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Everything I Learned About Attribution, I Learned from Keanu Reeves

4 MINUTE READ | September 18, 2014

Everything I Learned About Attribution, I Learned from Keanu Reeves

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Dustin Engel

Dustin Engel has written this article. More details coming soon.

Certainties in life. Death. Taxes. If you have a movie script calling for “The One”, you better pull Keanu Reeves out of whatever rock he’s hiding under and sign him up.

The Matrix. Neo. It was so obvious he was the “The One” that they bit the bullet and simply called him “The One”.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. He was the “Co-Chosen One” with Bill. Saved the world in the future by completing a history report via a time traveling phone booth.  The latter fact being a reason that there will be no remake.  Ever.

Constantine. He stops the certain son of a fellow up to no good from arriving to Earth.  The Devil’s Advocate. He is the son of the of the fellow up to no good and he stops himself from arriving to Earth, as convincing as Al Pacino was about the upside of being the spawn of the man downstairs.  In the words of Keanu himself, “Whoa!”.  Yes Keanu, it’s ironic. Don’t you think?

Outside of his agent obviously having some unique bat phone for script plots with “The One”, I feel that Keanu rakes in and succeeds at this profitable type casting through 4 key principles (which I’m sure are extremely thought out).

  1. He picks great teammates: In Bill and Ted, well he had Bill (now known as the “other guy beside Keanu” and a brilliant yet cryptic guide in Rufus (played by the brilliant George Carlin).

  2. He’s oddly pliable and adaptable in doing pretty much the same thing: Even though he’s constantly saving the world utilizing the same expressions, vocabulary, and general “Keanu Vibe”, he’s oddly believable as an 80’s valley guy, the bearer of an apocalypse, and the potential reincarnation of a Buddhist mystic.

  3. He gets his hands dirty: The Matrix. Neo versus Agent Smith. Enough said.

  4. He generates results: While not necessarily a superhuman, chosen one in Speed, he defeats the bad guy all while spending an entire day in a LA city bus. The latter fact puts him in superhuman status.

Segue, why Keanu is the standard for this type of role also provides a shining light for how one can be sustainably successful at attribution.  Wait, what?  Seriously. Follow along carefully now.

  1. Pick great teammates: You need a great supporting cast to solve for all of the particulars of attribution. You need skillful data architects and experts in data integration to tie together all of the “marketing pieces” that the attribution platforms may miss. You need experts in reporting and data automation to make sure the data is understandable and fed to the right places and that data feeds bringing information into the platform are operating well.  Lastly, you need the quants. The folks that can both statistically validate the data but can prove causality across other data sets that you connect to attribution data.  Good news is that the word is out about this Big Data thing. While good people in these fields are hard to find, they are increasing in numbers.

  2. Pliable and Adaptable: The biggest change in attribution is that 5 years ago, advertisers were simply living within the user interfaces of the various attribution platforms. Nowadays, you can still get great insights from viewing the plethora of charts and visualizations in these UI’s…but you get action by pulling data out at it’s most granular levels and then blending the data with other data sources to find pockets of opportunity.  E.G. markets where you have over-indexing revenue penetration and where your competitors have under-indexing revenue penetration.  Fish where the fish are and where there are no other fishermen. #DidKeanuSayThat

  3. Get your hands dirty: If you aren’t jumping on the wave of big data intelligence tools like Tableau and Datahero, you will feel overwhelmed and outgunned. The second you build your first filter and custom measure using attribution data, your confidence will be brimming and you will truly be a Datahero. See what I did there? #plug

  4. Generate results: First, attribution works best when you start small and continue to expand. Example, you are seeing diminishing returns on your legacy channels like paid search and email. You would really like to get into online display or native ad game. So build goals around that and keep checkpoints on cannibalization or lift in other channels. If you’re doing attribution because all else has failed and it’s a hail mary pass or because all of the cool kids are doing it, you may not have a ton of luck.

Nothing like seeing a client increase their overall digital portfolio return by 100% year over year thanks to a completely reshaped marketing mix to make you feel like “The One”.

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All thanks to the man named after a “cool breeze over the mountains” in Hawaiian.  Well played sir.

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