NEW YORK: Telcos and tech brands are leading the way when it comes to measuring and optimising marketing spend, the shortlist of finalists for the 2014 Marketing Analytics Leadership Award (MALA) suggests.

Now in its second year, the competition - which has a prize fund of $100,000 - is organised by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) and Marketing Science Institute (MSI)

One of the finalists for this year's contest is Citrix, a company active in categories like cloud computing, networking and virtualisation - and which is keen to explore how to optimise its spend around lifetime revenue.

"What was really important to us was understanding the impact of all the media touchpoints together, and that's what we were able to achieve with building this sophisticated model," Jocelyn La Sala, Citrix's media director, added in a video featuring all the finalists.

Also on the shortlist is C Spire, the telecoms group, and one of the main challenger brands taking on wireless providers like AT&T and Verizon.

"The impact of analytics on our business can be seen in customer retention, it can be seen in sales, it can be seen in the products and services that are launched to market - and it's on a quantifiable basis," said Lisa Flynt, director/brand marketing and growth strategy at C Spire Wireless.

Completing the trio of contenders for the Marketing Analytics Leadership Award - which is presented by MarketShare and has Warc and Advertising Age as its media sponsors - is Intel, the microchip specialist.

"With analytics, it gives the opportunity to take advantage of the much wider scope of data. Now we start to take in behavioural data, transactional data, and then marry that with our attitudinal or opinion-based data," said Antony Barton, director/corporate marketing research and analytics at Intel. 

"And it really gives us a great opportunity to have deeper insights and, in some cases, get to the insights faster."

Each of the entrants going through to the last round of judging was required to demonstrate how marketing analytics programs had impacted their core business.

Some of the other criteria included factors like clarity, relevance, the magnitude of the marketing question being addressed, innovation in terms of the approach used and scientific rigor.

"Today's most successful marketing organisations are embracing sophisticated analytics to an unprecedented degree," Bob Liodice, president/ceo of the ANA, said.

"They're using data not only to drive the bottom line, but to address their organisations' most fundamental challenges and opportunities.

Among the judges was Beth Comstock, cmo/svp at General Electric, Tony Pace, cmo of Subway, Roger Adam, cmo of USAA, and Gayle Fuguitt, ceo/president of the Advertising Research Foundation.

Data sourced from Warc