Will Scully-Power

Al Ries stirs up up the data-driven marketing community
July 28, 2009, 1:04 am
Filed under: Data, Datarati | Tags: ,


In a trade publication last month, marketing guru Al Ries proudly declared that “determining the ROI of a marketing program is an expensive exercise with little or no value — an experienced marketing executive instinctively knows whether a marketing program is working or not.”

He countered one CMO’s perspective on the value of analytics, by concluding that the practice of marketing “is not even 1% mathematics.”

Hmmm…. Dare I say that I beg to differ.

I’m sure our friends over at Google would certainly beg to differ.

More: http://blog.compete.com/2009/07/21/math-in-marketing-rim-blackberry/


Australia’s next online-offline marketer

Are you Australia’s next online-offline marketer?

So you think you know what this “online-offline” integrated marketing trend is all about? Forgive my presumptuousness–but I bet you don’t know the half of it! It’s been said that if the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems start looking like a nail. Case in point: online-offline integration. Depending on the marketing discipline you come from (whether it’s online, direct or brand marketing), the online-offline integration phenomenon tends to look a bit different.

Imagine, if you will, that I’ve switched on my TV to find a new reality show called “Australia’s Next Online-Offline Marketer.”

Wow! Let’s microwave the popcorn and settle in. I’ll describe the action as it unfolds.

There’s a moderator (Will) and three contestants: an online marketer, a direct marketer and a brand marketer:

Will: So, Online Marketer, let’s begin. What does online-offline integration mean to you?

Online Marketer: I don’t just run my site. I use web analytics to measure outcomes like lead conversions and purchases. I’m aware that not all purchases following research on my site happen online. In fact, more customers call our toll-free number or walk into our stores. So, online-offline integration means expanding my web analytics practice to include those offline conversions. I want to select which pay-per-click keywords I bid on based not only on the online business they drive, but also on the offline business they impact.

Will: Excellent! You raise some great points. But I not sure you’re seeing the entire picture. Let’s ask our direct marketer what online-offline integration means to him.

Direct Marketer: Multichannel marketing is old news to me. Today, we combine 15 different channels in our direct marketing efforts across online and offline. We send communications via snail mail, e-mail, television, SMS, website offers and telemarketing. And when prospects make purchases down the road, our campaign management systems can attribute these transactions back to the preceding marketing history regardless through which channel the purchases are made.

Will: Well done. But I’m unsure you get the full picture either. Let’s bring our Brand Marketer into the conversation.

Brand Marketer: I’m not your traditional advertiser who understands TV only; I’m a strong believer in integrated marketing communications. My advertising campaigns integrate online and offline channels–we run consistent advertising messages across both. The other day, when we ran TV commercials targeted to soccer moms, we also ran concurrent banner ads on sites where soccer moms tend to congregate. We also ensured that anyone watching our commercials could easily find the advertised product on our site.

Will: Bravo. But I don’t not certain you have all your ducks in a row either. It’s time now for the judges to step forward.

Crazy Screaming Judge: I loooooooove you guys. Each of you went beyond single-channel tunnel vision. Each included something from online and something from offline. But each painted a very different picture of online-offline marketing that was colored by your personal perspective: your own position on the marketing team. It’s only when we put all of your individual stories together does the full picture begin to emerge. Individually, you only have a third of the story.

Will: You are too kind: a third is too generous! There is more that our three marketers have missed, lots more. Let’s have Geeky Multichannel Marketing Judge give Online Marketer some brutally honest feedback.

Geeky Multichannel Marketing Judge: So Online Marketer, you are right. It is vital to measure across online and offline to get a more complete picture of marketing ROI and to be able to pick keywords more wisely. But online-offline marketing holds more opportunity than that.

