  14. Taxi corporations – Recording of footage from car cameras and radio stations turned on in taxis.
  15. Traffic reporting near outdoor and DOOH.
  16. Manufacturers of cars and electronic and electrical devices.
    Energy networks.


Below are the definitions of most of the terms related to the project in question. On the one hand, they explain, in many cases, new or strictly industry terms and acronyms, but above all they show the scope of the project. Integration of such a wide database is a huge undertaking, but completely feasible. The obvious question is when, not if, this will happen. If the undertaking of IAA Poland (International Advertising Association) is a pioneer on a global scale and we are being observed, why not ask for help in this respect on an international scale?


Jeśli wielkie marki telekomunikacyjne i dostawcy rozwiązań informatycznych od samego początku brały by udział, tym większa szansa na szybsze powstanie pan światowego systemu służącego każdemu. Jak wcześniej zaznaczyłem, skala ma znaczenie.

1 Thematic TV channel – a form of a TV channel addressed to a specific group of recipients: those interested in a specific subject of programs broadcast on its air (e.g. a movie, sports, music, erotic, children’s, documentary channel) or more specifically (e.g. a movie channel broadcasting only comedy movies, country music channel); due to the gender of the recipient; due to the age of the recipient. Source:

2 Social Media – a term referring to the generally understood use of Internet and mobile technologies to transform communication into an interactive dialogue. Source:

3 Smartphone – a portable telephone device that combines the functions of a mobile phone and a pocket computer (PDA – Personal Digital Assistant). The first smartphones were developed in the late 1990s, and today they combine the functions of a mobile phone, e-mail, web browser, pager, and GPS, as well as a digital camera, voice recorder, and video camera. PDA-specific features such as Personal Information Management are also available on newer models. Most new models can read office documents in OOXML formats (created by e.g. Microsoft Office), ODF (e.g. LibreOffice), and PDF. Source:

4 Banner, banner – a form of advertising, message, or other message. Most often it is an information or advertising message printed on a sheet of material. On the Internet, a banner is a graphic form of providing information or advertising content, often being a link to the website of the promoted product. Source:

5 Viral is by definition an intriguing video that quickly becomes popular with or without help. Internet users willingly pass it on, send it, and share it with their friends, who in turn pass the information on to other people in their personal networks of friends and acquaintances, etc., thanks to which the video reaches a wide range of viewers in a short time. The mechanism resembles the action of a virus that infects more and more recipients. The similarity is not accidental – promotional virals are one of the forms of viral marketing. Source:

6 Promotional newsletter – newspapers published mainly by retail chains in mass circulation, examples:

7 Push notifications – also known as notifications – are delivered faster and read more often than e-mails. What’s more, they are also faster and clicked more often. The biggest advantage of this technology is the fact that it is new, so the space in which we use it is still free of information overload. Web push notifications are an effective marketing tool that is more effective than traditional e-mail in many aspects. Source:

8 Augmented Reality – a system that combines the real world with the computer-generated one. Typically, a camera image is used, overlaid with 3D graphics generated in real-time. There are also audio-only applications (like the RjDj iPhone app). For example, an AR user can use semi-transparent glasses to observe life on city streets as well as computer-generated elements superimposed on the real world. Source:

9 Video on Demand (VOD or VOD; Video on Demand), pot. also on-demand viewing – a service that allows you to watch broadcast footage or listen to a broadcast sound recording at a time selected by someone, later than the broadcast time. The broadcast (also „live”) program can be shifted in reception for a single viewer and listener.

10 Cross-promotion, cross-promotion – a type of promotional technique conducted by two entities mutually advertising their products. A technique often used in TV, radio stations or newspapers belonging to one owner.

11 Synthesis – 1. combining various elements into a whole; 2. the result of combining various elements into a whole; sum; 3. combining simple substances into complex ones Source: Słownik Języka Polski

12 Conversion – the word itself is used in completely different contexts, in the fields of chemistry, banking, grammar, and even religion. Its wide use results from the general meaning: „transforming the form of something” (definition from the PWN dictionary of the Polish language). However, we focus on the Internet industry and the meaning of this word in the context of websites. However, the situation is not clear here either. Because „transforming something” can mean different situations on websites. Any action of the user of this website, which is an action desired by the owner of this website (achievement of the purpose of the website), is usually considered a conversion on a website. Conversion can also be called another action that brings the website user closer to achieving the goal desired by the website owner. Therefore depending on the purpose of the website operation a conversion can be considered, for example: subscribing to the newsletter, leaving contact details (the so-called lead), making any purchase, making purchases for an amount over PLN 200, clicking on an advertising banner placed on our website, displaying visitor to more than 3 subpages of our website during one visit (visit depth), displaying a subpage of the website that is crucial for us, watching a video posted on the website, downloading a file, registering a customer account. Therefore, a conversion can be any action of website users that is welcomed by the owner of this website. The purposes of the existence of websites are different, so the actions taken for conversion will be different. Source:

13 ATL is an abbreviation of the phrase „above the line” and means advertising activities aimed at the mass audience. Therefore, the term ATL refers to campaigns carried out using the mass media. A characteristic feature of this form of communication is the reception of advertising by a much larger number of people than is necessary. The message also comes from random recipients who are not de facto the target group of customers of a given company. Traditionally, mass media include television, press, radio, and outdoor. Source:

