Multichannel integration: Tracking the incremental

Share this content:

How much of your e-mail marketing generates incremental benefit? How do you know? How incremental are your search marketing programs? Your affiliates? Your catalog mailings?

Understanding what drives response in today's dynamic, fast-moving multichannel world is challenging. It is too easy to make a poor choice on the basic mechanics of tracking e-mail. It's even easier to make the wrong choice on your method for allocating orders across channels.

Multichannel direct marketing is in its infancy. As an industry we're still developing the necessary tools and the expertise. Retailers, service providers and technology firms need to come together to crack the multichannel puzzle.

In the days before cheap e-mail, direct marketers sent prospects and buyers catalogs or direct mail infrequently. Because the interval between contacts was large - measured in weeks or months - marketers could treat each mailing as independent. It was easy to compare the cost of a mailing to its resulting sales, letting marketers test lists and offers accurately. We could say, "This order was driven by that marketing effort."

In the Age of E-Mail, the interval between contacts is measured in days, not weeks. And channels overlap: prospects and buyers encounter a barrage of e-mails, catalogs and search ads during their consideration cycle. While most marketers have to understand the costs of their various marketing programs, determining which program gets credit for which sale is no longer easy.

How should e-mail marketers respond?

Take the big picture view
Don't evaluate your e-mail program in isolation. Taking e-mail results out of context can lead to bad decisions. For example, one national retailer adopted a strict "last-marketing-contact-gets-credit-for-the-order" order allocation rule.

With weekly e-mail blasts and quarterly catalog mailings, this rule grossly undercounted catalog orders. The retailer shrank circulation and harmed its sales. Another retailer used its tracking to monitor its new multivariable testing platform.

On each visit, the what-did-we-show them tracking code overwrote the where-did- they-come-from tracking code, artificially depressing the results of e-mail. Always evaluate your e-mail in the context of your full marketing efforts.

Encourage your service and technology providers toward integration
Whether your marketing database is outsourced or in-house, smart marketing requires a clear understanding of contacts, costs and sales associated with every buyer and prospect.

Such data demands solid integration between your e-mail provider, e-mail broker, database provider, search agency, list broker and merge-purge house. This isn't easy today. Few marketers understand the interaction of e-mail and catalog in driving sales. Few marketers manage search bids based on the actual lifetime value of the resulting buyers. Few marketers understand the non-incrementalism of their affiliate programs. Few marketers accurately track list rental conversions that occur online.

Such integration will become the norm over the next few years. Gain a competitive edge by partnering with vendors and technology providers already heading down that path.

close

Next Article in Email Marketing

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

We recently were named B2B Magazine's Direct Marketing Agency of the Year, and with good reason: We make real, measureable, positive change happen for our clients. A full-service agency founded in 1974, Bader Rutter expertly helps you get the right message to the right audience at the right time through the right channels. As we engage our clients' audiences along their journey, direct marketing (email, direct mail, phone, SMS) and behavioral marketing (SEM, retargeting, contextual) channels deliver information relevant to the needs of each stage. We are experts at implementing and leveraging marketing technologies such as CRM and marketing automation in order to synchronize sales and marketing communications. Our team of architects and activators plan, execute, measure and adjust in real time to ensure the strategy is working as needed and change things if it's not.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above