Remember that visitors to your site, in many cases, are existing customers with whom your company has an ongoing relationship. So, instead of displaying the same lame product offers and promotional banners you show to everyone else, why not tailor your messages intelligently to each person’s preferences? For example, if a grocery store customer has just purchased a shopping cart full of groceries at a store and used his savings card while paying at the checkout, shouldn’t he be able to go to the company’s website the following week, pull up his transaction and edit the details to produce a new shopping list? And shouldn’t he then be able to send that new shopping list off to his local store for a clerk to place the desired items in a cart and have them ready for pick up? And, shouldn’t cross-sales offers and promos be targeted to the items in the shopping list to increase the size of the transaction?

And is there nothing to be learned from individuals’ online behavior for making future communications more relevant? If that grocery customer has predominantly kept his online product views vegetarian, wouldn’t it be advisable to choose a vegetarian-themed catalog to send him rather than mailing the weekly promo of those big, honking, Texas-sized steaks?

Will: Online behavior collected by web analytics is a rich lather of data about individuals’ preferences. Marketers are responsible for paying attention to their customers’ preferences or they risk annoying them. But privacy must be granted, too. Opt out must be offered and easy, via a single click. Privacy policies must be clearly stated and strictly abided by. Direct and Brand Marketers, you’re next on the hot seat!

Geeky Multichannel Marketing Judge: So Direct Marketer, great job using online and offline channels for communications, and attributing purchases on any channel back to past marketing touchpoints. But remember that online offers more opportunities if you look beyond the purchase data. For example:

Web analytics can give you better and earlier insights into the performance of marketing campaigns. Rather than waiting for purchases to come in, you can see much earlier whether your campaigns are prompting enough of your audience to go online to check out offers. Based on that you can take corrective action if necessary.

Web analytics can also help you improve campaign conversion rates. True, you know how many purchases came in online without a need for web analytics. But you have no idea which other prospects are checking out the offer, but drop off because your website wasn’t persuasive enough for visitors responding to a particular campaign.

Finally, analytics can help you better target your next offer based on the behavioral insights you gain. Let’s say someone has received six home equity line offers, but hasn’t applied for an account–should you be sending a seventh? Well, instinctively the answer is no, but if web analytics told you that this customer went online to check out the terms, you might not only send that seventh offer without hesitation, but you may even prioritize this customer for a call from a banker.

Will: That’s right. Direct marketers have been good at incorporating transactions into their measurements and predictive models. But the wealth of behavioral data from web analytics has largely remained untapped. It’s time to ponder what this rich information could do for better cross-channel targeting. Now to the Brand Marketer.

Geeky Multichannel Marketing Judge: Brand Marketer, it’s great that your ads are coordinated across online and offline. I bet the results show a nice lift. But the online medium should prompt you to take a much bigger leap ahead than just to run ads in parallel. To be more specific:

The web is a participatory medium rather than a one-way shouting channel like TV. Web 2.0 has opened the opportunity to run viral campaigns that turn passive listeners into active promoters of your brand.

Since soccer moms are your target audience, make your commercial so interesting that each soccer mom will want to be the first to forward the commercial to their other soccer mom friends.

Online advertising combines characteristics of brand and direct marketing. Behavioral targeting across advertising networks is commonplace today. For instance, if you go to Orbitz and search for “travel to Mallorca,” you may find that Orbitz banner ads on other websites automatically promote travel to Spain. Of course, every marketer must decide whether this kind of behavioral targeting is the right choice for their brand.

If nothing else, online advertising can be measured in much finer detail than TV commercials. You can measure not just click-throughs, but also view-throughs, i.e., people visiting your site after being exposed to your ads. More advanced measurement projects can even tell you how many ad impressions you should schedule to persuade prospects to visit your site.

Will: Clearly, there is much more potential to online-offline synergy than what individual marketers are aware of–and lots of reasons for online, direct and brand marketers to work together. Most of the know-how already exists in each of the disciplines, but hasn’t been shared yet. All that’s needed is good judgment in prioritizing where you should start and how much you should bite off.

This article was sourced from our friends over at Unica. http://www.unica.com (Enterprise Marketing Management Software).

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