Multichannel marketing is complex: Abacus' Casey

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SAN FRANCISCO - Questions from marketers attending a DMA06 panel called "How to maximize your catalog's multichannel sales and profits" mainly discussed effective multichannel measurement.

Casey Carey, senior vice president of Abacus Alliance Solutions, the multichannel database arm of Abacus, spoke to the number of complications that can arise as the available points of purchase and cross-channel marketing efforts increase.

"I say one thing about multichannel marketing and that's just: complexity," Mr. Casey said.

By first separating a company's offer channels from its response channels, marketers can focus budget planning around the offer channels to decide which media mix is the most effective, he said.

"A lot of people are becoming channel agnostic as far as what channel is being used for response," Mr. Carey said.

He said that while Internet purchasing is relatively easy, online shopping is not necessarily each customer's first choice. There are a range of marketing media: catalogs, print ads, search and word of mouth that could drive customers to buy on the Web.

The effect of each effort, and how they interact with each other, should be tracked and modeled.

His advice was to understand the true increments of all of your offer programs, use data match-back at both the contact point and the site-level, consider the fractional allocation as a basis of ROI and map "paths of purchase" to aid in understanding the breakdown of channel segmentation.

Co-panelist Mary-Ann Kleinfelter, director of marketing at Carus Publishing, said that modeling the communication follow-up that customers received based on their final purchase point was a helpful way for her marketing team to understand the variety of customer experiences.

"We identified big holes in our contact strategy," Ms. Kleinfelter said. "We were able to price better knowing how customers are contacted and what they cost."

Philip Donahue, vice president of strategic accounts and development at Catalogs by Lorel, the catalog design division of brand response agency Lorel Marketing Group, supported the idea that knowing your customers' preferences and planning outgoing media accordingly was important.

"Give the customer the option of how to buy," Mr. Donahue said. "They will come to you and they will appreciate it."

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