World of Marketing Mix Modeling experts #2

May 14, 2021 | Chris Kervinen, Joonas Imeläinen

World of Marketing Mix Modeling experts #2

World of Marketing Mix Modeling Experts

In our series of ”World of Marketing Mix Modeling” we’re entering the Matrix and diving into sea of data to bring you the real life superstars of Marketing Mix Modeling.


Joonas Imeläinen


- BBA International Business & Marketing from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences

- 10 yrs. of experience in Media Planning & Marketing Strategy

- Won various marketing and media prizes, including e.g. Young Lions Media Gold, Grand Effie, Gold Effie & Vuoden Markkinointiteko

- Currently Planning Director at Tulos Helsinki

Chris: Hey Joonas! How are you doing at the moment?

Joonas: Hi, I'm doing great thanks for asking :) Both at work and at home these have been very interesting times. For example, getting new team members in a completely virtual environment has been very different compared to normal interaction. And as that refers, we have been lately growing Tulos strategic marketing capabilities quite a lot. In last 9 months we have recruited 4 new very experienced strategic marketers, who are now helping our clients to succeed daily. At home I've also had the pleasure of adding a new family member, but luckily that case has not been only virtual :D

C: Amazing news! Congratulations for the newest addition to your family!

You’ve won various media and advertising prizes. Would you say there has been some core factor behind the results, or is creating effective & profitable (marketing) campaigns always contextual?

Joonas: It's a very good question! As a planner and strategist, I have been thinking of this question a lot by myself and with our team. I would say that definitely there are core factors behind a lot of the successful campaigns. First thing that I would say is that all of them have required hard and systematic work. Even though it might sometimes seem from the outside that the solution has been really obvious and simple, when we have been starting the work, they definitely have not been that. But that’s how many of the success cases work, you start from chaos, work through it, iterate step by step until you could explain the campaign and the concept even to your grandmother. Many times it also takes some failures before actually finding success, but the important thing is of course to fail fast and learn while doing so.

“But that’s how many of the success cases work, you start from chaos, work through it, iterate step by step until you could explain the campaign and the concept even to your grandmother.”

Another thing is to have a great team to work with. Successful cases don't have just a great plan, but they are executed to the point. The process from objectives to results needs to be seamless and everyone needs to work towards the same goals and with the same accuracy and enthusiasm. And when the team does work great together, you can many times see it also in the results. Process is the core that drives great teams to the right direction. Many times, people think that process kills creativity, but I see it the other way around. Great process actually feeds creativity. When everyone knows what they need to do and when, it gives the confidence to use the actual effort into how well it is done.

Joonas Imeläinen (Carat) & Sebastian Örn (Vizeum): One connection counts – Young Lions Media Gold Prize 2016

How well it can be done comes down a lot to how good base you have constructed. I would say that the great base comes from understanding the objectives and having a great vision. To have great vision you need to have sharp and smart insights to work with. Great insights can turn even a hopeless seeming case into a diamond at the end if everything else is covered. Great insights again come many times from good data. When talking about data, you turn your head toward only numbers, but it can be for example business data, cultural data, marketing data, or data of the human behavior. When you have good data and killer understanding of that data, you can find something that actually turns into golden insights.

C: As a Planning Director, how big role would you say analytics has in the planning process? And how much of it is intuition?

Joonas: As said, I believe that turning data into insights is one of the essentials to succeed. Analytics can also be a great source of good data. However it is important to remember that analytics itself gives often just numbers, or some light interpretations of the numbers. The numbers can tell many different stories, and the story is up to the reader :) So I would say that when the numbers are good and correct, it is up to the reader what you can do with them. I would also say that intuition is a bit like AI as we know it. It is somewhat a black box. It is the result of data, experiences and learnings that subconsciously are processed in your head into conclusions. So yes, I would say that sometimes intuition does have a role. Sometimes you get to the insights consciously and sometimes subconsciously. Therefore as analytics have been rising to a very central position inside many organisations, it would be really good that inside those organisations even more effort would be put also to the understanding of the analytics and how the data from it can be applied. I see often that organisations are building their foundations too technology centered instead of process and culture centered.

C: Do you utilize Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) in your current ventures/projects?

Joonas: Yes, I see marketing mix modeling as one great opportunity to find relevant data and insights. It can be a very good way to optimize your marketing mix towards better results. Even when using let’s say fancier methods, such as marketing mix modeling, econometric modeling, or maybe attribution modeling, I would say that it is extremely important to be constantly experimenting and testing different tactics and strategies. I would not call myself an expert on different models, but to my understanding those models are working with the data that you are putting in them. So I would say that it is very important to keep doing both, looking at what the models are telling you based on the data you are putting in, and to think of what you have not done yet that could provide some new data for the models to interpret. This is something that we are doing with a lot of the clients also at Tulos. We test, measure, optimize, then we test something new, measure and optimize again. We keep iterating until we find something that works better than before, and when we find that we iterate again :)

“So I would say that it is very important to keep doing both, looking at what the models are telling you based on the data you are putting in, and to think of what you have not done yet that could provide some new data for the models to interpret.”

C: You’re working with some of the biggest marketers in the Nordic markets. What challenges would mention in building a comprehensive metrics and measurement system for companies with a LOT of data?

Joonas: The amount of data can be overwhelming, but rarely I see it as a bad thing. It might just need even more of the systematic work I mentioned before. We have actually created a framework and service at Tulos, to help organizations to make sense of their data and how to use it to data-driven marketing. What you need to do is to create an understanding of what your objectives and vision are. Those objectives and vision will work as guides, when diving through those massive amounts of data sources and data itself to find the relevant ones. Then we work through it all by six different technological and organizational areas. On the other end we have a clear roadmap and actionable plan how to walk through it. It requires a lot of work and also commitment from the organization but helps to set a clear path where the organization is going with data.

- Joonas

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