Facebook Metrics Maven Says Force Digital Staffers Out of Their Comfort Zones

The integration of physical and digital marketing channels depends not on how the cookie crumbles, but when. Once that happens, companies can focus on the prize of maximizing customer lifetime value. Those were the top-level themes that emerged from a panel tackling the topic of merging physical and digital at DMA’s &THEN conference in Boston.

“Value is the ultimate success measure. Organizations should be structured around that goal,” said Yongyong Kennedy, head of financial services measurement for Facebook. “There has to be a long-term mission set by organizations to become channel agnostic. But first, they need to push their digital organizations out of their comfort zones and into other areas like direct mail.”

Kennedy asserted that digital was the perfect route for optimizing results from direct mail, since only 20% to 25% of prospects merit the investment in the mailbox. “To reach the other 75%, it’s ideal to use other digital channels. If they react, you can follow up with direct mail,” Kennedy said.

A practitioner on the panel agreed. “Direct mail is still the top channel for customers with higher approval rates. But you can source them from the digital channels and they’re still profitable,” said Margot Vaughan, SVP of managed services at MasterCard, though she added that deficiencies in measuring different channels posed a stumbling block.

Kennedy was clear on what needs to be done. “Digital data does not really define quality. It’s cookies, not people. You can’t read pre-approvals,” she said. “Every single marketer has to push away from cookies. You cannot transfer digital knowledge to direct if you don’t.”

Credit card issuers that mail pieces without applications to try and drive prospects online are often disappointed due to poor completion rates. Drop rates are especially troubling on mobile, she said, sometimes as high as 99%. “We have to look at how to change online applications to keep customers engaged,” she said.

It’s a problem crying out for a multichannel solution, according to Kennedy. “We have a lot of clients who rely on digital to force a reaction. Not if you don’t give people a journey to complete that transaction.”

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