14 Lead generation – Lead Generation is the first and very important stage of the sales process. Gaining leads, i.e. contacts left by potential customers, is the most important element of running an online business. Source:

15 Personas” The purpose of personas is to create credible and realistic representations of key audience segments. These representations should be based on qualitative and quantitative user research and internet analysis – „Your target customer selection is only as good as the research behind it.” Source: usability. gov

16 „Smart” technologies – The term „smart grids” means ICT technologies and systems used in various infrastructures (e.g. energy, transport, telecommunications, health, factories, houses, cities, and vehicles) in order to provide, among others, optimization of operation, saving resources, including energy, environmental protection, ergonomics of use, benefits resulting from mutual communication and information exchange. Smart networks and systems are characterized by the following features: autonomy, the ability to self-organize, adapt and make decisions, resistance to errors and failures, scalability, predictability of service quality assurance, open architecture, and ICT security. The concept of information and communication technologies (ICT for short, information and communication technologies), interchangeably referred to as information and communication technologies, information and communication technologies, ICT or information technologies, covers a family of technologies that process, collect and transmit information in electronic form. Source: National Intelligent

17 Bluetooth – The standard of short-range wireless communication between various electronic devices, such as a keyboard, computer, laptop, PDA, smartphone, and many others. Source:

18 WiFi – A colloquial term for a set of standards created to build wireless computer networks. A particular application of Wi-Fi is building local area networks (LAN) based on radio communication, i.e. WLAN. Source:

19 LCD / DOOH – Advertising on an LCD monitor is one of the most effective outdoor and indoor advertising methods. A dynamic message of advertising content is more attractive and attracts attention than a static image. Thanks to the local network of LCD monitors you will reach a specific group of recipients. DOOH (Digital Out Of Home) has become a kind of umbrella for all non-standard communication, such as ambient, event, or guerilla marketing, which today connects the offline and online worlds, most often through social media. In the past, the classic Ambient in a marketing campaign could be defined in one sentence: „Ambient is a transformation of an element of public space or adding a new one to it, in such a way as to show the recipient our brand or product in a surprising and unique context.” Source:

20 CSR – Corporate social responsibility, corporate social responsibility, CSR (from corporate social responsibility) – a concept according to which enterprises at the stage of strategy building take into account social interests and environmental protection, as well as relations with various stakeholder groups. Source:

21 BTL – is an abbreviation of the phrase „below the line” and this term is used to describe advertising activities directed to an individual recipient. Contrary to the mass media, BTL campaigns are not targeted at a wide (mass) group of customers, but more targeted groups of recipients. Traditionally, BTL included advertising at points of sale – POS (point of sale) or POP (point of purchase). BTL advertising takes various forms – from standard leaflets, through wobblers, dispensers, hangers, stands, and illuminated advertising, to other promotional materials („gadgets”), e.g. coasters, information boards, stickers, calendars, and clocks. In this original meaning, BTL also includes all consumer promotions. Source:

22 B2B – (business-to-business) – an abbreviation from English meaning transactions between two or more business entities; defining relations between enterprises (as opposed to relations between enterprises and individual clients, referred to as B2C). Source:

23 Anticipation – 1. anticipation of what may happen; 2. an announcement of future events; 3. in music: introducing the notes of the following chord to a chord; advance; 4. in linguistics: adjusting the pronunciation of a sound to the pronunciation of the sound that follows it (e.g. devoicing the sound „w” to „f” under the influence of „k” in the word „bench”); backward assimilation; 5. in literature: inconsistent with the logical or temporal order of the appearance of elements in an utterance; prolepsis. Source: Dictionary of the Polish Language

24 Agregator – in IT: an application showing consolidated information collected from various external sources. Source: Dictionary of the Polish Language

25 Shazam is one of the most popular apps in the world, used by over 100 million users every month to identify music, learn lyrics, and now find out what music the artists themselves are discovering.

26 Digital fingerprint – 84% of web browsers leave a unique trace that is comparable to a digital fingerprint. One Wired journalist found out that TOR (anti-identification system) is not enough to hide his real identity and whereabouts. Tor (The Onion Router) – a virtual computer network implementing second-generation onion routing. The network prevents the analysis of network traffic and, consequently, provides users with almost anonymous access to Internet resources. Source: Internet users think that they remain completely anonymous when using the Internet. A certain percentage of users realize that this is not true. The others know about the IP number, which is like a residential address, and they know how to hide it using technologies such as proxy or TOR. Most, however, do not know that their identification is possible with the help of traces left behind by their own web browser. Almost all electronic devices leave a trace.

27 Internet of Things – (also Internet of Things – IoT) – a concept according to which clearly identifiable objects can directly or indirectly collect, process, or exchange data via a KNX intelligent electrical installation or a computer network. Source:

28 IAA Polska – part of the largest marketing association in the world, existing since 1938. It has been operating in Poland continuously since 1993 and is the only organization in our country that brings together representatives of all participants in the advertising communication process: advertisers, advertising agencies, media houses, and the media. The priority task of the Association is to ensure that the voice of the Polish marketing industry is present and respected in the public debate. To this end, the Association takes actions to extend the freedom of communication between producers and consumers, influences the shape and quality of regulations concerning the entire marketing industry, and shapes the image of socially responsible and ethical advertising. Source:

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